Dolmades (Stuffed Grape Leaves)
Recipe type: Appetizer/Main Course
Cuisine: Greek
Serves: makes 50-60
Dolmades are a bite-sized dish made from either grape or cabbage leaves and stuffed with all the goods—rice, meat, and plenty of herbs.
  • 1 pound ground beef or ground lamb
  • (or an equal amount of each)
  • 2 cups onions, finely chopped
  • ½ cup uncooked long grain rice
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons dried dill
  • 1 teaspoon mint
  • ¼ cup pine nuts (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (16-ounce) jar of grape leaves
For cooking:
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 lemons, juiced
  • 2-3 cups chicken stock or beef broth
  1. Rinse the grape leaves and remove the stems. Place in a colander to drain.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together meat, onions, rice, olive oil, tomato paste, dill, mint, pine nuts, and salt.
  3. To roll the dolmades, place one leaf shiny side down on the rolling surface. Put 1 tablespoon of the mixture near the stem end. Don’t overfill the leaves, as the rice will expand when cooked. Fold the lower part of leaf over the filling, and then fold the left and right sides into the center. Finish by rolling tightly to the tip of the leaf. Continue until all the meat mixture is gone.
  4. To cook the dolmades, line the bottom of a pot with vine leaves (use the ones that are too small or torn). Pack your dolmades stem-side down tightly in the pot, side by side. Repeat this process for each subsequent layer and drizzle with olive oil. Continue layering until the pot is filled.
  5. Cover with chicken stock or beef broth, plus lemon juice and water.
  6. Place an inverted plate on top to hold them in place while they cook. Cover the pot and let simmer for about 45 minutes to 1 hour on medium heat.
  7. Once the rice is cooked, and the liquids are absorbed, remove the dolmades from the pot and let them cool for about 20 minutes.
  8. Serve cold as an appetizer or hot as an entrée. Squeeze a lemon over the dolmades before serving.
You can make these in advance and freeze them to cook later. If so, store your dolmades in airtight container, and line each layer with parchment paper so the leaves don’t stick together.
Recipe by Eleni Saltas at