If you've never heard of stuffed onions, or if you have never been a fan of onions, beware that these chubby little gems will make you a convert.
Onion shells, stuffed with rice and meat mixture then slow-cooked to perfection in delicious tomato sauce. Perfect fall/winter comfort food, although I don't mind having this any time of the year.
I haven't had stuffed onions - or mahshi basal in Arabic before, I am used to other kinds of mahshi like peppers, tomatoes, stuffed grape leaves, cabbage and zucchini. So I was amazed to see this delicious dish at a friend's home.
Note: This is an overview of the ingredients. You'll find the full measurements and instructions in the recipe card (printable) at the bottom of the page.
- Big onions to be stuffed and regular onions to chop.
- Fresh herbs ( parsley, cilantro, dill ..etc)
- Ground beef
- Spices ( salt, black peppers, cumin, 7-spice blend, dry mint)
Note: This is an overview of the instructions. The detailed instructions are in the recipe card below.
- Peel the onions, wash, and cut a wedge in each of them, this helps soften the layers.
- Fill a large pot with water - enough to immerse the onions- over medium-high heat and add the cardamom pods and the bay leaves. Bring to a boil then add the onions to the pot, reduce heat to medium-high, and let it cook for 15 minutes or until the layers are easily separated.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat saute onions until translucent. Add rice tomato paste and the spices then stir everything well.
- Mix in fresh chopped parsley and the rest of the herbs, then turn off the heat. Let it cool down for 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl, add the ground meat and mix well.
- Take the onions out of the water and let it cool down until you can handle it with your hands. Separate the layers carefully.
- Place 2-3 tablespoons- maybe more according to the size of the onion layer- and roll.
- Arrange stuffed onions in the slow cooker.
- Combine the cooking liquids together in a small bowl and season, pour the liquids over. Cook on low for 6 hours.
👍 Amira's Tips
- Try as much as possible to find extra large onions for this recipe.
- Place some of the herbs on the bottom of your slow cooker to avoid scorching the onions.
- I do not recommend cooking this dish on high, if you need this faster you can use cooked rice and use browned ground beef. This will reduce the cooking time by half.
- Use fresh herbs, do not use ground or dried ones, it will not give you the same result.
- Refrigerate lofetovers in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
🍽️ Serve With
- I've had it stuffed with rice like what we ,Egyptians, like to make our mahshi, some people add a little bit of ground meat along with the rice. For this recipe, I made the stuffing with more meat than rice so as to make it a whole balanced meal and lean more towards more protein than starch, but if you like more rice or even make it meatless, be my guest.
- You can make it with brown rice, quinoa … whatever you want, do not be afraid to experiment and see what will you like more.
📣 Related Recipes
- Mahshi is the Arabic word for anything stuffed and this mahshi recipe got them all. Delicious vegetables stuffed with fragrant aromatic rice mixture and cooked in tomato sauce.
- Mujadara is a traditional Middle Eastern vegan dish very popular in the Levant area. The combination of rice, lentils and caramelized onion is nothing short of heaven. So flavorful and comforting.
- There's nothing more comforting than a warm, richly flavored Middle Eastern rice with chicken. This recipe includes aromatic spices, vegetables and tender fall of the bone chicken.
- These stuffed grape leaves are delicious and easy to prepare. They're perfect for parties or as an appetizer.
Slow Cooker Comfort Food
- Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese is the right answer when spicy comfort food craving hits.
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Stuffed Onions in Slow Cooker
- 3 Extra large yellow onions.
- 2 Cardamom pods.
- 2- 3 Bay leaves.
For the stuffing
- 2 Tablespoon olive oil.
- 1 large onion diced, about 1 - 1.5 cup.
- 2 Tablespoon tomato paste.
- 1 teaspoon salt.
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder.
- 2 Tablespoon dry mint.
- 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
- ½ teaspoon bharat or 7 spices.
- ⅓ cup FRESH dill chopped.
- 1 ½ cup FRESH parsley chopped.
- 1 cup FRESH cilantro chopped.
- 1 lb ground beef.
- 1 cup rice preferably short grain, washed.
Liquids for cooking
- 16 oz tomato sauce can.
- 16 oz broth - any kind.
- Salt to season.
- Place a pot filled water - enough to immerse the onions- over high heat and add the cardamom pods and the bay leaves. Bring to a boil.
- Meanwhile peel the onions, wash and cut a wedge in each of them, this helps soften the layers.
- Add the onions to the pot, reducing heat to medium-high and let it cook for 15 minutes or until the layers are easily separated.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add chopped onions, saute until translucent about 2-3 minutes.
- Add rice, stir to combine for 2 more minutes.
- Add tomato paste and the spices then stir everything well.
- Add the herbs, stir for 30 seconds, then turn off the heat. Let it cool down for 10-15 minutes.
- Transfer to a bowl, add the ground meat and mix well.
- Take the onions out of water and let it cool down until you can handle it with your hands.
- Separate the layers carefully.
- Place 2-3 tablespoons- may be more according to the size of the onion layer- and roll.
- Place some of the herbs on the bottom of your slow cooker.
- Combine the cooking liquids together and season.
- Arrange the stuffed onions in the crockpot and pour the liquids over.
- Cook on low for 6 hours.
- You can use fresh mint instead of dried one.
- If you cannot find the 7-spice blend you can use all-spice.
- For more tips and variations please refer to the post above.
- Please check the nutrition disclaimer policy.
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First published Sep 24, 2016 . Last updated Aug 15, 2023 with important tips, clear step by step instructions and readability.