Lemony Greek Dolmathes with Toasted Pine Nuts

I’ve always loved grape leaf dolma…Middle Eastern style, that is! I used to think that I disliked Greek dolmathes. Our family spent three months in Greece when I was nine years old, while waiting for our papers to immigrate to the U. S. I have a vague memory of trying dolmathes and disliking them.

What stands out in my memory more was mom’s reaction to the “canned dolmathes” smothered in olive oil that my dad proudly brought to our hotel room. After one bite, my mom declared that Greeks did not know how to make dolma, and threw the whole can in the trash!

Fast forward to a few years ago, when I went to Napa Valley with my sister, niece, and daughter. We were on a winery tour when our Middle Eastern tour guide served us some delicious dolmathes for lunch. They had a very distinct lemony flavor, with a hint of dill. I think even mom would have approved! This is my attempt at recreating that recipe.




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Lemony Greek Dolmathes with Toasted Pine Nuts
dolmathes with yogurt
Cuisine Greek
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 90 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Cuisine Greek
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 90 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
dolmathes with yogurt
Instructions
  1. Soak the rice in cold water and set aside.
    dolmathes
  2. To prepare the grape leaves, see note on the bottom of the page.
  3. Drain the soaking rice and add to a large mixing bowl. Add the dill, mint, onion, scallions, and parsley. Toast pine nuts in a pan, if using, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Add the toasted pine nuts to the bowl with the other ingredients.​
    pine nuts
  4. ​Mix lemon juice and olive oil and whisk in the salt and pepper.
    dressing
  5. Pour half of this mixture over the ingredients in the bowl and mix to combine. ​​
    dolmathes mix
  6. Add a few large grape leaves on the bottom of a 8.5”x12” baking dish.
    leaves
  7. Place grape leaves bumpy side up, on a plate or cutting board. I like to do five at a time. Next, add approximately 2 teaspoons of rice mixture in the center of each grape leaf. This amount is approximate, and will depend on the size of leaf being used. Larger leaves will require more mix and smaller less… obvious, right? Use the pictures below as a guide on how to roll the leaves. Or if you’re a boss, like my mom was, just roll them in the palm of your hand!
    rice mixture
  8. dolmathes
  9. rolling dolmathes
  10. dolmathes
  11. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place rolled dolmathes in tight rows in the prepared baking dish until you fill the entire dish.
    rolled dolmathes
  12. Sprinkle some additional dill on the dolmathes. Use up the remaining mixture to add a second layer over the first, and sprinkle with dill. Mix one cup of hot water into the remaining oil and lemon juice, being thorough, because the salt and pepper will have settled to the bottom. Pour this mixture over the dolmathes, making sure you distribute the liquid evenly over the entire pan.
    dolmathes
  13. Cover tightly with foil and place in a pre-heated oven. Bake for one hour and thirty minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving, or they will fall apart when you handle them. Serve with a side of yogurt, mixed with dill and a few cloves of garlic.​
    dolma
Recipe Notes
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