Traditional Greek Vegan Dolmades with vine leaves, rice & lots of spring herbs! They are delicious, naturally gluten free and vegan. Ideal for an appetizer as well as a main meal.

They require a little patience in their wrapping but you will be rewarded in every bite!

Somewhere I read: ” Little bites of heaven!” and I think that describes them perfectly.

Usually we cooked on spring, because that’s when the most tender vine leaves come out, which are removed from the vines so that the sun can reach the grapes. Also in the spring are fresh all these wonderful herbs: spring onions, dill, spearmint, oregano.

For winter, however, you will buy fresh vine leaves at spring and put them either in the freezer or in a jar with citric acid to preserve them. Of course, you can always buy ready-made jars of vine leaves that are available in the market, which you will wash very well and scald them a little more than the fresh ones. You will use plenty onions and you will put whatever herbs you find fresh, otherwise you will use dried ones but believe me, they will also turn out amazing and delicious.

They are delicious and I always make a double batch of dolmades and there are never any leftovers. It requires, as I said, a little patience in wrapping, so when I cook them, I share them with friends and family, just as anyone who cooks them also shares them with me. In the recipe, here I share with you all the secrets I know.


Yields50 ServingsDifficultyBeginner

Prep Time40 minsCook Time40 minsTotal Time1 hr 20 mins

Tip: Check off the ingredients you have used in the recipe or note the ingredients you have and add the rest to you shopping list to buy them. - Attention: All ingredients  must be checked that are Gluten-Free and without traces of gluten.

 400 g vine leaves fresh at spring time or leaves in a jar with brine for the winter (400g is about 50-60 leaves)
 400 g Carolina rice
 250 g spring onions or normal onions for winter time
 50 g fresh dill
 10 g fresh spearmint (or more because it considers that has digestive properties)
 15 g fresh oregano or half the amount for dry oregano
 1 tbsp salt
 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  cup cup oil (my grandmother used 3 times this amount)
 1 lemon, its juice only

Abbreviations: g=grams kg= kilograms cup=250 ml tsp= teaspoon=5 ml  tbsp= tablespoon=3 tsp=15 ml ml= millilitre= (1ml=0.034 fl oz / 1fl oz=29.6 ml) l=litre/liter=1000ml

1

First you have to soften the vine leaves. In a pot of boiling water, put them straight inside and leave them for 1-2 minutes. Strain them and spread them, with the ribs upwards, to cool.

2

Wash the rice and leave it in lukewarm water while you cutting the vegetables.

3

Finely chop the spring onions, dill, spearmint and oregano with a knife.
- If we use normal onions, it is good to sauté them with a little water in a pan until translucent, so that calm their strong pungent flavor. In this case, at the end we remove the pan with sauté onions from the heat, mix them with the washed and drained rice, cover it with a lid and leave it aside

4

In a bowl, mix the spring onions, herbs, rice after draining it, salt, pepper and about 1/3 of the oil.

5

Now that the leaves have cooled, cut the stalks and keep them aside.

6

In a pot (size of about 4 liters), spread the stalks from vine leaves. You can also put the stalks of spearmint, oregano and if they are not enough, we also put some wooden sticks of skewers. On top lay 4-6 vine leaves, the thickest ones.

7

Place one vine leaf on a flat surface, with its shiny side down, remove any thick veins from the edge of the vine leaf.

8

Put a spoonful of the rice filling in the center.

9

Fold the two sides of the vine leaf inward and then roll up but not too tight so that the rice can bloat without tearing the vine leaf. Also have to be careful with the wrapping so that the filling cannot escape during boiling. Check out the wrap video below.

10

Arrange the dolmades close together, but not tightly, in rows in the pot.

11

Similarly, make the rest of the dolmades until the filling and vine leaves are finished.

12

Pour over them the remaining oil and lemon juice and cover them with an inverted plate to hold them firmly during cooking so that they do not fall apart while cooking.

13

Place a weight on the plate so that the dolmades do not “dance” and unfold. If you also have a stone like I do, even better so that it has weight and does not fall apart.

