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Dolmades (Stuffed vine leaves) recipe

Dolmades (Stuffed vine leaves) recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Starters
  • Meze

Minced lamb, onions, pine nuts and rice are used to stuff these vine leaves. The result dolmades are plump and flavoursome.

21 people made this

IngredientsServes: 8

  • 675g minced lamb
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 125g long grain white rice
  • 90g pine nuts
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint
  • 1/3 (750g) jar vine leaves, drained and rinsed
  • 350ml water

MethodPrep:35min ›Cook:55min ›Ready in:1hr30min

  1. Mix the lamb, onions, rice, pine nuts, salt, pepper and mint into a bowl until evenly combined. Gently open up a vine leaf and place rib-side down onto your work surface. Place a rounded tablespoon of the meat mixture into the centre of the vine leaf. Fold the bottom of the leaf over the meat, fold in the sides and roll into a tight cylinder. Place the rolled vine leaf into a large frying pan, seam-side down. Repeat with remaining vine leaves, packing them in a tight, single layer.
  2. Pour the water into the frying pan and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the rice is tender, 50 to 55 minutes. Check occasionally and add more water if needed. Pour off water before serving.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(17)

Reviews in English (11)

by Mrs.Alqahtani(Jumana Alshahin)

I love Dolma its actually my fav. Iraqi dish,but it has to be done the right way. The Iraqi version uses lemon juice,pomegranet molases,and sugar with the water for cooking and flavoring these tastey lil things. Oh and a bit of EVOO drizzeled in with the water would glaze it extra beautifully! YUM! This recipe however is worth a try because any middle eastern version of Dolmas or Waraq inab is delicious really.-16 Aug 2009


These are really tasty, i grew up with Stuffed Grape Leaves, so it was a challenge finding a good recipe that met my expectations...this one is really GOOD! the only changes i made, were instead of cooking in water, i used a combination of chicken broth, some lemon and some tomato sauce. THat gave it more of a tangy full flavor. My brother couldnt get enough of them!-25 Apr 2011

by April Warner Tracy

TRY IT!!! These are wonderful and not too hard It costs about $5/lb for lamb, these mini "burritos" are really filling too. I've never used pine nuts before in this recipe but it is pretty close to the one I have. They will add a great variety to your usual dinner routine.-10 Oct 2008

Koupepia me ampelofylla ( Stuffed Vine Leaves)

Koupepia (as we call them in Cyprus) are dolmades stuffed with ground pork or veal, rice, fresh herbs and seasoning, cooked with tomato and lemon juice.

They can be served as part of a meze platter or salad plate, eaten as finger food or as a main dish.

The difference from the usual Greek ones is that in Cyprus we do not add avgolemono sauce but instead we add tomato and cinnamon, similar to many recipes found in the Aegean islands, which adds a heavenly taste to this dish and an irresistible smell while they are being cooked.

This is one of my family&rsquos favourite dishes and it&rsquos one of those few times that I don&rsquot have to prepare a second meal because they all love this one.

While I was cooking, I remembered that this is a recipe I knew since I was still at school.

When I was taking my First Certificate in English examination (called Lower Certificate) I was 14 years old.

Our teacher told us that the examiners usually request the students to talk about something they like doing. I remember that even back then, I chose to speak about cooking.

They asked me what my favourite meal was and I told them it was koupepia, stuffed vine leaves.

The examiner asked me to describe the whole procedure of how this meal was prepared.

Although I am not sure how my cooking skills were back then, I did pass the examinations but I suppose after so many years I must have improved my cooking skills as well.

Although, when graduating I acquired many GCEs O level degrees and later on a Proficiency Degree in English, I don&rsquot know about my English skills, as so many years have passed since then and although I&rsquove been using English in all my jobs, I am not familiar with the culinary terms.

I hope that I and can still explain the procedure and that you will understand my instructions. Now that I am blogging in English I hope to learn more culinary terms and practice my English 🙂

Although dolmades are better served when warm, koupepia are best served cold, so they can easily be served as finger food, during a party or a gathering.

In Cyprus we also make this dish using other leafy greens such as silverbeet or cabbage or stuffed zucchini flowers or onions.

I mentioned that I had a vine growing along the North-facing wall of my house in New Zealand, and had always wondered whether it would be possible to make stuffed vine leaves – or dolmades – with the leaves. “Of course,” said Katerina and explained that a vine was a vine, but it was the younger, lighter leaves that were best, as they were softer, and better eating. Not only this, but her mother was going to make dolmades that morning, apparently in industrial quantities for the adjoining restaurant, and we should come down and help.

Rather than book a taxi for just one guest, Katerina thought it would be easier to take her moped. Five minutes later I found myself riding pillion as Katerina whizzed down Askeli beach into town, weaving around cats and pedestrians with one hand and greeting every local with the other. Meanwhile I was busy clinging onto both the scooter and that traditional Kiwi attire – the leather bush hat – while trying to remember whether I had gone for the basic or the all-inclusive travel insurance.

Dolmades me Avgolemono (stuffed vine leaves)

Dolmades me Avgolemono (pr. dol-MAH-thes mé Avgolémono) , are vine leaves stuffed with ground meat and rice which are then served with an egg lemon sauce, called avgolemono (avgo = egg and lemoni = lemon).

