It’s been a while since I posted a Greek recipe. Today, I want to share a deliciously nutritious recipe for Greek dolmades (stuffed vine/grape leaves). I discovered this recipe on a recent trip to the beautiful island of Santorini, Greece (perhaps the most beautiful island in the world).
I found it in a local Greek restaurant called Fistikies, and I was in luck because the chef was willing to share his authentic recipe for Greek Dolmades. Here’s the link to Fistikies Restaurant, and I strongly advise you to go there if you ever visit Santorini, Greece.
What are Greek Dolmades?
Greek Dolmades is one of the most popular appetizers in Greek cuisine. Greek Dolmades can be bought in your local store; however, they don’t come even close to these homemade authentic ones. So I don’t advise buying them.
Nothing can beat their unique taste, and they’re straightforward to make. So, in this article, we will look at preparing Greek dolmades.
The recipe is a traditional mix of fresh herbs, ground beef, and veggies. Dolmades are not restricted to Greece and are cooked in many Asian countries.
FAQs about Greek Dolmades
Can I Make Vegan Greek Dolmades?
Yes, and it is straightforward! In fact, the vegan version of Greek Dolmades also counts as authentic; it’s just a matter of preference.
So, if you are a vegan, all you need is to make changes to the fillings. Replace the meat with half a cup of rice.
After the onions are cooked, add them to the rice, and then add spices, salt, and pepper. Also, add fresh herbs to it. Mix well and use it for stuffing the grape leaves.
Can I use fresh leaves instead of jar leaves?
If you’ve used fresh leaves instead of a jar, wash them well before using them. You can also run hot water from them. After taking them out of the hot water, cool them and drain them.
How to store the leftovers?
To store the remaining in the fridge, use airtight containers. You can store it for three to four days. It is up to you if you want to enjoy them cold or hot. If you want to reheat them, put them in the skillet and some liquid and cover it. Cook at medium flame until they are hot.
We hope you enjoy these delicious Greek recipes, and we invite you to return to our site to learn more about authentic Greek food. Thank you for your time and attention; we are always happy to serve our audience.
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Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Greek Dolmades Recipe
- Grape leaves in brine – 1 jar (16 oz)
- Short grain rice – 1 ½ cup (soak in water for fifteen min and drain)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Chopped Yellow onion – 1
- Lean Ground Beef – 12 oz
- Salt to taste
- Black pepper
- Allspice – 1 tsp
- Cumin – ½ tsp
- Chopped Parsley, fresh mint, and fresh dill – ½ cup each
- Tomatoes – 1
- Chicken broth – 4 cups ( I use low sodium one)
- Lemon juice – 4 tsp
Preparing the Grape Leaves:
- Remove the grape leaves from the jar and discard the brine.
- Rinse the leaves thoroughly under cold water to remove any excess salt.
- Allow the leaves to drain and set aside.
Preparing the Stuffing:
- In a bowl, soak the rice in water for 15 minutes. After soaking, drain the water completely.
- In a pan, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat.
- Add onions and sauté until they become translucent, stirring occasionally.
- Add the meat to the pan and cook until it turns brown. Flip occasionally to ensure even cooking.
- Drain any excess fat from the pan.
- Season with salt, pepper, and all-spice, mixing well.
- Transfer the meat mixture to a bowl and allow it to cool.
- Once cooled, add the drained rice and herbs to the meat mixture.
- Season with salt and drizzle 1 tbsp of olive oil. Mix until all ingredients are well combined.
Stuffing and Cooking the Grape Leaves:
- Lightly grease a skillet with olive oil.
- Line the bottom of the skillet with a layer of grape leaves.
- Add a layer of sliced tomatoes on top of the grape leaves.
- To stuff a grape leaf:
- Lay a leaf on a cutting board with the patterned side facing up.
- Place 1 tbsp of the meat and rice filling in the center.
- Fold in the sides and roll the leaf, securing the filling inside.
- Repeat the stuffing process with the remaining grape leaves until all the filling is used.
- Arrange the stuffed grape leaves in the skillet, starting from the edges and working your way to the center.
- Place a plate upside down on top of the grape leaves to keep them in place.
- Pour hot broth over the grape leaves until they are slightly submerged.
- Cover the skillet with a lid and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed.
- Drizzle 4 tsp of lemon juice over the grape leaves, cover, and continue cooking for another 30 minutes or until fully cooked.
- Remove the skillet from heat and allow the grape leaves to cool for 30 minutes, uncovered.
- Drizzle with additional olive oil.
- Transfer the grape leaves to a serving plate.
- Serve with plain yogurt or lemon wedges on the side. Enjoy your homemade Greek dolmades!
Cooking Tips & Variations
- Don’t skip soaking the rice as it later aids in cooking.
- It is not advised to over-stuff the grape leaves as the filling contains rice that expands when cooked.
- When rolling the grape leaves, ensure they are rolled tightly. Stay moderate, not less, or too tight for proper cooking.
- Placing an inverted plate on the leaves will make them stay intact and prevent them from floating while being cooked. When the liquid is absorbed, you may bake out the plate.
- After the grapes are cooked, the resting time allows them to absorb the extra liquid. It also adds to the taste.
Prepare dolmades ahead
- Stuffings can be prepared one or two nights prior. You may store them in an air-tight container in the fridge.
- You can roll the grape leaves with stuffings inside and then place them in the refrigerator overnight. Take them out of the fridge an hour before you need to cook.