If you haven’t had dolmades, then you have been missing out.  They are a Greek delicacy and when prepared correctly, they are a delight to the senses.  Homemade are far superior to store bought and they are rather uncomplicated to make.  You can purchase grape leaves at specialty stores but note that they are packaged in a brine and therefore salty, so they need to be rinsed before using.  The have a green, earthy and salty flavor to them which makes them perfect for stuffing. Don’t throw away any broken leaves as you will need those in the preparation of this dish.


2 cloves of garlic

3 scallions – finely chopped both green and white parts

1 medium onion – finely chopped

2-3 garlic cloves – minced

2-3 TBSP of fresh dill

½ TSP cinnamon

3 TBSP toasted pine nuts

½ cup of lemon juice plus 3 extra TBSP

¾ cup of EVOO

1 TBSP sugar

1 cup of white rice – rinsed

2 cups of water

¼ cup of chopped parsley

1 16oz jar of grape leaves – drained, unrolled and rinsed


After unrolling the grape leaves place them in a pot with some water and boil them gently for about 2-3 minutes. Cool and cut off their hard stems.


In a medium sauce pan add the onion and garlic to a bit of oil and sweat for a minute or two.  Add the rice and toast, stirring for a few minutes.  Incorporate the toasted pine nuts, cinnamon, sugar and the two cups of water; stir to combine and gently simmer for about 15-20 minutes till the water has absorbed and the rice is cooked.  Add the chopped dill, parsley, scallions and lemon juice and season to taste with Kosher salt and pepper. Allow rice to cool.

Place a grape leaf flat on a cutting board.  Add about 1-2 TBSP on the rice mixture in the center and fold the butt and sides around the rice like a burrito.  Ensure they are wrapped snug but not too tight as they will expand a little when cooking them, even though the rice is already cooked.  The rolls will look like green, shiny small cigars.

In a large Dutch oven, line the bottom with any of the broken and unusable grape leaves.  Place the dolmades on top and make sure they are rather snug but don’t cram them together like sardines.

Mix the EVOO, with about 3 TBSP of lemon juice and about ½ cup of warm water and pour that over the grape leaves.  Place a plate on top of them to ensure they don’t float to the top and simmer, covered for about 15 minutes.  Wait till they have cooled to remove the plate and serve the dolmades at room temperature with some of the cooking liquid poured on top.

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