Stuffed Grape Leaves,

 the actual leaves of the grape vine,was another favorite dish my mom made when I was a child and I still love them.  After we moved from California to the Midwest, I just assumed everyone ate meat stuffed grape leaves,  but I found out very quickly that was not the case. The meat filled leaves can be used for an appetizer, as a side dish, or a main dish paired with rice pilaf and a salad.


1 lb. lean ground beef

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped                                                       Grape Leaves

1/2 cup rice

1 8 oz can of tomato sauce, divided

1/4 cup fresh minced flat leaf parsley, or 2Tbs dried parsley

Juice of 1 lemon, divided

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 jar of grape leaves (usually in the pickle aisle of the grocery store)

1 cup water


First, prepare the Leaves.  Take them out of the jar and thoroughly rinse and remove any stems that still may be attached.  Leave them in a colander until ready to stuff.

For the stuffing, mix together the lean ground beef, onion, rice, half of the tomato sauce, juice of half the lemon, salt and pepper.

To assemble the meat filled grape leaves, take one grape leave with the shiny side down and place a small amount of the meat mixture in the middle of the leaf.  Fold in the sides and roll up.  Place the stuffed grape leaf in a medium pan with a few stuffed leaves, enough to cover the bottom.  Continue to stuff the remaining leaves and put in the sauce pan.

To finish, in a small mixing bowl, mix together the water, remaining tomato sauce and the juice of the other half of the lemon.  Pour this over the stuffed leaves.  Make sure they are all covered with the liquid.  Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to low heat.  Cook for about 20 – 30 minutes until the rice is tender and the ground beef is not pink.  Put the  grape leaves plate or serving bowl.

The stuffed leaves are great by themselves, or you can use plain yogurt as a sauce.


Information from Wikipedia.

[Dolma is a family of stuffed vegetable dishes common in the Middle East and surrounding regions including the Balkans, theCaucasus, Russia, Central Asia. Common vegetables to stuff include tomato, pepper, onion, zucchini, eggplant, and garlic. The stuffing may or may not include meat. Meat dolmas are generally served warm, often with egg-lemon or garlic yogurt sauce; meatless ones are generally served cold. Stuffed vegetables are also common in Italian cuisine, where they are named ripieni(“stuffed”).

Dishes of grape or cabbage leaves wrapped around a filling are also called dolma or yaprak dolma (‘leaf dolma’) in many cuisines, or may be distinguished as sarma.

Names and etymology

Dolma, Ottoman Turkish طولمه, is a verbal noun of the Turkish verb dolmak, ‘to be stuffed’, and means ‘stuffed (thing)’. Dolma is a stuffed vegetable, that is, a vegetable that is hollowed out and filled with stuffing. This applies to zucchini, tomato, pepper, eggplant, and the like; stuffed mackerel, squid, and mussel are also called dolma.

Dishes involving wrapping leaves such as vine leaves or cabbage leaves around a filling are called sarma, though in many languages the distinction is usually not made.

Dolma without meat is sometimes called yalancı dolma ‘fake dolma’ in Turkish.

In some countries, the usual name for the dish is a borrowing of dolma, e.g. Armenian  tolˈmɑ,or of yaprak (Turkish ‘leaf’), in others it is a calque, and sometimes the two coexist with distinct meanings:  ‘stuffed grape leaf’ dolmas (for the leaf-wrapped kind) and γεμιστά yemista ‘stuffed’; Kurdish: dolma دۆلمە, yaprakh, یاپراخ. In Aleppo, the word يبرق yabraqrefers to stuffed vine leaves, while محشي maḥshī refers to stuffed cabbage leaves and stuffed vegetables.


The filling generally consists of rice, minced meat or grains. In either case, the filling includes onion, herbs like dill, mint or parsley and spices. Meatless fillings are cooked with olive oil and include raisins or currants, onion, nuts or pulses.



Armenian dolma.

In Armenian cuisine, both wrapped and stuffed dolma are made. Wrapped dolma may use grape or cabbage leaves: tpov tolma  orkaghambi tolma . Stuffed dolma may use eggplants (sometimes parboiled or pre-fried), potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, onions, quince and apples. Stuffings typically include lamb, beef, or pork, or a mixture, combined with rice and herbs such as basil, oregano, or tarragon; sometimes chestnuts and peas are also included. Typical seasonings include coriander, dill, mint, pepper, cinnamon and melted butter. “Lean” dolmapasuts dolma is vegetarian, and made with lentils, red kidney beans, peas, bulgur, fried onions, and tomato paste. Yogurt with crushed garlic is often used as a sauce. Often with the stuffed grape leaves several stuffed vegetables are cooked together.


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