Wednesday, September 14, 2011

[088] Guest Recipe: Dolmades

Before I get to the recipe, check out yesterday's screenshot of the stats overview at 7:30pm:

55 views! All of Vegging for Health's interviews are my highest viewed posts!

Via Wikipedia: In Cyprus, stuffed vine leaves are called koupepia (Greek). Greek Cypriots call the rest of the stuffed vegetables either gemista (which means something stuffed in Greek) or dolmades (as a plural for dolma).
If you missed yesterday's interview with Lea, please take a moment to read what she has to share about being raised vegetarian. You can read Lea's blog at Becoming SuperMommy!

What you'll need:
  • 6c cooked rice (basmati or brown jasmine)
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 Tbs minced garlic (more if prepared)
  • 1 jar of grape leaves
  • salt, pepper, dried mint
  • 1-3 Tbs olive oil
  • approximately 30oz, give or take, of canned chopped tomatoes WITH juices- don't drain!!!
  • 3/4c raisins
  • 1/4c lemon juice

In a bowl, mix together the tomatoes, raisins, and lemon juice.  Set it aside until called for.

In a much larger bowl, mix together the rice, garlic, eggs, and spices.  I like to use about a teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, about half a teaspoon of mint, first rubbed between my palms, and only a little salt.  Really, the grape leaves and the tomatoes both have a lot of salt in them to begin with, so you don't require much.  Just a couple of shakes.

Now comes the hard part.  Set yourself three plates as a work station.  Drain the jar of grape leaves, and carefully remove them, and unfold them onto the first plate.  The first third of the dolmades will take the longest- this is because the grape leaves in the center of the jar will be the most crushed.  Gently, work the leaves open and flatten one onto the second plate face down, so that the stems are facing up..  Scoop some of the rice mixture onto the base of the leaf.  For most leaves, you'll need about 1.5 tbs of rice mixture, but grape leaves come in all sizes, even within a single jar.  Some leaves are large enough to put in a third of a cup.  After rolling a few, you'll begin to get the hang of how much mixture will fit comfortably in a given leaf.

Roll the base of the leaf up, towards the tip, about three quarters of the way around the rice.  Now tuck in the edges of the leaf, like a burrito.  Continue rolling until you have a tiny, green, leafy egg roll looking thing.  This is a raw dolmade.  Set it aside on the third plate.

Repeat, until all of the grape leaves are rolled.  You will likely have a few that appear to have broken into a million pieces.  This is good- hold onto those.  Some of the more whole leaves will still have tears or small holes in them.  You can "patch" these with the remnants of damaged grape leaves.

Once you have all your grape leaves rolled up, take a very wide, flat pan, and add enough olive oil to coat the bottom.  Over medium high heat, arrange the dolmades so that as many as possible are touching the bottom.  If you can, allow them to sear gently for three to five minutes, and then flip them. Most likely, this will be impossible.  Don't worry, they will still be delicious.

Once all your dolmades are arranged- or even better, flipped- pour the tomato mixture on top.  Spread it across as much of the surface of the dolmades as possible.  Cover the pan, reduce heat to medium, and allow to simmer for 25 minutes.

The beauty of dolmades?  They can be served hot, cold, or anywhere in between.  You can serve them as a main dish, or as an appetizer with toothpicks set into them.

No matter what, they are delicious.  Enjoy!

This recipe looks absolutely delicious! I'll have to try it soon! I kept the photo size "x-large" so you can see a great amount of detail in each image. All recipe photos are from Lea!

If you're one of my meat-eater readers looking for a meat version, check out Stuffed Grape Leaves (Dolmades)

Happy Vegging!


  1. I'm vegan so I can't eat these with the egg. Do you know if the recipe could be modified? By the way, I'm following your blog now :) Maybe you could feature some vegan recipes sometimes?


  2. Great question! I don't use a lot of egg substitutes when I cook, so I immediately Google searched and came across Personally, the tofu and mashed potato options sound the most appetizing to me.
    I just checked out your blog (So cute by the way!) and I'm following you as well. :] I will definitely bring vegan into the mix!

  3. I had  meant to add something about that!

    Yes, you can replace the egg.  Replace 3 eggs with half of a very large, unripe banana.

    Works like a charm.  :)



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