There are a few different kind of dolmades depending on the region. The most common in Greece is that with the Avgolemono (egg-lemon) sauce. In other regions, including Cyprus, they are called Koupepia and are cooked with tomato and use cinnamon in the fillig.

Koupepia are Cypriot dolmades cooked in tomato sauce

You can make them with pork, lamb, beef, veal, chicken or turkey mince or a mixture of both.

During Lent we make them vegan, only with rice or rice with vegetables and they are called Dolmades Gialantzi. You can also find tinned dolmades gialantzi in supermarkets but they taste, nothing like the homemade ones.

Instead of adding water to cook them, if you have homemade vegetable, chicken or turkey stock it&rsquos a great addition as it adds lots of flavour to the dolmades.

I always use fresh vine leaves which I buy during Spring when they are very tender and preserve them. See How to Preserve Vine Leaves and have them all year round.

Chef´s Choice – Cypriot Recipes – Stuffed Vine Leaves (Koupepia/Dolmades)

Dolma is a family of stuffed vegetable dishes common in the Middle East and surrounding regions including the Balkans, the Caucasus, Russia, Central Asia. Common vegetables to stuff include tomato, pepper, onion, zucchini, eggplant, and garlic. The stuffing may or may not include meat. Meat dolmades are generally served warm, meatless ones are generally served cold.

Here we present a meat version.


fresh vine leaves (or packet of frozen vine leaves or jar of vine leaves in brine)

1/2 kg minced pork or lamb or beef

1 cup ripe tomatoes, blended


– Wash the vine leaves and put in boiling water.

– Let them boil for 2 minutes, remove and drain.

– Fry the onion and add the minced meat until it is slightly browned.

– Add the tomato and simmer for 3 minutes, stirring from time to time.

– Take the pan off the heat and add the rest of the ingredients (salt, rice, pepper, cinnamon, mint, half the lemon juice and parsley) and mix.

– Lay out the vine leaves, veins upwards, put 1 tsp of the minced meat mixture on the stalk of each leaf, fold over the sides and roll up tightly.

– Line the bottom of a saucepan with vine leaves and place them closely together in layers.

– Add a little olive oil, the rest of the lemon juice and some water.

– Place a plate on top of the koupepia/dolmades and cook over a low heat for approximately 30 minutes.

Greek Dolmades (Stuffed Vine Leaves)

You may now remove the dolmades from the pan and serve.

If you've tried this recipe please rate it!


Yum, yum, yum. Love your blog!
Now I want to come eat at your

Sorry, but the Greek grape leaves have nothing on the Middle Eastern ones. While they're good, there's something in the spices and way of rolling (tighter and smaller) that the others have, (Dawalli) I prefer the ones with ground lamb too.

Enjoyed your website very much!

I agree! The ME dolmas are richer in flavor with the tomatoes and earthy cumin and other spices. :)

My grandmother made these for me as a child loved them, middle eastern version not so much. No essence of soul hence forth the heavy seasonings.

How much mince should you add?

Should they be served cold or hot?

Authentic dolmades do not have to be spiced up too heavily for flavor. I suppose it is the same principle as taking a flame cooked burger or steak and marinate the hell out of it. Yes, you add different flavor or flavors, but you mask the taste of the grill and flame effect on the meat. Dolmades are simply stuffed with rice, your favorite ground meat, sautéed with onions, garlic, tomato insides and that is it.

Welcome to our blog! Here you can learn how to prepare delicious, traditional Greek dishes from recipes used in the home by local mothers and grandmothers! A lot of them are well-known and others perhaps not so well-known outside Greece. These are all recipes prepared by my wife Maria - she loves cooking and I love eating, so we make a great team!

We live on the island of Corfu in Greece and Maria comes from a family of chefs. Her recipes combine know-how with the simplicity of local, traditional Greek cooking.

These recipes are all for 4- 6 servings (depending on your appetite!) but if anything is left over it can easily be saved for the next day, which is what we do.

There is a Metric Converter towards the bottom of this sidebar if you need it.

  • 120g/4¼oz long-grain rice, cooked
  • 250g/8¾oz minced lamb
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped celery
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 250g/8¾oz preserved, drained vine leaves
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 garlic, cloves sliced
  • 1 lemon, juice only

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

First, make the filling. In a bowl, combine the rice, meat, onion, herbs, celery, salt and pepper. Fold in the tomato purée.

Place one vine leaf on a plate, vein side up. Take a heaped teaspoon of the filling and place in the centre of the leaf near the stem edge. Fold the stem end up over the filling then fold both sides towards the middle and roll up like a small cigar. Don't roll too tightly as the rice will expand.

Line the bottom of a large ovenproof dish with a layer of tomato slices or left over vine leaves. This will prevent the stuffed leaves from sticking to the bottom and burning.

Pack the stuffed leaves in layers on top, pushing small pieces of garlic between them. Sprinkle with lemon juice and add around 150ml/5¼fl oz cold water. Cover with oiled foil.

