Libya Offers Double the Pleasure

Mr. N is at the helm again and for the next couple weeks he’s taking us to Libya. He wanted to pick somewhere in Africa, and after looking at the globe he settled on Libya because he’s heard it on the news. Apparently he listens to the news more than we thought. (I wonder if that means he listens more than we think too!)

When we began our search for recipes we found quite a few that were appealing at Celtnet Recipes. Some of the most common ingredients we found in Libyan recipes were olive oil, garlic and fresh herbs including cilantro. Tonight’s recipe uses these ingredients and provided us with a great option for a healthy weeknight meal. It’s called Dolma Mshakla, or stuffed vegetables. And as an added bonus, we get two meals in one as this recipe made enough for another new meal tomorrow night!

For our stuffing vegetables we chose potatoes for Miss A and Mr. N, and green peppers for me and dad. If you select potatoes you’ll need to bake them first – or if you’re running short on time like we were – use the baked potato setting on your microwave. Next stand the potatoes on end and cut the tops off. Scoop about half of the inside out of the potato.

For the peppers, simply cut the tops off and remove the seeds.

Now it’s time for the stuffing. We made two versions. For the adult version we used mushrooms, zucchini, tomato and cilantro.

We combined these veggies with rice, lemon juice, olive oil, tomato sauce, onion and garlic.

Knowing the kids wouldn’t touch tomatoes or onions we made theirs with ground chicken, rice, lemon juice, garlic, tomato sauce and cilantro.

We then scooped the stuffing into the veggies.

To bake we placed the veggies on end in a medium stock pot, replaced their caps and added water to cover the bottom of the pan.

The vegetables baked covered for an hour at 300F. After an hour, we checked the water level, increased the heat to 350F and baked for another 25 minutes. The result was some good lookin’ dolma mshakla.

Mr. N thought the dish looked and smelled very good. He was a little unsure of the taste at first, but ended up eating quite a bit of his meal. He finally settled on 2-1/2 spoons. Miss A, who was having a not so great kind of two-year old day, refused to eat. She tried to pawn her meal off on dad by saying, “Dad, try this. It’s terrible.” Miss A later ended up eating her old stand-by – a Nutri-grain bar.

Dad and I were tossing around a 2-1/2 spoon as well, but ultimately we both settled on 3 spoons. The stuffed peppers had solid flavor, healthy ingredients and one pepper filled us up completely. Can’t beat that – a healthy meal that provides great taste and fills you up.

And now for the bonus – we combined the leftover stuffings into one bowl. After mixing it together we added it to a medium-sized casserole dish and baked at 350F for 45 minutes. Dad and I both sampled some and were very excited – it tastes great and will go wonderfully with flat bread tomorrow night!

Print this recipe: Dolma Mshakla

32 thoughts on “Libya Offers Double the Pleasure

  1. Lisa {Smart Food and Fit} says:

    I love Dolma but just don’t have the patience to make them with grape leaves but like how you used peppers and potatoes. I never thought of stuffed potatoes, great idea. Your daughter sounds like my four year old when trying new recipes, his stand by meal is yogurt with cereal (usually cheerio’s or oatmeal). Wonderful photo’s too.


  2. Kay aka Babygirl says:

    I love these stuffed vegetables. They are very similar to a family recipe we make here. And the fact that MR. N is listening to the news, is just priceless to me. You guys picked a wonderful recipe..


    • ChefMom says:

      I’m with you, as a kid I never would have touched a pepper. It was green and a vegetable. LOL. Now I probably eat them 3 or 4 times a week in various recipes. I still won’t eat peas though. 😉


  3. Linda says:

    Italians like to stuff various of veggies but I never saw a potato stuffed like that! Very interesting and sounds really tasty! Your kids are amazing little troopers to test out all different meals and koodos to you for making it so fun!


    • ChefMom says:

      The potatoes weren’t bad, but I think I’d go back to my usual method of stuffing for the potatoes – they need more sauce and cheese. 🙂 The peppers were fantastic though. And for tonight’s meal we ate the leftovers on flat bread. Delicious!


  4. Charles says:

    I love stuffed peppers – Even more so with grated cheese on the top. If you gave it a 3 spoons grade, the cheese might be enough to knock it up to a 4, although not sure how traditionally Libyan it is. I usually do them a slightly different way. Cut and core the peppers first, boil in water for 10 minutes or so, then fill with the stuffing, top with grated cheese, put the “lid” back on, drizzle with olive oil and then roast in the oven for 30 minutes. You get a great, deep roasted pepper flavour and the top layer of cheese and rice is all crispy and golden 😀


    • ChefMom says:

      This sounds exactly like the typical way we make them. 🙂 I was so tempted to put cheese on them last night, but held back to make it more authentic. I definitely love stuffed peppers with cheese though! We’ve also stuffed them with couscous and even spaghetti squash. The spaghetti squash variety take forever to make, but are really very good. 🙂


    • Charles says:

      Best way is to have a really sharp knife – most common cause of annoyance in the kitchen in the past for me was for having a knife so blunt that it could barely cut butter :p Investing 100 dollars or so in a really decent, multi-purpose knife, and another 50 in a good quality steel to sharpen it on will solve all your problems! 🙂


    • ChefMom says:

      Funny you should say that. I was thinking last night that I need to learn how to cut tomatoes better! Charles is right though – a sharp knife is key. Ours are kind of crappy, so I just use the best one we have an sharpen it right before I cut the tomatoes. It makes a big difference.


  5. thefooddoctor says:

    I love this game of choosing countries and making theme nights..I should definitely try this with the kids over school break..
    I like your stuffed peppers..I usually make them with rice , minced meat and a combination of spices and bake them with some tomato juice..


    • ChefMom says:

      Thanks! We’re really enjoying the theme nights. I didn’t realize how excited the kids would get about the whole experience. They love when it’s their turn to pick. 🙂 Your peppers sound tasty too! They’re such a great health-food option.


  6. thecompletecookbook says:

    You must all have so much fun researching meals once you have decided on a country.
    Albeit that the Mr N and Miss A weren’t terribly excited about their meals, I think they look great as do your peppers.
    Hope you are going to share your flat bread recipe as I have been on a bread making mission of late.
    🙂 Mandy


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