Stuffed Grape Leaves Dolma

Dolmades with lemon slices on the top in a pot.

5 from 1 reviews

Grape leaves stuffed with a spicy vegetarian rice filling. These are best when cooled and with extra lemon juice.



To Stuff Grape Leaves:

  • 2 cups rice, rinsed well
  • 1 cup tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cups onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried mint
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sumac
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2/3 cup olive oil plus 1/4 cup for drizzling the stuffed leaves
  • 1 lemon, squeezed
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 pound grape leaves
  • 1 and 3/4 cups water

Tomato Sauce For serving:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint (or fresh mint)
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice


Stuffing Grape Leaves:

  1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except grape leaves, 1/4 cup olive oil and water.
  2. If you have grape leaves in brine, you don’t need to do any work on them,  just wash them well to remove excessive salt. If you have fresh grape leaves, blanch them in boiling water for 3-4 minutes. Transfer into cold water and drain.
  3. Cut off the stems of the leaves. (See the video)
  4. Place a leaf on a cutting board or on a plate, shiny side down. Place about 1 tablespoon of the rice filling near the end of the leaf, fold and roll it up. (Please see it in the pictures above or watch the video to see how).
  5. Place stuffed and rolled grape leaves into a pan either leaving the centre of the pan empty or in rows without leaving any space at the bottom of the pan.
  6. If there is any leftover filling, put it in a cup or glass, place it into the centre (you can see it in the video) so that it is cooked at the same time with the leaves or freeze it for later use. If there is no leftover, just skip this step. But you can still place the rolls in the pot in the same way.
  7. Pour 1 and 3/4 cups water and 1/4 cup olive oil over the rolls.
  8. Cook covered over the lowest heat for about 45 minutes or until the rice inside the rolls is cooked.
  9. Cool completely before serving.
  10. Squeeze lemon over it.

Tomato Sauce For Serving:

  1. Heat olive oil in a small saucepan over low heat. 
  2. Add in tomato paste and dried mint, cook for about a minute. 
  3. Add in diced tomatoes, minced garlic and lemon juice. Cook until tomatoes are soft, about 10 minutes.
  4. Pour this sauce over the stuffed grape leaves before serving. 


You don’t have to cook the leftover filling in the same pot as seen in the video. It is just the easy and quick way of cooking it. You can freeze it for a later use.


Keywords: stuffed grape leaves, dolma, yaprak sarma