Eva’s Delicious Dolmathes (Stuffed Grapevine Leaves)

This video along with the last two, were created without the use of a tripod (all 3 were recorded on the same day). We learned our lesson and got a tripod. Sorry for any shaky hands :)

Dolmathes, also known as stuffed grapevine leaves, are a Greek specialty. There are many different variations of this dish, depending on the region of Greece. Some prepare it with an avgolemono (egg and lemon) sauce, others prefer a tomato sauce. Some Greeks cook the dolmathes in a pan in the oven, while others prefer to cook the dolmathes on the stovetop. In this recipe Eva shows us her unique way of preparing this classic Greek dish.

For the Dolmathes:

  • ½ pound of ground beef
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • ¼ cup of chopped parsley
  • ¼ cup of chopped mint
  • 1/3 cup of chopped dill or anise
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • ½ cup of washed and strained uncooked rice
  • 1 tsp of sea salt
  • 1 tsp of black pepper
  • 20-30 grapevine leaves

For the lemon sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon of flour
  • Juice of half a lemon

To begin you need to blanch your grapevine leaves. Some grocery stores sell jars of preserved grapevine leaves, but if you are using fresh leaves you need to blanch them by placing them in a pot of boiling water for about 2-3 minutes then rise with cold water and pat dry.

In a large bowl mix together the ground beef, onion, parsley, mint, anise, egg, olive oil, lemon juice, rice, and salt and pepper.

Once you have mixed these ingredients well you may begin rolling your dolmathes. Place your grapevine leaves face down (smooth side down) on your countertop. Place a ½ teaspoon of mixture at the top of the leaf and roll the leaf by folding in the sides and rolling downwards. Roll the leaves tightly. Repeat until all the mixture has been used up. After you have finished rolling all of the dolmathes, pour about 1 teaspoon of the olive oil in a medium size pot and place your dolmathes (with the seam side down) in the pot. Put the pot on medium heat and let it cook for 2-3 minutes.

In another small pot, bring 2-3 cups of water to a boil. After the water has come to a boil pour it over your dolmathes. Place a small heat-proof plate over your dolmathes and close the lid. Turn the heat down to a light-to-medium heat and let it cook for about 45 minutes. Once it has cooked, remove the dolmathes from the pot and place on a serving plate. Be sure to keep any remaining juice to make the sauce.

To prepare the lemon sauce, mix 1 tablespoon of flour with half a cup of water. Add the juice of half a lemon to the leftover dolmathes juice. Add the flour mixture to this and whisk the mixture well. Let it come to a boil for 1-2 minutes until it thickens. Strain the mixture as you pour it over the dolmathes. Garnish with lemon wedges and serve!

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48 Responses to “Eva’s Delicious Dolmathes (Stuffed Grapevine Leaves)”

  • Glad you liked it. We’re going to put out another dolmathes recipe soon. This one doesn’t use the egg-lemon sauce; it’s more of a Cypriot version.

  • Wow! I just stumbled across your videos and I’m so impressed.
    I have a middle eastern background, but no experience cooking my grandparent’s foods.
    So, thank you for teaching me, and blessing the lives of my family.

    Patti Rokus

  • Jesse from Sacramento

    Eva, outstanding! Hosted a little greek dinner party, dolmathes were a hit. Excellent flavor, BUT a greek friend of mine recommended adding a little tomato sauce too, which I did. PERFECT! Thanks for sharing the recipe.


  • Outstanding grapeleaves, next I’m making the spanakopita (spinach pie). I’m having a large group over for dinner and need to make the pie ahead of time and freeze it. May I mix all the ingredients together, place in the dish, cover with pastry and freeze. What would you recommend?

  • Hi Carolyn, you can definitely prepare the spanakopita ahead of time and just freeze it. When you are ready to serve it, simply place it in a preheated oven (don’t thaw it) and allow it to bake until golden.

  • Can your Dolmathes be made ahead of time and frozen for 4 days? What would be the process, and how should they be reheated?

  • dolmathes are actually derived from “dolma”, which is still cooked in any land previously occupied by the ottomans or somehow had interacted with them. actually “dolma” means “stuffed thing” in turkish. it can be found almost in any restaurant or locanda in turkey. even in sweden they cook “kaldolmar”, which is almost the same except for that cabbages are used for stuffing and wrapping.

    anyway, thanks a lot for the recipe.

  • The recipe calls for either dill or anise but these are two wildly different flavors – anise being sort of like licorice and dill being, well, dill.

    Which one did you actually use? I’m leaning toward using dill as I’ve never tasted anise in any dolmathes I’ve ever had.

    Thanks for the great site!

  • Never mind… I used dill and it was great. I did find, however, that the mixture was too heavy on rice for my tastes so (in the middle of making) I added an additional 3/4lb of meat. Perfect.

    BTW for those buying grape leaves in a jar: The ones I found at Kroger sucked. I threw away almost the entire jar because they were so small. A jar of “Orlando” brand grape leaves from a middle eastern grocery were consistently big enough and easy to handle.

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