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    Greek Dolmades (Stuffed Vine Leaves)

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    Greek Dolmades (Stuffed Vine Leaves)

    Dolmades are a typical part of the first meal of Lent in Greece. You should make the dolmades small – no more than 4cm long. These little taste explosions are less salty than those often served in British 'Greek' restaurants. For a more Turkish flavour, add a pinch of cinnamon.

    • Preparation time: 35 minutes
    • Cooking time: 30 minutes to 45 minutes
    • Total time: 1 hour 5 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes 60 minutes 20 minutes

    Makes: 30


    • 200ml extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
    • 4 salad onions, finely chopped (including most of the green)
    • 125g short grain rice
    • 1 garlic clove, crushed
    • 50g sultanas
    • 50g pine nuts
    • 50ml lemon juice
    • 15g dill, finely chopped
    • 15g flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
    • 1 packet preserved vine leaves


    1. Heat 3 tbsp oil in a large, non-reactive saucepan, add both kinds of onions and cook for 5 minutes until soft but not coloured. Add the rice and garlic, stirring thoroughly, then add the sultanas, pine nuts, lemon juice and 50ml of the remaining oil. Season generously with salt and pepper. Finally, add 250ml boiling water. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes until the rice has swelled slightly and absorbed the liquid. Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool. Stir in the chopped herbs and mix well.
    2. Lay each vine leaf flat on your worktop (spine-side down). Place 1 tbsp rice mixture in the centre of each leaf, then turn in the sides and wrap to form a neat, well-sealed parcel. Place the parcels on their seams in a wide pan, so they fit snugly. Drizzle with the remaining oil and season. Pour over cold water to cover the dolmades, then put a plate on top to weigh them down so they don't unravel when cooking. Bring to the boil. Turn down to a simmer and cover with a lid. Cook for 30–45 minutes or until the rice is tender and has absorbed most of the water.

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