Tips for making stuffed Grape Leaves, Dolmades

Dolmades:  is an Arabic term meaning "something stuffed." Dolma (stuffed vegetables) became "Dolmades" in Greece.  Dolmades can be stuffed with a number of things to suit individual tastes. They are sort of like the Greek version of Burritos.

Cultivating grapes takes time…a long time; three to four years, in fact! But once you make the investment to grow grapes, the rewards are endless. Their leaves are an added bonus that Greeks have known about for centuries. My neighbors’ Greek grandparents come to visit every year and they always get their grape leaves from my farm to make Dolmades.

I wanted to know how to make these delicious, healthy appetizers and this is what I found out. Dolmades, are easy and fun to make – but like everything else in the world of grapes, they take some time.

In this video, I show you some prep tactics for making the perfect grape leaves. First it is important to select the perfectly sized grape leaf. The perfect sized leaves for making Dolmades are – medium. The way you can tell if your leaf is medium is that they are a lighter shade of green than the others. The other key to getting the leaves ready for stuffing is blanching them correctly in boiling hot water. Once they are blanched and ready to be stuffed, you prepare a mixture of chopped mint, parsley, onion, lemon juice, cooked rice and meat (or lentils if you're a vegetarian).  Once you have prepared the mixture, you place a spoonful of the mixture in the middle of the leaf, roll it and tuck the sides in. Once you have done that, I suggest that you place them in an oven-safe pan, cover them with a plate and cover it all with a lid so that they are well-insulated. Next you put the pan in the oven at 350 degrees for 30-60 minutes, depending on how many you have.

Dolmades make the perfect appetizer for meat-eating, vegetarian or vegan crowds.  Take a look at the video and then make time for this delicious Greek delicacy!