"These are grape leaves, stuffed with a tantalizing mixture of rice, fresh dill, mint and lemon. 'Yum' is the only one word to describe these. These can either be a main dish or an appetizer, depending on your appetite. Serve with good crusty bread and a Greek salad, if desired." — Patti Moschonas
Watch video tips and tricks
uncooked long-grain white rice
chopped fresh dill
chopped fresh mint leaves
fresh lemon juice, divided
grape leaves, drained and rinsed
hot water as needed
As a person of Lebanese heritage, I have tasted and cooked many stuffed grapeleaf recipes. Most of them have meat, and I was looking for a vegetarian version. I used a vegetable broth instead of chicken for this recipe. This recipe was OUTSTANDING for flavor. I also added some toasted pine nuts. My one suggestion is to make sure that the rice is undercooked before stuffing. I cooked it to long, and the final cooking time of one hour was to long for the rice. It was kind of mushy. But the flavor and texture (before the last cooking) was delicious.
I'm not sure what makes these famous, but at my dinner party the fame didn't last long. These were flavorless and not authentic according to my Greek guests. They were missing a greek lemon sauce, which I knew, but figured without meat, it might work. It didn't. They definitely lack a protein though and really need something like pine nuts or ground meat.. lamb, beef or a combo of both. Some guests thought they were OK, some left them on their plates. I've made lots of good Dolmathes in the past.. should have stuck with what works, but was looking for something lighter as a starter.
Wow! These were great. Just like you'd get at an expensive restaraunt, but only abuot $5 for everything!
Here's some tips to make these come out better:
1. Add the Mint. The recipe calls for mint, but never says to add it. I added it at the sam time as the dill.
2. Use at least 3 grape leaves and 2+ Tbsp of stuffing. I like my Dolma a bit larger than my pinky (the size you get when you follow the directions). I arranged three leaves in a triangle, with their stems overlapping at the center, tips pointing out, and added about 2 Tbsp of rice mix right to the center.
3. Roll them tight, and make sure you're not overstuffing for the amount of leaves you use to wrap.
4. When you arrange them in the pot, if they are not pressed really tight together, they will float when you pour the broth over them. The ones on the bottom will open up and the rice will come out.
5. Try them cold. Refrigerate them overnight before serving.
San Diego, CA
Patti, what a delicious recipe. The rice stuffing is absolutely wonderful. I had a problem with the grape leaves, though. They were tough and chewy no matter how long I simmered them. It was recommeded to me by a friend from Athens to pour boiling water over the leaves, let them sit for 5 minutes, drain and let them sit in a bowl of cold water before they are used. 10 seconds wasn't enough for mine. Maybe mine were fresh leaves. Also, my friend suggested to put a plate over the grape leaves as they simmer so that they don't fall apart. This was a lot of work and I ended up having to through it all away but I'm willing to try it again with these changes. I'll write a new review when I do this.
This is a really tasty recipe. If I serve it as a main course, I add 1 lb of ground lamb, a handful of pinenuts or pistachios, a handful of dried cherries or cranberries, and about 2 oz of crumbled feta cheese. The lamb has a considerable amount of fat in it, so you can use half the amount of olive oil or eliminate it altogether. If you like Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Food, you will love this recipe. Don't let the pot get too hot, or your leaves will burst; I use flavorful basmati rice, so I prefer the rice to be fully cooked before stuffing the leaves.
I've made these twice - once with ground veal and once without the veal & olive oil. I like it without the veal and the olive oil. I use jarred grape leaves from a speciality store so I don't have to cook them as long (but they aren't shiny green either). I agree w/ Rick, for a main dish, I like my leaves bigger than the recipe directs. To help keep them closed during the simmering, sqeeze the stuffed leaves w/ your hand before placing in the pot. I crave these, they are so good! Thanks Patti!
Fabulous recipe! A couple of changes: veggie broth instead of chicken, dried herbs (adjusyed quantities), a little parsley, and grape leaves from a jar. It came out awesome.
these were great!. altho the rolling got abit tedious :P. i made a few changes simply because i didn't have exactly the ingredients on hand. i used instant brown rice which sped up the cook time of the rice mixture. i would simply reduce the amount of moisture to what the box requires for 2 cups. other wise you have to cook the extra moisture out. the brown rice gave it a bit nutty of a flavor which i really enjoyed. also i dont like mint. so i replaced the mint with parsley. i used dry herbs instead of fresh. i truly recommend giving the rolls and extra squeeze, packing them tight as possible in the pot, AND putting a plate on top to help them keep from busting.. really an easy , impressive recipe. thanks
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
My Own Famous Stuffed Grape Leaves
Serving Size: 1/12 of a recipe
Servings Per Recipe: 12
Amount Per Serving
** Calories: 303
** Calories from Fat: 168
These roasted green bell peppers are stuffed with a savory feta and rice mixture.
Bacon-wrapped chicken breasts are stuffed with spinach and feta cheese.
See how to make sensational lamb-stuffed cabbage rolls.