Dolma or also known as sarma, stuffed grape leaves are one of the most popular appetizers in the Mediterranean! They are a bit time consuming so make sure you have an extra pair of hands to help or it could take hours of rolling! I bring in the kids to help, a lot of my friends get together with their moms and aunts and make a whole large pot full! I got stuck making them myself a couple times and it wasn’t fun! Some people are pros at it and can roll so fast….not me! Although it takes time to make them its so worth it!
They taste great and everyone will love them! You can make them with meat or with out, I make both, I prefer meatless. I don’t add too much meat to mine you can add more to it if you like.
These leaves come from my backyard as you will see in the picture, its best to pick them before they get too large, you don’t want the large ones they are tough and chewy. Try to pick them when they are small to medium size.
You can make them with ground lamb or beef or even combine them. Fresh herbs is what brings these dolmas to life! We like the combination of dill, mint, and parsley it makes them taste so good!
What you will need:
- Bag full of leaves (freeze the extra for next time use)
- 1 bunch of dill
- 1 bunch of parsley
- 4 springs of mint
- 2 cups rice
- 1/2 lb ground meat (optional)
- 1 tomato
- 1 onion
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 2 sliced tomatoes for bottom of pan
- Juice of 1 lemon*
- Olive oil
Remove stems from leaves, and bring to a boil in salted water till they change colour and soften takes about 5-10 minutes.
Soak rice in water for the same 10 minutes that the leaves are boiling, and rinse and drain.
Chop tomato, onion, garlic, dill, parsley, and mint, you can blend them in a mini food processor to make it easier on yourself.
Combine with the rice and season with salt and pepper. Add in the raw ground beef and combine. Add sliced tomatoes on the bottom of the pan. Fill with about a tsp of filling and roll grape leaves tightly. Place all the stuffed grape leaves in the pot and cover with water and juice of lemon, season with salt, and drizzle with olive oil, cover and cook on low heat till water is absorbed.
When done, remove from heat and let rest for 1 hour before serving.
Remove gently from pot onto serving dish and drizzle with olive oil and serve with lemon wedges. Enjoy!
* You can use more than 1 lemon if you desire