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Greek Dolmates Rolled in Grape Vine Leaves

Course Appetizer
Cuisine Greek
Author Valerie Lugonja


  • 1 kilo know-your-farmer ground beef (or pork, or lamb), not too lean
  • 4-6 large , plump cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ medium onion , minced (½ cup)
  • 2 generous tablespoons of fresh dill , minced
  • ¾ cup rice
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ teaspoon salt (leaves are salty)
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • large jar of preserved grapevine leaves


  1. Unwrap grapevine leaves and rinse under cold water; place in colander and drain
  2. Place all, except leaves, in large bowl; knead gently to incorporate
  3. Wrap meat in leaves as per the instructions accompanying above photos, OR
  4. Place leaf, inside up and stem down on board; place meatball size portion of filling on leaf
  5. Fold leaf around filling; tuck ends in with thumb and middle finger while holding roll with other hand
  6. Cover bottom of heavy pan with grape vine leaves (hopefully damaged ones)
  7. Place rolled dolmates seam-side down on leaves on bottom of pan, close together; layer
  8. Fill pot with water to just cover dolmate layers; bring the water to a boil, then turn heat down to simmer
  9. Simmer with lid ajar for two hours, or until cooked; cool completely
  10. Serve immediately on tray with Tzitziki, or
  11. Layer into serving dish, cover with cooking liquid, place extra leaves on top for reheating, or freezing

Recipe Notes

I sometimes freeze rolls separately on parchment covered cookie sheet overnight, then transfer to labelled and dated ziplock bags, depending upon what I am making them for. Usually I load them into casserole dishes and freeze them until needed for buffets or potlucks. I always serve some immediately, with tzitziki, of course!