Vegetable Dolmades


This mouthwatering vegtable dumpling recipe is from Jim Botsacos's "The New Greek Cuisine."


  • ¼ cup dried currants

  • ¼ cup plus ½ teaspoon olive oil

  • 1 ¼ cups finely chopped white onion

  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • ¼ cup pine nuts

  • ¼ cup sliced almonds

  • 1 ½ cups finely chopped yellow bell pepper

  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 ½ cups short-grain white rice such as Arborio

  • 5 cups homemade or low-sodium, canned store-bought vegetable stock

  • 1 ¼ cups finely chopped, seeded plum tomatoes

  • cup chopped fresh mint

  • cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

  • 5 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 32 brine-packed California grape leaves, stems removed, plus about another 14 to line baking dish, rinsed and well drained

  • Yogurt-Garlic Sauce


  1. Place currants in a small heatproof bowl and add enough water to cover. Set aside to plump for about 15 minutes.

  2. Place a medium skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil, onion, and a pinch of salt. Cook stirring occasionally until translucent, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 2 minutes. Do not let garlic and onion brown.

  3. Stir in pine nuts and almonds and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Add bell pepper and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Stir in cinnamon; season with salt and pepper to taste.

  4. Add rice and stir until the rice is well coated with oil, about 1 minute. Add 1 cup stock and cook, stirring constantly, until the rice has absorbed the stock, about 7 minutes. Stir in another 2 cups of stock until well blended, then fold in tomatoes.

  5. When the stock has reduced by two-thirds and the rice is still very firm (not quite al dente), drain the currants and fold them into the rice. Remove skillet from the heat and fold in mint, parsley, and 2 tablespoons of remaining olive oil, tossing to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper.

  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill a large bowl with ice and water. Set aside.

  7. Fill a large pot with cold water. Add a tablespoon of salt along with 3 tablespoons lemon juice and place over high heat. Bring to a boil and then add grape leaves, 3 or 4 at a time, cook for 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer grape leaves to the ice-water bath to stop the cooking. Then transfer to a double layer of paper towel to drain. Pat dry. Repeat process until all grape leaves have been cooked.

  8. Line the bottom of a large baking dish with a single layer of grape leaves (about 7). Set aside.

  9. Working with one grape leaf at a time, place the leaf rib side up on a flat surface. Neatly remove the stem if necessary. Place 1 teaspoon of the cooled rice mixture near the bottom (the widest part of the leaf). Fold the bottom up over the rice filling and then fold each side in and over to cover. Begin rolling the leaf over the filling to make a tight, neat roll. Place the finished roll into the grape-leaf lined dish, seam side down. Continue making dolmades until you have 32, packing them tightly into the baking dish so that the rolls will stay together.

  10. Combine remaining 2 cups stock, remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and pour the hot stock over the dolmades in the baking dish.

  11. Cover the dolmades with a single layer of grape leaves (another 7). Then place another smaller baking dish inside the pan to hold the dolmades firmly in place. Place the baking dish in the oven and bake until leaves are tender and filling is cooked through, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven immediately drain off all liquid and discard.

  12. When cool, remove the top layer of grape leaves and place the dolmades on a serving platter if serving immediately. Alternatively, place in a covered container and refrigerate until ready to use. Serve at room temperature with yogurt-garlic sauce.

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