I truly could eat dolmades every day. This fun Greek dish can be eaten warm as an appetizer with some of the pan juices spooned on top, room temperature, and even cold straight out of the fridge. They’re delicious with freshly squeezed lemon or tzatziki sauce and are perfect for a mezze platter.
I ate them for lunch at least once a week for a decade and finally learned how to make them myself a couple of years ago. They’re so easy! They’re really just as easy as meatballs that are rolled up like adorable little burritos.
If you’ve never had grape leaves before, don’t let that intimidate you. They’re delicious and nutritious! You can find a jar of grape leaves either in the international aisle or near olives at the grocery store. There’s a TON of grape leaves in a single jar so one is all you need for this recipe, which makes about 5 dozen dolmades. I usually still have a few grape leaves leftover.
Dolmades (Stuffed Grape Leaves)
1 jar grape leaves
1.5 lbs ground beef (I like 90% lean for this)
1 cup uncooked jasmine rice
1 small white onion, diced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2.5 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp canola oil
2 lemons, divided use
Fresh mint, dill, Italian parsley, and oregano, chopped (about 3/4 cup herbs total but just eyeball it)
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted
- Remove grape leaves from jar, set in a colander, rinse with cold water, and set aside to drain.
- Combine beef, rice, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, water, canola oil, the juice of one lemon, and herbs in a large bowl. Mix well.
- Line a large saucepan with a few grape leaves. Set a grape leaf on a cutting board stem-side up. Grab a tablespoon or so of beef mixture, roll it in a thick log, and set it on the base of the leaf stem. Roll forward slightly, fold the two sides into the center, then continue to wrap for a snug little dolma. Set in sauce pan. Continue with remaining mixture, adding a second layer to the pan after the bottom is full.
- Set pan over low heat and pour chicken broth, the juice of another lemon, and half a stick of melted over dolmades. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes. They’re done when the beef is no longer pink and the rice is tender. Delicious served warm with some of the sauce from the pan spooned on top, at room temperature, and even cold from the fridge. Fabulous with freshly squeezed lemon on top and with tzatziki sauce. Perfect for a mezze platter.
Watch me make it:
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