I really wanted to try making a dish that I haven’t made before…in fact, I have never even liked dolmades- until I made these! I chose to make a completely vegan version and I was really happy with the results. Dolmades are basically a rice mixture (sometimes with ground meat, or vegetables) wrapped in grape leaves. You can find grape leaves at specialty grocery stores, but I was lucky enough to purchase them from this great little restaurant in Vancouver. I have been eating their awesome falafel wraps on pretty much a weekly basis lately, with my friend, as we attend bartending school (did I mention I was doing bar school!? It’s so much fun!!). They also happen to sell a few items like grape leaves, hummus, dates, etc. and I will definitely be doing a proper review on the restaurant in the next couple of weeks- they’re so nice and make such good food! When I picked up a jar of grape leaves to buy, the man at the till was so kind and he asked me what I was doing with them. I told him I was making vegetarian dolmades and he gave me all kinds of tips to make them just like his mom used to- how cool!! I took some liberty in making these though and probably used some unconventional ingredients, but it’s all about the end result 😉 You can definitely roll the dolmades a couple days ahead of time and keep them in the fridge until you want to cook them.

Vegan Dolmades

  • about 35 grape leaves, rinsed in warm water for about 30 minutes to wash off the brine, drained, and patted dry, and stems trimmed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup currants
  • 1/2 tsp fresh dill, chopped
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp fresh mint, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 long grain white rice ( I used basmati…)
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1-2 tbsp tomato paste

Line a large saucepan with about 5 of your grape leaves (use the torn or damaged ones if you have any). Set aside.

In a skillet, heat a tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. Add the green onions, and cook, stirring once in awhile until soft. Add pine nuts and currants and stir, let cook for about 2 minutes. Add dill, mint, salt, and rice and cook for about a minute.

Add 3/4 cup of vegetable stock, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Stir and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and let simmer about ten minutes. Stir in peas and turn off heat (keep covered).

Lay out a grape leaf (vein side up) and place one tbsp of the filling into the middle of the leaf.

Fold the bottom stem end up over the filling, fold in the sides and roll toward the top of the leaf. Repeat with all the remaining leaves. This is where you can stick them in the fridge for a couple days before cooking, if you so choose.

If you want to cook them now, put them in your large saucepan that you had previously lined with grape leaves in a single layer. ( I had some double layers because I’m a rebel)

Drizzle with a tsbp of olive oil and add the remaining vegetable stock, and the tomato paste into the pot. Add more vegetable stock if necessary so that the dolmades are pretty much covered. In case you’re wondering, that blob is my tomato paste….it was frozen.

Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer for about 1 hour, until the rice is tender. Lift them out of the pot and you can eat them warm, or cooled. I had them with tzatziki! Enjoy!!