Greek Stuffed Vine Leaves is one of the highlights of Greek cuisine. A unique dish, with a very distinctive flavor. Vine leaves (grape leaves) are stuffed with a rice, fresh herb and pine nut filling, and are served with a thick lemon sauce.
Sometimes vine leaves are stuffed with ground meat also like lamb or beef. In Greek we call them Dolmadakia. Dolmadakia we name the small Dolmades.
But What Are Dolmades?
Dolmades refers to a stuffed leaf. Whether it’s stuffed grape leaves or stuffed cabbage leaves (like in Lahanodolmades).
Where To Find The Vine Leaves (Grape Leaves)
Traditionally, vine leaves are collected in early spring when the vine starts to grow its new and tender leaves. Fresh leaves are then blanched in a boiling water that contains either white wine or vinegar before they can be used.
If you can’t find fresh leaves though, you can get them preserved in jars with brine that are ready to use.
And to tell you the truth, in today’s world, most people prefer to use the preserved vine leaves. As long as you can find a good quality because sometimes you get leaves that are really old, hard and chewy.
Try a Greek market or you can buy them online in case you can’t find them in your area.
I’m going to share two labels with you here that are both Greek and of a good quality.
Are Grape Leaves Healthy?
Oh, yes you can definitely say they are! They’re rich in fiber which is what usually lacks from our diet these days (about 11 grams of fiber in every 100 grams of grape leaves). They’re also very rich in vitamin A (440% of the recomended daily intake in every 100 grams of grape leaves). They’re also a good source of Calcium, Magnesium, and vitamin B-6.
How To Make Dolmades
The only thing you may find a bit intimidating the first time you will try to make Dolmades is the folding and wrapping. But it only takes a bit of practice until you get the hang of it. Then you will want to make them again and again…
So what you basically do is:
- Prepare the filling in a pan (takes about 5 min).
- Drain grape leaves from brine in a strainer.
- Lay a grape leave in a flat working surface and add a full teaspoon of the filling in the center-bottom of the leaf.
- Overlap the bottom end of the leaf over the filling. Press gently to remove air and stick together.
- Fold the right and left sides inwards.
- Roll as tightly as you can to form a Dolma.
Cover the bottom of a cooking pot with a few grape leaves (to prevent Dolmadakia from scorching).
Place Dolmadakia in a cross like shape one close to each other. With folded end at the bottom. And then fill the sides with remaining Dolmadakia.
Simmer and serve with the delicious lemon sauce. Enjoy!
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE:
- Greek Spinach Rice With Lemon (Vegan, Gluten-Free)
- Greek Potato Salad With Garlic Lemon & Fresh Herbs (Vegan, Gluten-Free)
- Rice Stuffed Vegetables – Yemista (Vegan, Gluten-Free)
Greek Stuffed Vine Leaves -Dolmadakia
- 450 grams / 15.8 oz vine leaves in brine
- 1 small onion minced
- 10 tablespoons medium grain rice
- a handfull of parsley
- a handfull of dill
- 25 grams pine nuts
- 7 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons corn flour
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- Heat a non-stick pan over high heat. Once the pan is smokey hot, remove from heat. Add the pine nuts and shake the pan until they get a golden color all around. Remove from pan and set aside to cool.NOTE: Shake the pan every 2-3 seconds as they burn easily.
- In same pan, add a good splash of olive oil and caramelize the onion over medium heat.
- Add the rice, parsley, dill and lemon zest. Stir using a wooden spatula. Cover the rice slightly with water.
- Once the rice absorbs all the water, remove from heat. Mix in the pine nuts. Season with salt and pepper.
- In a strainer drain the vine leaves from their brine.
- Cover the bottom of a medium-sized cooking pot with a few vine leaves.
- Lay open (one at a time) the vine leaves (bottom-sides up) on your working surface.
- Add 1 generous teaspoon of filling in the center. Fold upwards once. Then fold its right and left side inwards. Then start rolling upwards.
- Keep doing that, until you roll all the vine leaves (do not fold them very tight, since the rice will get bigger in size and they will pop open if you do)
- Add the stuffed vine leaves one by one in the pot, creating a cross-like shape. Then fill the sides of the cross (this way they'll keep nice and tightly together).
- When you have rolled all leaves, add a plate on top (to keep them down while simmering) Cover slightly with water and add the olive oil.
- Cook for 25-30 minutes over medium-low heat half-covered with the pot's lid.
- Whisk cornflour with lemon juice in a bowl and add to the pot . Shake the pot for the mixture to spread evenly.
- Simmer for 2-3 more minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Once they cool a bit, remove the plate and serve.