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Dolmades – Ντολμάδες

This recipe is taken from my book, The 3R's - Recipes, Reflections and Reminiscences.  The book is available from and in both paperback and Kindle.

Read more about 'The 3R's' on the dedication page on this website.

I am rather partial to these little parcels, stuffed with herb-flavoured rice.  For variation, I add mince to my stuffing, a great way of using up Kleftico (see Meat, Poultry & Eggs section) leftovers.  Most recipes recommend putting a layer of vine leaves to cover the base of the pan, to prevent the bottom layer of dolmades burning.  I use our own vine leaves, picked from our grape vine in the garden, when the leaves are still young and tender.  With a limited supply from one vine, I don’t tend to have an excess of leaves.  When we stayed on Symi I watched dolmades being prepared outside a taverna in Pedi Bay, they placed a layer of sliced potatoes at the bottom of the pan layering the vine leaf parcels on the top.  I tried this at home; it works well with an added bonus – a tasty dish of potatoes cooked in the tomato sauce.


Before I continue, I am absolutely hopeless in gauging the amount of stuffing needed.  Quantity depends on the size of the vine leaves but don’t worry if you have excess, it won’t be wasted, as I will explain.


Vine leaves - 12, fresh or preserved

Arborio rice - 65g

Leftover Kleftico - 25g, minced

Mint - 1dsp, fresh, chopped

Parsley - 1dsp, fresh, chopped

Dill - 1dsp, fresh, chopped


Ground black pepper

Potatoes - sufficient to cover the bottom of the pan, peeled and sliced

Tomato Puree - 1 dsp

Olive oil - 2 tbsp

Water - to cover


  • Gather all your ingredients together. 

  • If you are using fresh vine leaves, blanch them in boiling water.  Refresh them in cold water before draining. 

  • For preserved leaves, follow the instructions on the packet.

  • Mix the rice, lamb, mint, parsley and dill together to make the stuffing, seasoning with salt and pepper.

  • Arrange the sliced potatoes, to cover the bottom of a heavy based pan.

  • To make the dolmades place about 1 tsp of stuffing on each vine leaf, fold in the sides and roll up tightly.  You may need more stuffing for large leaves.

  • Pack the dolmades tightly together on top of the sliced potatoes.

  • Season with salt and pepper.

  • Sprinkle over any unused stuffing – this will be served with the potatoes.

  • Mix the tomato puree, olive oil and water together and pour over the dolmades.

  • There should be enough liquid to come halfway up the side of the dolmades.

  • Put a plate on top of the dolmades to weigh them down; stopping them opening during the cooking process.  Cook for about 45 mins at a moderate heat, on top of the cooker.


Notes:  When cooked the dolmades can be eaten warm or cold, with the potatoes and any remaining stuffing served as a separate dish.  I usually make a good-sized batch of dolmades and freeze those not eaten immediately.  As we are advised not to reheat previously cooked rice I recommend that frozen dolmades are thawed and eaten as soon as possible, after reaching room temperature.


Serves:  4

Making Dolmades, in my Kitchen

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