If you've been looking for an Instant Pot Dolma recipe, this Instant Pot Unstuffed dolma casserole is the one you need. It's a great way to make dolmas-without actually having to roll up each grape leaf individually.
This dolma casserole tastes exactly like stuffed grape leaf dolmas, but it's an easy weeknight supper to put together. Try this and you may never make grape leaf dolmas in the traditional way again!
Instant Pot Dolma Recipe | Unstuffed Dolma Casserole
What are dolmas really? Dolmas are essentially stuffed grape leaves and across the Levant, they are made in a variety of different ways. At the heart of it, you're looking at grape leaves or if you're in the Balkans, often cabbage leaves, stuffed with rice and usually some meat. The spices vary across regions.
Dolma means stuffed. But in each case, the grape or cabbage leaves are stuffed individually. You put down a grape leaf, you put in a mixture of raw meat and rice or sometimes bulgur, and you painstakingly roll each one up. You then cook the leaves until the rice and meat are cooked, a squirt of lemon juice, and you're ready to go.
Dolmas can be eaten hot or cold. I prefer mine--both ways, hah! Eat some hot and eat some cold, I say. Why choose?
How to make an Instant Pot Dolma Recipe Or an Unstuffed Dolma Casserole
So I love, love, love dolmas. I hate, hate, hate rolling up each one. Given my #lazyefficient disposition, I just can't even cope with rolling up 1000 grape leaves before we can eat. So I end up not making them.
I have been wondering for a long time though, WHY they need to be rolled? I mean sure, it's portable, it's traditional, that's just how it's done.
Yeah, I don't do things traditionally. BUT. I need my food to taste authentic and traditional.
So I decided to just play with this Instant Pot dolma recipe. If I were a hipster, I'd be calling this deconstructed dolmas. But I am not a hipster.
So I call it unstuffed dolma casserole because in fact, what I did was I used the traditional dolma ingredients, but I cooked it all in one go in one pot.
Cooking Ground Beef in the Instant Pot
One thing that's different about cooking ground beef in the instant pot is that you do not need to brown the ground beef. Pressure cooking will brown and cook the meat just fine. So your job is just to break up the ground beef so it doesn't cook up as a huge lump of beef, and you are good.
In fact, if you're new to Instant Pot cooking, you may run into a few issues if you brown the meat. What happens is that the meat might make a brown fond at the bottom of the pot, and unless you very carefully deglaze the pot, you might well get a Burn message on your Instant Pot panel.
So why take a chance, and especially if it's not going to vastly improve the flavor anyway? I say skip it. I've been cooking ground beef without browning in a pressure cooker for years and I assure you, it's equally delicious without that extra step.
You can also substitute ground lamb or ground chicken for this Instant Pot Dolma recipe if you'd like.
Getting the burn message and unsure as to why? Check out this article on Everything You Need To Know About The Instant Pot Burn Message!
I also have a video that goes into the burn message in more detail that you can check out HERE.
LOOKING FOR MORE MEDITERRANEAN DISHES? TRY MY MEDITERRANEAN BAMYEH OKRA AND TOMATO STEW RECIPE or try this DONER KABAB RECIPE
And if you're looking for more great casseroles, this Chicken Broccoli Casserole is a delectable take on a casserole classic! This recipe uses rotisserie chicken so it's crazy quick and easy to make!
Okay so let's make this very simple Instant Pot Dolma recipe as an unstuffed dolma casserole.
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- 2 tablespoons (2 tablespoons) olive oil
- 1 tablespoon (1 tablespoon) Minced Garlic
- 1 cup (160 g) onions, chopped
- 1 pound (453.59 g) Lean Ground Beef
- 1 cup (185 g) Basmati Rice, rinsed and drained
- 8 ounces by weight (8 ounces by weight) brined grape leaves, drained and chopped
- 1 tablespoon (1 tablespoon) Dried Parsley, or 1/4 cup fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon (1 teaspoon) Ground Allspice
- 1 teaspoon (1 teaspoon) Kosher Salt
- 1 teaspoon (1 teaspoon) Ground Black Pepper
- 1 cup (250 g) Water
- 1/3 cup (81.33 g) Lemon Juice
- 1/4 cup (11.25 g) Chopped Mint
- With your Instant Pot on Sauté mode, add olive oil to the pot. Add garlic and onions and stir.
- Add the ground beef and break up any large pieces. You're just trying to break up the ground beef, not cook nor brown it.
- Add rice, grape leaves, parsley, ground allspice, salt, pepper, and water. Stir and immediately close the lid.
- Cook for 4 Minutes high pressure. Allow it to release pressure naturally for 10 mins and then release all remaining pressure.
- Sprinkle lemon juice and chopped mint and stir with a light hand to incorporate the juice but not break the rice.
- Serve with Tzatziki on the side.
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Don't forget to check out my Instant Pot Fast & Easy Cookbook!
This book is full of all kinds of boldly flavored and internationally-themed recipes–Mexican, Thai, Moroccan, and more–with Instant Pot Fast & Easy, fully authorized by Instant Pot. Just like you have come to expect, my recipes will work perfectly every time, and of course taste great too. And because these are Instant Pot recipes, dishes like Japanese Chicken Curry, Chinese Steamed Ribs, and Mexican Pulled Pork are ready in a fraction of the time they would take using traditional cooking methods. As with all of my recipes, the focus is on whole foods instead of artificial convenience ingredients, so the recipes are delicious, easy, and healthful too.