Healthy is a Lifestyle.

Grandma Vi’s Dolma – remixed

This is my Grandma Vi’s recipe. We were guaranteed this dish every time we visited her or she came to visit us. I used to love being her little helper in the kitchen scooping out the insides of the veggies. She would make it with ground beef and bulgar. But to lighten it up and make it wheat free, I used ground turkey and quinoa. I also used coconut sugar in place of her brown sugar. I choose to use Tessemaes Organic Ketchup in place of regular ketchup as the sugar content in conventional ketchup is just astronomical. Using health conscious ingredients is easy to do today. This is pure comfort food. Turns out not all comfort food is bad for you. This dish always looks so beautiful when served with a couple of spoonsful of liquid and a little garnish of basil on top. My Grandma Vi would be proud and we hope you enjoy it.



(meat mixture)

1 ½ lbs ground dark turkey

1 cup cooked quinoa

¾ cup onion, chopped

¼ cup parsley, chopped

¼ cup basil, chopped (with a few whole leaves set aside)

1 ½ cups Tessemaes Organic ketchup

1 ¼ cups filtered water

2T Worcestershire sauce

1 ½ tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

2 T coconut sugar

1 lemon, juiced

1 14.5 oz can (fire roasted) diced tomatoes

2 tomatoes sliced

4 small to medium sized zucchini or yellow summer squash (or both)

4 small to medium sized colored bell peppers

4 small to medium sized Japanese eggplants



After washing and drying all vegetables, cut tops of vegetables off and remove all insides by scooping out carefully, making sure you don’t puncture through the opposite end of each vegetable. You will keep all the insides of vegetables (using them later), chop up a little finer and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, add turkey meat, onions, parsley, basil, cooked quinoa, ¼ of the vegetable insides, ¼ Tessemaes ketchup, ¼ cup water, salt and pepper. Mix meat mixture with hands until all ingredients are well combined.

Stuff meat mixture into each vegetable, filling it well to the top.

Fill the bottom of either a crock pot or a dutch oven with the remaining vegetable insides. Place each stuffed vegetable in the pot, layering is fine.

In a small bowl, mix the can of diced tomatoes, remaining ketchup, water, Worcestershire, coconut sugar and lemon juice. Pour over stuffed vegetables. Place tomato slices and a few whole basil leaves on top of all stuffed vegetables. Cover pot with lid.


If you’re using a crock pot, cook at high for 4 hours. If you’re using a dutch oven on the stove, bring to a high heat until boiling and then turn down to a simmer for 1hr 20 minutes, checking halfway through. Add a little more water if needed, as the liquid may evaporate. You will want some liquid to pour over dish over when serving.


I like to serve this with a side of cauli rice or aside of quinoa or brown rice.  Whatever sounds good. A bowl of comfort.