Dolmas are a healthy and delicious finger food to take to a picnic or to add to a collection of mezedhes spread around the table.
They’re popular in Middle Eastern cuisine, as well as in Turkey and Greece. As is the way with dishes native to a broad area of the world, the name of the dish can vary – so don’t be confused when you see them also referred to as dolmeh or dolmades!
Dolmas means ‘stuffed’, and can mean stuffed grape leaves, stuffed peppers, or stuffed eggplant. Today we’re going to focus on the grape leaf variety, which are rolled and filled with rice and sometimes meat.
So I’ve brought together some of the best dolma recipes from around the web, with some tips from the makers themselves. Enjoy!
#1. Vegetarian Stuffed Grape Leaves by Samantha @ The Little Ferraro Kitchen
My mom was adamant on washing the grape leaves very well, separating each leave so it wasn’t to briny and she always made it a point to take off the little stem. My mom likes her grape leaves thinner and longer and I prefer them a bit shorter and fuller. Either way, have fun with it and make them with a group of people, it’s more fun and less work!
#2. Stuffed Grape Leaves by Fae @ Fae Magazine
Place of origin, Ottoman/Turkish, dolma (Iranian dolmeh) means ‘stuffed thing’, usually hollowed vegetables/fruits. Stuffing wrapped leaves such as grape leaves or cabbage leaves are called sarma, although no distinction is made and all stuffed foods are now called dolma/dolmeh. Dolmeh stuffing are made with meat or meatless. For meatless version, raisins, currants, nuts and legumes are added.
#3. Dolmeh’ye Barg’e Mo by Najwa @ Delicious Shots
My one piece of advice would be to not roll the leaves too tight. There has to be enough room for the rice to cook and expand.
#4. Dolmeh Barg by Homa @ Persian Mama
This is a vegetarian Azeri/Persian recipe for stuffed grape leaves, or dolmeh barg. Place the fresh or pickled grape leaf with the the smooth side down on a plate. Place a spoonful of the filling of grains, split peas, fresh herbs and spices in the center of the leaf. Fold the 4 corners of the leaf up and overlap to cover the filling tightly. Arrange the stuffed dolmeh folded side down in the bottom of a nonstick pot without leaving any space between them.
#5. Stuffed Grape Leaves: Beef and Pomegranate Dolmeh by Laura @ Family Spice
The main tip I can give with rolling out the dolmeh is to resist the temptation to overstuff (use too much filling). You also want to tug the leaf and stretch it a little bit, but not too much to tear the leaf. It takes some practice, but easy to figure out. You can also stuff cabbage leaves, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions.. lots of options!
#6. Persian Dolmeh Bargeh Mo by Anisa @ I Accidently Ate The Whole Thing
These stuffed grape leaves are so freakin’ delicious you won’t be able to resist licking your fingers/bowl/spoon/pot etc etc throughout the entire cooking process. Although a tad time consuming, they’re fairy easy to make and truly worth every ounce of effort – healthy and seriously satisfying.
#7. Dolmeh Barge Mo by Caroline @ Caroline’s Cooking
When you are ready to wrap them all, it’s often easiest to make a big line on your counter and do a bunch one after the other as you then get in the swing of things and you can place them in next to each other in your pan as they are done so they hold together better than if you do one at a time.
#8. Dolmeh Barge Mo by John @ He Needs Food
Whilst the word ‘dolmeh’ applies to any kind of stuffed vegetable or even grape leaves, I’ve taken the stuffed eggplant and given it a slightly different look. Rather than hollow it out, cut deeply into it and stuff these slashes with the meat filling. What makes it truly delicious is the baharat spice mix I’ve used, as well as that hint of garlic and flavourful crumbled cheese.
#9. Dolmeh Felfel by Ahu @ Ahu Eats
Set aside a Sunday afternoon to make this classic Persian dish and you will be rewarded with an amazing smelling kitchen and a wonderful meal at the end. The Dolmeh Felfel are bell peppers stuffed with a flavorful mixture of beef, rice, lentils and herbs simmered in an addictive saffron-lime sauce.
#10. Stuffed Grape Leaves by Esperance @ Mama’s Lebanese Kitchen
For best results, use freshly picked grape leaves. If not available, look for canned grape leaves with the least amount of preservatives
When rolling the leaves, roll them very tightly and pack them in the cooking pot tightly as well. If they’re too large or rolled loosely they may likely break open during cooking.
The tangier, the better. Be generous with the lemon juice!
Do you have any tips for making dolmas? Let us know in the comments below!