• 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium-sized yellow onions, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups long-grain white rice
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh or dried mint
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 40 vine leaves, preferably fresh, otherwise preserved in brine

Stuffed Vine Leaves

When served as a meze(appetizer), vine leaves are usually simply stuffed with rice, tomatoes and herbs.

Some recipes also call for pine nuts and raisins. As a more substantial main course, minced meat is added to the stuffing and the dolmades are then served with a tangy thick covering of avgolemono sauce.

Enjoy this easy Greek recipe!

Preparation – Filling:

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and saute the onions for 5 to 7 minutes, or until softened. Add the rice and mint and saute for a few more minutes. Season with salt and pepper and stir the mixture well. Allow to cool slightly.

Preparation – Vine Leaves:

If using fresh leaves, blanch each leaf for a few seconds in a saucepan of boiling water, refresh under cold water and drain on a tea towel. If using pickled leaves, place them in a colander, drain off any excess brine, rinse well under warm water and drain on a tea towel. Lay out each vine leaf on a flat surface and place a heaping teaspoon of rice stuffing in the center of each leaf. Do not overstuff, otherwise leaves will split as the rice expands when cooking. Fold the sides of the leaf over the stuffing, then roll tightly into a package. Line a large saucepan with extra vine leaves to stop the dolmades from sticking to the bottom.

Place the dolmades in a circle at the bottom of the saucepan, making sure they are tightly packed. Pack in 2 layers if necessary. Add water to just cover them, and place a weighted plate on top. Simmer for 40 minutes until cooked. Serve either hot or cold with Greek-style yogurt and tomato sauce as dipping sauces.

Servings – 6 to 8

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