These humble lamb-stuffed peppers are a classic Turkish meal. The subtle herbs are refreshing and pair wonderfully with the meat. Use of tahini or cashew cream in the mint topping keeps this Whole 30 approved without skimping on any flavor!

Whole30 Approved Lamb Stuffed Peppers | Kita Roberts

Lamb Dolma.

My first bite into dolma was sitting in a small unexpecting restaurant nestled into the back side of a strip mall in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It was the first of many dining experiences on a whirlwind tour of the city, which boasts some of the best cuisines in the country.

Ayse’s Turkish Cafe is a small restaurant that would be easily overlooked with farm to fork and fine dining, breweries, and high-end dining offered on every street corner in this college town. With all of the options available, settling down at Ayse’s as our first stop, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

After our quick work on the appetizers, our lunch orders started to trickle out in a parade for a dozen writers and influencers. I was excited to try slivers of everyone’s meals as each dish was presented before us.

Each meal looked homemade and humble, smelling fragrant and promising to be far more delicious than expected. Lastly, my dolma arrived.

Whole30 Approved Lamb Stuffed Peppers | Kita Roberts

What is dolma?

The traditional Turkish dolma was a delicate herb spiced mix of lamb and rice with a spoon-worthy red sauce. I suddenly didn’t want to share and although I knew a large dinner was awaiting us later, I proceeded to eat every last bite.

The lamb was cooked perfectly, without any of that gamey flavor people often complain about. The herbs melodically danced along my tongue, each one distinct and yet in harmony with the others.

And the smooth mint sauce on top was perfectly balanced, not too heavy on cream or richness to pair with the pepper and stuffing. Instantly, I was hooked. The unique flavors playing against and working together like a perfect

The unique flavors playing against and working together like a perfect symphony reminding me of the subtle balance that reminds me of Thai recipes.

Even returning home, the flavors of the dolma played on in my memory and I set out to do some research of my own.

Whole30 Approved Lamb Stuffed Peppers | Kita Roberts

To make this whole 30 compliant I swapped a few ingredients but made sure the signature dolma flavors were still on point. There is no need for rice, though if you aren’t working whole 30, traditional rice can be used in place of cauliflower rice.

This dolma is not the exact same recipe from Ayse’s, though, if you are willing to smuggle that my way, I promise to cherish it and you at least until my plate is cleaned. However, it is my homemade take on it and I can promise it will be in my rotation again and again.

Now, let’s eat.

Whole30 Approved Lamb Stuffed Peppers | Kita Roberts


Need more Whole30 Inspiration? Check out these recipes:

Whole30 Approved Lamb Stuffed Peppers

If you’ve tried my Whole30 Approved Lamb Stuffed Peppers recipe or any other recipe on please don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know where you found it in the comments below. I get inspired by your feedback and comments! You can also FOLLOW ME on Instagram @girlcarnivore as well as on  Twitter and Facebook.

Lamb Stuffed Peppers { Turkish Dolma }

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
5 minutes
Total: 55 minutes
Servings: 4
Whole30 Approved Lamb Stuffed Peppers | Kita Roberts
Turn traditional Turkish stuffed peppers ( called lamb dolma), into a modern dish your friends and family rave about with these delicious Lamb Stuffed Peppers! 


  • 16 oz ground lamb 
  • 5 oz lean ground beef 
  • 3 cups cauliflower rice toasted and cooled
  • 2 tsp paprika 
  • handful fresh mint chopped
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts toasted and cooled
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 large peppers red green, yellow or orange, cut in half, from the top down and seeds removed

For the sauce

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 14 oz tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water 

For the mint sauce  

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt use tahini or cashew cream for whole 30
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh mint chopped 
  • 2 garlic cloves minced 
  • 1/2 tsp thyme 
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes 


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Mix the ground lamb, beef, toasted cauliflower rice, paprika, mint, parsley, toasted pine nuts, salt and pepper into a bowl. 
  • Stuff the mixture in each half of the peppers and lay flat.
  • Meanwhile, drizzle the oil in a baking dish. 
  • Spoon in the tomato sauce and season with salt and pepper. 
  • Nestle the stuffed peppers into the sauce and pour the 1/2 cup water in carefully on the side. 
  • Spoon a bit of the tomato sauce over each of the peppers and sprinkle with additional paprika.
  • Bake for 40 minutes.

Make the Mint Sauce

  • Whisk the yogurt (or cashew cream if you are doing the whole 30), mint, garlic, thyme, oregano and salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  • Remove from oven and let rest 5 minutes. Spoon the peppers out and serve with mint sauce if desired.


If you are creating a Whole 30 Approved recipe, omit the Greek Yogurt and use a cashew cream instead!


Calories: 630kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 44g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 107mg | Sodium: 671mg | Potassium: 1461mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 4420IU | Vitamin C: 217.2mg | Calcium: 127mg | Iron: 5.4mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Author: Kita Roberts

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Whole 30 Approved Lamb Stuffed Peppers - also called Turkish Dolma. These are ridiculously delicious! Stuffed with fresh herbs and lamb these are a perfect family meal. See the recipe at

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Well, Hey, Y’all.

Kita is a multi-talented individual, boasting numerous accomplishments such as being an award-winning recipe developer, world-traveled professional photographer, and journalist. As the lead creative force behind Girl Carnivore®, she is widely recognized as an authority on all things meat.


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  1. Hey there! So excited for this recipe. When “toasting” cauliflower rice, is it the same process as with toasting pine nuts? Meaning throwing in a skillet an dry roasting?

    1. Yes, tho, pine nuts are dry and I find my cauliflower rice (frozen or fresh) is always a little damp, so you can add a little oil if needed to keep from sticking, or making sure the water evaporates as it toasts and moves with a spatula as needed. If it’s sticking to the pan, try not to push too hard as it will rip the cauliflower. Id love to see pics when it’s plated! Enjoy

  2. 5 stars
    Thank you for this recipe. I actually used to order this dish all the time as take out from Ayse’s Cafe when I lived in Ann Arbor. Like you, I tried these for the first time at this little inconspicuous strip mall restaurant and fell in love! Now, 15 years later, I was looking up recipes and typed in Ayse’s Cafe dolma and found yours! I can’t wait to try!

    1. Thank you so much for leaving a comment Dr. P, it made my day. I would love to know how the recipe turned out for you and if it lived up to your memory of Ayse’s Cafe!

  3. Well, I am all prepped and ready to make this wonderful sounding meal. There’s a key instruction missing, however. 40 minutes at WHAT TEMP??

    1. Thanks for that catch Dr Strand! I will edit the recipe immediately! I just switched recipe cards and noticed not all of the major info transferred seamlessly ><