Making stuffed grape leaves is an art form—and I like to think that eating them is, too. It doesn’t matter what you call them—dolmades, dawali, sarma—stuffed grape leaves are a delicious blast to all of your senses. Cooking the heavenly little rolls in a brine of fresh lemon, dill, and olive oil until they’ve soaked up the flavors doesn’t just make your taste buds dance—the smell and sight is equally intoxicating.
While this art form was always reserved for the experienced hands of grandmas in my family, it turns out that making stuffed grape leaves is easy and fun. Check out the rockin’ recipe below, and start rolling!
Stuffed Grape Leaves
16 oz. or 450 g grape leaves, packaged or fresh (about 50)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 large onions, chopped
1 cup uncooked brown rice
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 tsp. fresh mint
1 tsp. salt
Juice of 2 lemons
- If using packaged grape leaves, rinse well with warm water to remove brine. If using fresh leaves, place in boiling water for about 1 minute to soften and make them easier to roll.
- In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and sauté the onions until translucent.
- Stir in the rice, dill, chickpeas, mint, and salt.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.
- Place a grape leaf flat on a cutting board with the raised veins pointing down. Use a knife to cut out the thick end of the stem at the bottom of the leaf. Place 1 teaspoonful of the rice mixture at the bottom of leaf, just above where the stem was. Fold both sides of the leaf toward the center and roll up from the bottom. Repeat this step with the remaining leaves.
- Place in a large pot close together to prevent unrolling while cooking.
- Cover with enough water to submerge the rolled leaves by about 1 inch.
- Cover the pot and simmer for 1 hour.
- Serve hot, cold, or at room temperature.
Tip: These are even better if you refrigerate them overnight. The flavors become even more complex and mind-blowing!
Makes approximately 50 stuffed grape leaves
Posted by Edwina Baier