These vegetarian stuffed grape leaves are a quintessential Mediterranean dish! Rich and flavorful with fresh herbs and rice, dolmades pair perfectly with tztatziki sauce (or a sauce of your choice)!
Pair these delicious stuffed grape leaves with an artichoke salad for a light, healthy meal!
Stuffed grape leaves have a long history spanning over time, space, and cultures. The exact origin of stuffed grape leaves, or dolmades, is uncertain. However, you will find their history goes far back into Greece, Turkey, Egypt, and Lebanon.
Making these stuffed grape leaves
This is an amazingly simple recipe with less than ten ingredients all together. However, it does take a little time to assemble. This means it’s a great recipe to make with friends or family! Whether you’re having a girls’ night or a family dinner, rolling these grape leaves is the perfect opportunity to spend time together.
Two options for grape leaves.
To use fresh leaves, harvest undamaged green leaves from a grapevine. If you don’t have a grapevine in your backyard, seek out a friend or local restaurant with a grape arbor or visit a vineyard. Blanch the fresh leaves to make them pliable. To do so, boil a pot of water and place the leaves in the boiling water for 90 seconds. Transfer leaves from the hot water to a colander using a slotted spoon, then rinse them in cold water. This stops the cooking process.
Pickled grapes leaves are available at most supermarkets and can be used for this recipe right out of the jar.
Preparing the dolmades
Dice the herbs finely and combine with the rice to make a simple filling. Note that this recipe is endlessly flexible. It’s a great way to use up little bits of leftovers! As written, this recipe is vegetarian, but feel free to add diced bits of chicken for a heartier meal.
Now you’re ready to assemble your stuffed grape leaves! For ease of rolling, cut out the hard center stem of the grape leaves if necessary.
Place the leaf with the shiny side facing down and the tip of the leaf facing away from you. Add a heaping teaspoon of rice filling to the middle of the leaf, and fold the bottom up and over the rice.
Fold the sides in toward the center. The key to rolling the leaf is to roll it tightly enough that it stays together, but loose enough that it doesn’t burst.
As you finish rolling each leaf, place it in the baking pan with the seam facing down. Continue until you have used all the rice, then pour vegetable broth over the stuffed leaves. Cook for just shy of half an hour and serve with a homemade tzatziki sauce.
- 2 cups of cooked rice
- 1 cup of toasted pine nuts
- ½ cup of chopped mint
- ¼ cup of chopped dill
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 30-50 grape leaves
- ½ cup of vegetable broth
1. If you are using fresh grape leaves you’ll need to blanch them before using. To do this just boil a pot of water and place the leaves in. Boil for 90 seconds and remove. Blanch in cold water.
2. If you are using pickled grape leaves there is no additional prep.
3. Chop herbs finely.
4. Mix rice, pine nuts, mint, dill, oil and spices in a bowl.
5. Lay out one grape leaf and place about 2 tbsp of the rice mixture in the middle of the leaf. Fold each side and tuck the bottom in and roll.
6. Place seam side down in a baking pan. Repeat with all grape leaves or until you run out of rice.
7. Pour broth on top and place in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 360Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1367mgCarbohydrates: 40gFiber: 4gSugar: 13gProtein: 6g