greek feast: vegan dolmas (stuffed grape leaves)
Dolmas are stuffed grape leaves, a delicious and satisfying Greek meze, or appetizer. Dolmas are grape leaves stuffed with seasoned rice, though often they are stuffed with lamb as well- vegetarians beware. This vegan version of dolmas features a sweet, flavorful rice that is just as delicious solo as it is stuffed into the grape leaves. Though time consuming, the recipe is easy, and the finished dolmas will last at least a week. Invite some friends over to help you roll and have a Greek feast of your own!
Dolmas (Stuffed Grape Leaves)
2 Tablespoons olive oil + more for garnish
1 cup finely diced onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup finely chopped mushrooms
1½ cups long-grain white rice, rinsed
1 (16-ounce) jar grape leaves
3 Tablespoons tomato paste
2 Tablespoons Zante currants
3 Tablespoons pine nuts
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cumin
¼ cup minced fresh mint
¼ cup lemon juice + more for garnish
Salt and pepper to taste
1 (32-ounce) package vegetable broth + water
- Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Add onion and garlic and sauté until onions are tender – about 2-3 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until browned – about 2-3 minutes.
- Add rice and cook for a minute. Add just enough warm water to barely cover rice.
- Cover with a lid and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 8-10 minutes or until rice is halfway cooked.
- While rice is cooking, remove grape leaves from jar and rinse under warm water. Separate leaves, trim off stems, and set aside.
- Once rice is finished, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Add tomato paste, zante currants, pine nuts, cinnamon, cumin, fresh mint, lemon juice, salt and pepper to rice. Mix well to combine.
- Once rice is cool enough to handle, place one grape leaf on work surface, vein side up. Place 1 Tablespoon rice mixture in the center of the leaf. Gently roll the back of the leaf over the filling, fold in each side and continue to roll away from you. Repeat until all of rice mixture is used- you may have extra leaves.
- Place a steamer basket in a large pot. Pour vegetable broth in pot and add just enough water to have liquid right below steamer basket. Layer dolmas in steamer basket – it’s ok to stack them on top of each other. Cover and simmer on low for 40 – 45 minutes or until rice is cooked.
- Carefully remove dolmas and let cool. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and fresh lemon juice. Enjoy!
Yields: 40-42 Dolmas
Check out more photos from this cooking class and others at Down to Earth (Hawaii).