Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms – Blossoms filled to perfection


Nothing seems more graceful than a blossom served like this. Let’s see where this beautiful dolma comes from.

What is Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms (Kabak Çiçeği Dolması)?

These are zucchini blossoms stuffed in a similar way as dolma with grape leaves, making for a vegan dish found across the Aegean.

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The origins

For centuries, Anatolia was the homeland of zucchini, or courgette, alongside with leek, cucumber and many more vegetables. Once the nomadic Turks came to the region, they incorporated these vegetables into their milk- and meat-based cuisine quite quickly.
Throughout the great feasts served in the Ottoman Empire, the variety of dolma grew and grew. Everything that could remotely be stuffed was stuffed. It is no surprise that carrots and even the tiny okras were filled. While there are not specific recipes for either of them, palace records show that after the eggplant, the most used vegetable was zucchini, which was grown in the palace gardens as well. Considering that many dishes, including Imambayıldı, were invented at Topkapı Palace, it is not hard to consider that this dolma took its roots from there.
The most recent records of the dish can be traced to the early 20th century, when the Greek-Turkish population was exchanged, supposedly bringing the dish from Crete to Turkey. Another source claims that it is from Cyprus, with both Turkish and Greek Cypriots making the exact same dish.
Today, the olive-oil based dolma is associated with the western province İzmir, where it adorns many tables as a meze.


The word “kabak” has remained relatively unchanged over the centuries. The word dolma comes from the verb “dolmak” meaning “to fill”. Some regions like to call dolma “sarma” as well, which itself means “to roll.” While these blossoms are not exactly rolled, the word is used as a blanket term to describe stuffed dishes from grape to cabbage leaves.

Kabak Çiçeği Dolması – Zucchini blossoms filled to perfection

Servings 2 people
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 40 mins


  • 20 zucchini blossoms
  • 80 gr rice
  • 1 bundle dill
  • 1 bundle parsley
  • 1 bundle mint
  • 1 bundle green onions
  • 2 onions
  • 1 lemon
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • olive oil


  • Remove the green parts and the inner yellow part of the blossoms carefully, withoutdamaging the flower.
  • Chop the bundles of herbs and onions and put them into a bowl, adding the rice to it as well.
  • Fill the blossoms with this mixture until they are about three-fourths full, leavingspace for the rice to expand.
  • Place the blossoms into a pot and cover with water. Add some olive oil and the juiceof a lemon.
  • Put a plate over the dolma to keep them from floating and let them simmer for abouthalf an hour on low heat. The dolma can be served both warm and cold.


(1) Yerasimos, Marianna, “500 Yıllık Osmanlı Mutfağı”, 2002.
(2) Deniz Gürsoy, “Tarihin süzgecinde mutfak kültürümüz”, 2013
(3) Oya Berkay KARACA , Oya YILDIRIM , A. Celil ÇAKICI. “Girit Yemek Kültürü ve Sürdürülebilirliği (Cretan Food Culture and It’s Sustainability)” (PDF). Journal of Tourism and Gastronomy Studies 3/1 (2015) 2-13
(4) Ankut, Ziba (2007), “Kıbrıs Türk ve Rum Mutfağının Karşılaştırılması Üzerine Bir Çalışma”, 1988.
Course: Appetizer, Vegan