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Herb and Rice stuffed Dolmas

Stuffed grape leaves with lentils, oregano and mint preparation




Ηands on

Dolmas are typical during Sarakostì, the 40 Day lent that precedes Greek Easter. Several countries have dolma variations in their cuisine, while the core wine leaf & rice combination dates back to 400 BC! Here we share a more recent – herb-scented version via @recordsintheden. They require time, but they keep well in the fridge, and make a great snack for the week.



In a bowl, add the rice and fill with warm water until covered. Let it soak.

Add a generous dash of Extra Virgin olive oil in a pan and sauté the onion on medium-low heat. Season with salt and pepper and cook until translucent, about 8 mins.

Cut the tomatoes in half and grate on the large-holed box grater. Transfer the pulp and juices to the bowl. Roughly dice any tomato skin that wasn’t grated and add to the bowl.

For the rice filling, add the chopped dill and mint, tomato paste, and dried herbs to the bowl with the tomato, and season with salt and pepper. Drain the rice and add it to the bowl. Add the onion and mix everything with a spoon.

Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F.

Prep a large baking dish with a generous glug of Extra Virgin olive oil. 
Prep your workspace by having the bowl of rice filling, baking dish for the dolmas and your grape leaves. On your clean work surface/cutting board, start rolling the leaves.  Assuming your leaves are coming from a jar, gently take them out of the jar one bunch at a time, give a gentle squeeze to expel extra liquid, and one by one start to unwrap them as you fill them.

To fill, place the leaves vein-side up, and add ~2 tsps of the filling (depending on the size of the leaf) just above the bottom of the leaf stem where you can see it was cut.  Do not overfill as you will be unable to roll the dolma and remember, rice expands!

Starting with the bottom of the leaf, fold the leaves up from the bottom and then the sides, rolling the leaf into itself and pulling in the sides until you reach the top of the leaf, at which point the top section will act to seal the dolma. Place the wrapped dolma ‘face down’ in the baking dish. Take another leaf and repeat.
You want to pack the dolmas in the dish relatively tight. Don’t be afraid of this; if they are not packed well they may open during cooking and you’ll end up with rice and grape leaf stew.


When the rolling is complete, pour a generous swig of Extra Virgin olive oil over the dolmas & add water just to cover them. Take a plate or a large piece of foil; if using the plate, place it on top of the dolmas, if using the foil gently fold it into the baking dish and wrap the sides inward.  The point here is to put lightweight on the dolmas to prevent them from opening during cooking.

Cover the entire baking dish with foil and cook for 20 mins. Then remove the inner foil or plate, and discard any top-lying liquid with a spoon. Bake for another ~5 mins.  At this point, you can check the dolma by carefully removing one to see if the rice is soft, which it should be.

Let cool down to warm/room temperature. Serve alone, or yogurt topped with with Smoked Chili Flakes. Enjoy!




~35 grape leaves (jarred)
⅔ cups Arborio or Calrose rice
1 small yellow onion, diced
½ large bunch of dill, finely chopped
½ large bunch of mint, finely chopped
2 medium-sized ripe tomatoes
1 generous tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp Wild Thyme Flowers, rubbed with dry fingers
1 tbsp Greek Oregano
1 tbsp Sweet Marjoram
Extra Virgin olive oil
Sea salt & pepper


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