14

Pour boiling water over them, just enough to cover them and let them boil.

15

As soon as they start to boil, lower the heat and simmer for about 40 Minutes so that they absorb all the water.

16

Remove the pot from the heat and let the dolmades cool down well before removing them from pot. This way they will also absorb all liquids left on the pot.

Ingredients

 400 g vine leaves fresh at spring time or leaves in a jar with brine for the winter (400g is about 50-60 leaves)
 400 g Carolina rice
 250 g spring onions or normal onions for winter time
 50 g fresh dill
 10 g fresh spearmint (or more because it considers that has digestive properties)
 15 g fresh oregano or half the amount for dry oregano
 1 tbsp salt
 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  cup cup oil (my grandmother used 3 times this amount)
 1 lemon, its juice only

Directions

1

First you have to soften the vine leaves. In a pot of boiling water, put them straight inside and leave them for 1-2 minutes. Strain them and spread them, with the ribs upwards, to cool.

2

Wash the rice and leave it in lukewarm water while you cutting the vegetables.

3

Finely chop the spring onions, dill, spearmint and oregano with a knife.
- If we use normal onions, it is good to sauté them with a little water in a pan until translucent, so that calm their strong pungent flavor. In this case, at the end we remove the pan with sauté onions from the heat, mix them with the washed and drained rice, cover it with a lid and leave it aside

4

In a bowl, mix the spring onions, herbs, rice after draining it, salt, pepper and about 1/3 of the oil.

5

Now that the leaves have cooled, cut the stalks and keep them aside.

6

In a pot (size of about 4 liters), spread the stalks from vine leaves. You can also put the stalks of spearmint, oregano and if they are not enough, we also put some wooden sticks of skewers. On top lay 4-6 vine leaves, the thickest ones.

7

Place one vine leaf on a flat surface, with its shiny side down, remove any thick veins from the edge of the vine leaf.

8

Put a spoonful of the rice filling in the center.

9

Fold the two sides of the vine leaf inward and then roll up but not too tight so that the rice can bloat without tearing the vine leaf. Also have to be careful with the wrapping so that the filling cannot escape during boiling. Check out the wrap video below.

10

Arrange the dolmades close together, but not tightly, in rows in the pot.

11

Similarly, make the rest of the dolmades until the filling and vine leaves are finished.

12

Pour over them the remaining oil and lemon juice and cover them with an inverted plate to hold them firmly during cooking so that they do not fall apart while cooking.

13

Place a weight on the plate so that the dolmades do not “dance” and unfold. If you also have a stone like I do, even better so that it has weight and does not fall apart.

14

Pour boiling water over them, just enough to cover them and let them boil.

15

As soon as they start to boil, lower the heat and simmer for about 40 Minutes so that they absorb all the water.

16

Remove the pot from the heat and let the dolmades cool down well before removing them from pot. This way they will also absorb all liquids left on the pot.

Vegan, Gluten Free Greek Dolmades – Stuffed Vine/Grape Leaves Rolls
  • Accompany them with strained Greek yogurt or tzatziki.
  • You rinse the rice to remove the starch and keep it plump.
  • The vine leaves that are usually used are the first ones that come out in the spring and are usually cut them out (thinned) to allow sunlight to reach out the grapes. And these first ones are usually not sprinkled with chemicals because the grapes haven’t come out yet.
  • Fresh spring vine leaves are more tender and need less or no soften by boiling water. But you must be sure that they have not been sprinkled with chemicals. Those that are in a jar, usually need to be soften by boiling water a little longer.
  • You can combine both spring and normal onions. Usually in the summer I only use spring onions that are in abundance and in the winter only normal for greater convenience.
  • They do not need to keep them in fridge unless the weather is very hot.
  • It is an amazing appetizer but for me together with Greek yogurt it is an amazing meal.
  • To make this recipe for Christmas, you add more onions than spring onions and you add pine nuts and raisins! My Godmother used to make that at Christmas period.

Good Luck and Bon Appétit!!!

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