In this recipe, grape leaves are stuffed with beef, rice, onion, tomato, garlic, herbs, and more.

3 dozen

Our Dolmas recipe is the ultimate appetizer or side dish. To make it, grape leaves are stuffed with long-grain rice, beef, onion, and garlic and flavored with a myriad of herbs (including mint), spices (like cumin), salt and pepper, and lemon juice.

One jar of grape leaves will provide more than enough for this recipe. Discard any that are torn or blemished.


  • 1 large tomato

  • 45 grape leaves, packed in brine (from one 16-ounce jar)

  • 8 ounces ground beef

  • cup uncooked long-grain rice

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

  • cup chopped fresh mint

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt

  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

  • 1 ½ cups homemade or low-sodium store-bought chicken stock

  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges, for serving


  1. Blanch and peel tomatoes:

    Fill a large bowl with ice water. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Score stem end of tomato with an X. Add to water, and cook for 5 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer tomato to ice-water bath. Using your fingers, peel tomato, then cut in half. Discard seeds, and chop finely.

  2. Rinse and soak grape leaves:

    Rinse the stack of grape leaves under cold water, and transfer to a bowl. Cover the leaves with cold water by 2 inches, and let stand for 10 minutes. Drain.

  3. Combine beef and other ingredients:

    In a bowl, combine beef, rice, onion, garlic, herbs, oil, lemon juice, cumin, salt, pepper, and chopped tomato.

  4. Stuff and roll grape leaves:

    Carefully separate grape leaves. Place 1 on a work surface, vein side up and stem end close to you. Cut off stem. Place 1 heaping tablespoon meat mixture on center of bottom half of leaf. Fold up stem end of leaf to cover mixture, and fold in sides. Roll tightly using rest of leaf. Repeat for a total of 36 dolmas.

  5. Simmer over medium heat:

    Place rolls, seam side down, in a large saucepan in a single snug layer. Add stock to cover, and arrange remaining 9 grape leaves over the top. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Place a heatproof plate directly on dolmas to keep them submerged. Cover saucepan with a lid, and simmer until cooked through, about 20 minutes.

  6. Transfer to plate and refrigerate:

    Transfer dolmas to a plate, and let cool 15 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 hours (or overnight).

  7. Serve:

    Serve cold or at room temperature with a drizzle of oil, and place lemon wedges on the side.

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