Place the leaves in the oven for 45 minutes, adding extra water if necessary. Serve.


  • 60-120 ml / ¼-½ cup olive oil*
  • 1 onion, diced finely
  • bunch of spring onions / scallions, diced finely
  • 4 garlic cloves, diced finely
  • 400 g / 2 cups short grain rice (I used paella rice, risotto rice works too)
  • 30 g / 1 oz dill, finely chopped
  • 15 g / ½ oz mint, leaves only – finely chopped
  • 60 g / 2 oz fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • zest of 1 unwaxed lemon + 4-6 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1½ tsp fine salt, more to taste
  • heaped ¼ tsp pepper, to taste
  • a generous grating of nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup capers, chopped (optional)
  • approx. 80 vine leaves in brine**
  • 1 large lemon, sliced into 3 mm slices
  • neutral tasting vegan yogurt or 135 g / 1 cup cashews or 100 g / 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • lemon juice, to taste
  • salt and pepper

Recipe Summary

  • ½ pound ground lamb
  • ½ cup uncooked long grain rice
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon dried currants
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 (16 ounce) jar grape leaves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • juice of one lemon
  • 4 cups hot chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, or as desired

Place ground lamb, rice, 1/4 cups olive oil, mint, currants, pine nuts, salt, pepper, cumin, cinnamon, oregano, and egg in a bowl. Mix together thoroughly with a fork. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Gently unroll and separate grape leaves. Rinse in cold water to remove brine. Drain. Reserve broken or less-than-perfect leaves to line pot.

Place grape leaves on work surface with smooth side down (ribs of leaves up). Place a rounded tablespoon of lamb-rice filling near bottom-center of grape leaf. Fold bottom sections of leaf over mixture, fold over sides, and roll toward the top of the leaf into a firm cylinder. Don't roll too tightly or leaves may burst when rice cooks.

Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil into pot line bottom of pot with 1 or 2 layers of reserved grape leaves. Place dolmas in pot by arranging them along the sides, then working toward the center to cover the bottom. Leave enough space between dolmas to allow for expansion, but close enough to hold their shapes when cooking. If necessary, stack another layer on top of the first so they all fit. Pour in lemon juice and 2 teaspoons olive oil.

Invert a small plate and then a larger plate over the dolmas to weigh them down while they cook and prevent them from shifting. Pour in hot chicken broth. Bring to a simmer, uncovered, over medium-high heat. As soon as liquid is heated through and starting to bubble (2 to 4 minutes), reduce heat to low, cover the pot, and cook 35 minutes. Remove plates and check for doneness. Dolmas should look a bit puffed up, and a fork should pierce them easily. If not quite done, continue cooking without the weights: cover the pot and simmer until rice is tender, 10 to 15 minutes longer.

Meat-stuffed dolmades

These are the best meat dolmades ever and the recipe is from Pseiras Taverna, Nafplion. Fani, the chef, makes this Greek specialty with two types of rice, white which absorbs more liquid and yellow which holds its shape and prevents the stuffing becoming mushy. However, Calrose or short grain rice works well.



Skill level


  • 60 (approx. 240 g) vine leaves, fresh, frozen or vacuum packed in brine
  • 1 kg beef mince
  • 1 large (200 g) red onion, grated
  • ½ bunch dill, finely chopped
  • 1 handful dried spearmint, leaves rubbed between the palms (or 2 tbsp dried mint)
  • 1 cup (200 g) short grain rice (or a mix of yellow and white)
  • 1 tsp salt, or more, to taste
  • 150 ml olive oil
  • ⅓ cup (80 ml) water (approximately)
  • 2 cups fresh tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp (40 g) butter, diced
  • 1 lemon, juiced, or more, to taste
  • crusty bread, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


1. Blanch vine leaves in boiling water for a couple of minutes and then refresh in batches of cold water to cool.

2. Combine mince, onion, dill, dried spearmint, rice, salt, 100 ml olive oil and enough water to bind the mixture.

3. Place the vine leaves on a flat surface with the ribs facing upwards and the stalk end facing towards you. Place a teaspoon of stuffing (varying slightly with the size of the leaf) towards the stalk end of the leaf. Firmly roll the stalk end over leaf, then tuck in the sides and roll up completely. Place seam side down in a large casserole dish. Place close together, in layers, so they don’t unravel.

4. Season with salt and pepper and pour over fresh tomato sauce, ½ cup (125 ml) water (or more if dolmades seem dry) and remaining olive oil. Top with diced butter. Place two dinner plates on top of the dolmades to weigh them down. Cover and cook for about 40 minutes until meat is cooked, or if cooking in a pressure cooker for about 15 minutes.

5. Remove dinner plates, add lemon juice and serve dolmades with cooking liquid poured over as a sauce. Mop up with crusty bread.

• In winter, O Pseiras serve this with avgolemono rather than tomato sauce, made by beating together 3 eggs, 100 ml lemon juice and slowly adding in a cup of sauce removed from the cooking pot. This is then poured back over the dolmades in the pot.


  1. Landers

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  2. Heardind

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  3. Chace

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  4. Trevian

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  5. Dugore

    Big to you thanks for the necessary information.

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