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swiss chard dolma recipe
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5 from 5 votes

Assyrian Dolma Recipe

Assyrian Dolma, made with Swiss Chard. 
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time2 hrs
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Assyrian, Middle Eastern
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 479kcal
Author: Hilda Sterner



  • 3 bunches Swiss chard
  • 2 cups rice (washed)
  • ½ medium onion (minced)
  • 1 cup chopped purslane (optional)
  • 1 cup cilantro (chopped)
  • 1 cup Italian parsley (chopped)
  • 2 medium tomatoes (chopped)
  • 2 tablespoon dill weed
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • cup avocado oil
  • cup lemon juice
  • 3 ounces tomato paste

Cooking Liquid:

  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ cup avocado oil
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon citric acid

Spicy Red Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoon avocado oil
  • ¼ cup onion (minced)
  • 3 ounces tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne (optional)
  • 1 cup water

Yogurt Sauce:

  • 4 cups plain yogurt
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon citric acid (sour salt)
  • 1 clove garlic (pressed)
  • ¼ cup fresh dill (chopped)



  •  Boil a pot of water, while you prepare the Swiss chard leaves by washing thoroughly. Slice each leaf into 6 pieces (make sure to cut off the spine).
  • Use the Swiss chard spines and stems to line the bottom of a 6 or 8-quart Dutch oven to prevent overcooking. If you don’t have enough, you can use grape or cabbage leaves. Alternatively, steaks can be used to line the bottom of the pot.
  • Dip approximately 4 to 6 Swiss Chard leaf sections into boiling water for a few seconds. Drain the blanched leaves in a colander. Repeat until all the Swiss chard has been blanched.
  • In a large bowl, mix the filling ingredients (starting with the rice, and ending with the cayenne pepper).
  • Add oil, lemon juice, and tomato paste. Mix thoroughly until the tomato paste is evenly distributed.
  • Place approximately one tablespoon of filling into the center of Swiss chard leaves and roll into a tight cigar shape. Place in tight rows in the Dutch oven. Repeat until the entire stuffing mixture and Swiss chard are used up.
  • Cover the pot with the lid, and cook over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, or until juices are released.

Prepare Dolma Cooking Liquid

  • Meanwhile, combine cooking liquid ingredients into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. After the dolma has cooked for 10 to 15 minutes, pour the liquid carefully into the pot. Cover with a large, flat plate (optional). This helps to keep the dolma submerged in the cooking liquids.
  • Turn the heat down very low and cook the dolma for 45 minutes to one hour. The rice should be very tender, and the dolma should melt in your mouth.

Spicy Red Sauce

  • Heat oil in the same small saucepan. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add tomato paste and paprika and stir over medium heat for a few minutes.
  • Add salt, cayenne, and water and stir until the tomato paste is completely dissolved. Turn down the heat and cook for an additional ten minutes.

Yogurt Sauce

  • Mix yogurt and water, until the yogurt is diluted into a sauce. Add the remaining yogurt sauce ingredients and mix to incorporate. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


  • Allow the dolma to rest for 15 minutes or so. During this time the extra liquid will be reabsorbed. If a large group is eating together, place a large flat tray over the top and quickly flip the pot over. This takes some technique. If you don't feel confident in doing this, either serve the dolma from the pot or transfer individual pieces onto a serving platter.
  • Serve the yogurt and red sauce on the side. Each person will then top the dolma with some yogurt, followed by the spicy red sauce. 
  • Pita bread can be served on the side. 


Calories: 479kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 986mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 3g