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Stuffed Grape Vine Dolmades

Dolmades aka Stuffed Grape Vine Leaves, are aromatic with a unique flavour. They are stuffed with simple and wholesome ingredients that make the perfect meal or even the perfect finger food. It may be a little time-consuming and labor-intensive but do not let that stop you from making them. They are so worth the effort!

Growing up my mum used to make cabbage dolmades all year round as grape vine leaves are only available in summer. However this was my father’s favourite ones. Summer arrived and he would go to the garden and collect the leaves. He had a grape vine only for the leaves not necessarily for the grapes. I guess that in itself explains how much he loved them.

In saying that, one thing is very important when it comes to making dolmades. If you are picking fresh vine leaves, they must be tender, young and good quality otherwise they remain tough even after cooking. Their colour should be a bright light green (you will notice that in the photos). If you are using the bottled ones, they may also be tough so they may need some extra boiling time before using them to assemble the dolmades.

Please note: Dolmades are stuffed in a variety of ways. When we are fasting we only use rice, vegetables and herbs for the mixture. In some parts of Greece, pine nuts and sultanas are also added to the vegetarian versions. I have presented to you my favourite way and the way my parents taught me. It is the perfect little parcel filled with meat, vegetables, rice and herbs. Simply divine! Enjoy x

Step-by-step photos are all below. Please take the time to read first. Happy Creating!

Grape Vine Dolmades


60 fresh grape vine leaves or preserved vine leaves

500g beef mince 1/4 cup short / medium grain rice 1/4 cup basmati / long grain rice 2 medium zucchini grated 3 stems finely chopped green onions

1 onion grated 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley 1/4 cup finely chopped fennel 1 egg Sea salt

Freshly ground pepper

2 tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil + extra

Juice of 1 lemon