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Stuffed Grape Leaves

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Stuffed Grape Leaves, or Dolmos, are a vegetarian Greek or Mediterranean appetizer. Grape leaves are rolled with a mixture of rice, pine nuts, mint and dill. Once you get the hang of making grape leaves they are so easy and make a great lunch, dinner or appetizer. 

Stuffed Grape Leaves on white plate

STUFFED GRAPE LEAVES 

When I think of my grandma and her delicious Lebanese food the one thing that always comes to mind aside from her Tabbouleh is Stuffed Grape Leaves. We eat them a lot in our family and my kids love them too. Today’s version is vegetarian but I also have this Meat Stuffed Grape Leaves if you prefer meat. 

I remember the smell of the grape leaves simmering when I would walk into her house. She cooked her grape leaves in tomato sauce but today’s recipe uses broth to cook them. I like them either way. Stuffed Grape Leaves are also known as dolmos. When Mike and I traveled to Greece we ate Dolmos often as an appetizer.

Stuffed Grape Leaves on white board

HOW DO YOU MAKE STUFFED GRAPE LEAVES?

If you are using fresh grape leaves you’ll need to steam 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.  If you are using pickled grape leaves there is no additional prep. Chop herbs finely

Mix rice, pine nuts, mint, dill, oil and spices in a bowl.

Lay out one grape leaf and place about 1 Tablespoon of the rice mixture in the middle of the leaf. Fold each side and tuck the bottom in and roll tightly but not too tightly because they do need to expand.

Place seam side down in a baking pan. Repeat with all grape leaves or until you run out of rice.

Place a small plate inverted on top which will help keep them in place while they cook. Boil the broth and pour over the grape leaves until the top of the grape leaves is just covered.

Stuffed Grape Leaves Step 2

Cover the pot with its lid and cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed.

Stuffed Grape Leaves Step 3

Uncover, remove the plate {you are done with the plate} then pour juice of 2 lemons over the grape leaves. Cover again with the lid and cook on low heat for about 30 to 45 more minutes or until the grape leaves are fully cooked.

Uncover and let rest for 30 minutes.

Remove and serve warm. You can garnish with feta cheese and parsley.

Stuffed Grape Leaves in Pot

HOW SHOULD I SERVE THESE DOLMOS?

When I garnish my grape leaves I like to add feta cheese and parsley. I also serve with lemon wedges and a side of yogurt sauce for dipping. 

Another great option is to serve them with hummus or baba ghanoush and pita. 

If you want to serve these alongside other Mediterranean dishes I like to make Spicy Lebanese Potatoes, Fattoush and Chicken Shawarma

Stuffed Grape Leaves with mint

TIPS FOR MAKING STUFFED GRAPE LEAVES

ROLLING: The rolling process will determine how your grape leaves turn out. You want to roll them tightly but not too tightly because the rice mixture will expand in cooking. 

SEAM SIDE DOWN: When you place the grape leaves in a pot you want to make sure that the seam side is down. This ensures the leaves stay intact and don’t split open. 

LET THEM SIT: When you are done cooking the grape leaves you will want to let them sit for about 30 minutes. This lets the juices absorb into them and lets the flavors really meld together. 

FRESH LEAVES: You will want to wash fresh leaves well and then blanch them in boiling hot water. Use a slotted spoon to remove them from the water and place them in a colander to fully cool and drain.

TOMATO SAUCE: When my grandma made stuffed grape leaves she simmered them in a tomato sauce. To do this, instead of the broth you will use a sauce to cover the grape leaves and simmer them in.

Stuffed Grape Leaves with lemon

ARE STUFFED GRAPE LEAVES SERVED WARM OR COLD?

You can serve grape leaves warm or cold. In my opinion it comes down to personal preference. In many Mediterranean countries they eat the rice stuffed grape leaves cold and the meat stuffed grape leaves warm.

To reheat place the grape leaves in a pot with a small amount of broth or water, cover and reheat on medium heat until the grape leaves are heated through.  

Stuffed Grape Leaves on white plate

HOW DO YOU STORE GRAPE LEAVES?

These will keep well in the refrigerator for about five days. Drizzle olive oil on top and cover to store. Return to room temperature before serving.

DO STUFFED GRAPE LEAVES FREEZE WELL?

Stuffed grape leaves freeze well. After cooking, allow them to cool fully, then drizzle with olive oil, place in a freezer bag, and freeze. The grape leaves keep for up to six months.

Stuffed Grape Leaves in Pot

Stuffed Grape Leaves

Yield: 30-50 Grape Leaves
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Stuffed Grape Leaves, or Dolmos, are a vegetarian Greek or Mediterranean appetizer. Grape leaves are rolled with a mixture of rice, pine nuts, mint and dill. Once you get the hang of making grape leaves they are so easy and make a great lunch, dinner or appetizer. 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of cooked rice
  • 1 cup of toasted pine nuts
  • ½ cup of chopped fresh mint
  • ¼ cup of chopped fresh dill
  • 2 Tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • About 4 cups of broth
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Garnish: feta cheese and parsley

Instructions

    1. If you are using fresh grape leaves you’ll need to steam 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. Chop herbs finely
    3. Mix rice, pine nuts, mint, dill, oil and spices in a bowl
    4. Lay out one grape leaf and place about 1 Tablespoon of the rice mixture in the middle of the leaf. Fold each side and tuck the bottom in and roll tightly but not too tightly because they do need to expand.
    5. Place seam side down in a baking pan. Repeat with all grape leaves or until you run out of rice.
    6. Place a small plate inverted on top which will help keep them in place while they cook. Boil the broth and pour over the grape leaves until the top of the grape leaves is just covered.
    7. Cover the pot with its lid and cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed.
    8. Uncover, remove the plate {you are done with the plate} then pour juice of 2 lemons over the grape leaves. Cover again with the lid and cook on low heat for about 30 to 45 more minutes or until the grape leaves are fully cooked.
    9. Uncover and let rest for 30 minutes.
    10. Remove and serve warm. You can garnish with feta cheese and parsley.

Notes

These will keep well in the refrigerator for about five days. Drizzle olive oil on top and cover to store. Return to room temperature before serving. They can also be frozen.

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