$7.99 RECIPE / $0.80 SERVING
Dolmas or Stuffed Grape Leaves are among my favorite dishes to eat in Mediterranean restaurants.
I’ve never attempted to make dolmas at home because I believed it would be difficult and grape leaves are quite expensive.
Since I have a week-long break between semesters, I challenged myself to make them determine if they were truly that pricey.
The result? Very affordable and simple to prepare! The most difficult phase was unrolling the grape leaf “cigar” from the container. The flavor was perfect.
They were exactly the tangy, herby tiny bundles of bliss that I get from the restaurant. Sure, my rolling skill leaves something to be desired, but who cares once they’re in your mouth?
There are numerous types of dolmas, some with meat and some without. I normally order vegetarian while dining out, so I did so here as well.
Emeril Lagasse’s recipe seemed the most similar to what I’ve had in the past, so I chose to use it after reviewing a large number of recipes.
Obviously, I made a few adjustments to match my economical requirements. First, I eliminated the pine nuts and golden raisins due to their high cost.
In the future, when I have more discretionary income, I will surely give them a try. In addition, I reduced the amount of olive oil because, once again, it is expensive.
As expected, the final product was still pretty oily, so reducing the olive oil did not appear to be detrimental. I continued to use fresh mint because it is vital to this recipe.
I used only about a quarter of the $1.99 pack and will freeze the remainder. Mint is wonderful in both iced tea and water… or maybe I’ll make some mint juleps!
TRY OUT THESE ORIGINAL DOLMA RECIPES
Due to the fact that the recipe below has been modified for my kitchen, please refer to the authentic recipes listed below. You may learn some interesting things about the history and culture behind this delectable dish:
- Iraqi Dolmafrom Hungry Paprikas
- Greek Dolmades Recipe from My Greek Dish
- The Best Dolma Recipe from Seven Spice Life (Youtube)
Oh, by the way, you can eat these on their own, but they are INCREDIBLE when dipped in Tzatziki.
DOLMAS (STUFFED GRAPE LEAVES)
- 1 jar of 40 each grape leaves ($5.99)
- 1 medium yellow onion ($0.25)
- 4 cloves of garlic ($0.24)
- 4 Tbsp olive oil, divided ($0.20)
- 1 1/2 cups long-grain rice, uncooked ($0.45)
- 6 Tbsp lemon juice, divided ($0.32)
- 1 tsp salt ($0.05)
- 2 Tbsp 1-2 sprigs fresh mint, minced ($0.49)
- The yellow onion and garlic should be diced finely. Cook them in a skillet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium/low heat until transparent and tender. They were transferred to a mixing dish to chill.
- Add the sauteed onions and garlic to a mixing bowl along with the rice, mint, salt, and 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) of lemon juice. Combining ingredients thoroughly by stirring.
- Unroll the grape leaves gently and set them flat on a clean surface (3 or 4 at a time). Place 1 tsp to 1 tbsp (depending on the size of the leaf) of the rice mixture near the base of the leaf, around where the stem would attach. The grape leaves are rolled by first folding the bottom up, then the right and left sides in, and then rolling to the top (see photos below). Do not roll too tightly, as the rice will expand when the dolmas are cooked. Continue filling and rolling each grape leaf in this manner.
- As you roll the grape leaves, set them seam-side down in the bottom of a broad saucepan (see photos below). If you fill the pot’s bottom with a single layer of ingredients and still have extra, you can begin a second layer.
- Pour the remaining olive oil and lemon juice over the Dolmas in the saucepan. Fill with water until the dolmas are slightly submerged. Place a large plate or dish on top of the Dolmas to prevent them from unraveling while they are boiling. Reduce the heat and cook the rice until it is tender (about 30-40 minutes). Add more water if necessary. After cooking, take the Dolmas from the saucepan with care. Reserve any leftover liquid to be poured over refrigerated Dolmas.
- Serving: 1 Serving
- Calories: 168.54 kcal
- Carbohydrates: 26.23 g
- Protein: 2.91 g
- Fat: 5.95 g
- Sodium: 694.43 mg
- Fiber: 2.24 g
HOW TO MAKE Dolmas(STUFFED GRAPE LEAVES) – STEP BY STEP
- In olive oil, soften the onions and garlic until translucent and transparent.
- Allow the onions and garlic to slightly cool, then combine them with the uncooked rice, 1/4 cup of lemon juice, salt, and minced fresh mint.
- Unravel the grape leaves carefully from the jar; they will be densely piled and wrapped into “cigars.” Place a small amount of rice at the base of each and roll…
- To roll the grape leaves, first put the bottom of the leaf over the rice filling, then fold in the sides, and finally roll the leaf all the way to the top. Left to right, the steps are displayed. The rice must have room to expand, so do not roll tightly.
- Place the Dolmas seam-side down and close together in the bottom of a pot. If necessary, add a second layer. Add an additional 2 tablespoons of olive oil and lemon juice. Cover the dolmas with sufficient water.
- To prevent the dolmas from unraveling while boiling, place a heavy plate, dish, or inverted lid on top of them. My dinner plates were too large to fit in the pot, so I used a tiny plate for the center, a glass cover for the dolmas around the edge, and the third plate on top of the lid to secure it. As the water came to a boil, steam became trapped under the lid and lifted it, indicating that it was not holding the Dolmas down. The problem was resolved by adding a plate on top!
- Rice must be soft when grape leaves are boiled (30-40 min). Serve the Dolmas warm, at room temperature, or cold, and be sure to have some Tzatziki on hand for dipping!