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A family of stuffed vegetable dishes in Middle Eastern Cuisine.

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Stuffed Grape Leaves are So Easy to Make

  • Mar 1, 2010
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For the last several years, I lived in a primarily Greek neighborhood in New York City. Astoria, Queens is an extraordinarily diverse hub of young and old alike, but the signage and the food is what tells the visitors that they've just entered a little version of Europe.

I confess that I don't like a lot of Greek food, but one thing I fell in love with was the dolmas, a.k.a. stuffed grape leaves. These are found in various parts of the Medditerranean and the Middle East, but it's really the Greeks that put these little finger foods on the map for me.

I was very lucky because I could purchase large cans of stuffed grape leaves for a very reasonable price. I've since come to realize how lucky, because a little can here in the Pacific Northwest is probably 2 to 3 times more expensive than it is in Astoria, New York.

With the high prices and fond memories of the burst of flavor that stuffed grape leaves impart, I decided to try my hand at making them. I wound up being very surprised, because although they do take a little while to make, they are very easy! It's just a matter of setting aside some time and making sure you have all the right ingredients.

The main ingredient that may be the hardest to find are the grape leaves themselves. Unless you have grapes growing near you or you know of a store that sells them, you may have to make some calls around to figure out where to purchase them. If you know of a Middle Eastern store, you are likely to have luck there, as this is a pretty common thing to make.

The rest of the ingredients are all pretty easy to find - vegetable broth, spices, onion, olive oil, lemon juice and rice.

Hungry yet? Visit my blog, Novel Eats, to get step-by-step instructions on how to make stuffed grape leaves. Yum.

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March 22, 2011
Yummm....I LOVE dolmas and yes, here in the suburbs it's not as easy to find access to cheap stuffed grape leaves. I'm going to have to give your recipe a try one of these days, thanks for sharing :)
April 28, 2010
Very cool. I really want to try these now. They look healthy and tasty!
March 03, 2010
Wow, I never even thought about making these myself, but the step-by-step directions in my blog makes this look so doable!  I'm a big fan of Middle-Eastern cuisines, like Turkish cuisine, so I totally want to make these.  I know what I'm having for lunch today... shwarma and dolmas! :)
March 03, 2010
By the way, you should add some photos to your review. Those photos in your blog look awesome! :)
March 03, 2010
Thanks devora - I added a picture from my blog. :) And they really are easy to make - and soooo good fresh!
March 04, 2010
Awesome! You're a great photographer :)
More Dolma reviews
Quick Tip by . March 11, 2010
posted in Vegan Living
Tried this recipe and it turned out delicious.
Quick Tip by . March 01, 2010
I love dolma! I used to always get these before I was gluten-free and I can still enjoy them now (whereas pita and falafel are not gf)
About the reviewer
Samantha ()
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My name is Samantha andIwrite, a vegan food blog where I post recipes, how-to articles and advice for people who are considering incorporating vegan food into their diets. Ialso pride … more
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About this food


Dolma (pl. dolmas or dolmades) is a family of stuffed vegetable dishes in the cuisines of the former Ottoman Empire and surrounding regions, including Turkey and Cyprus, the Balkans, many Middle Eastern countries, Iran and the Caucasus and Central and South Asia. Perhaps the best-known is the grape-leaf dolma, which is more precisely called yaprak dolma or sarma. Common vegetables to stuff include zucchini, eggplant, tomato  and pepper. The stuffing may or may not include meat. Meat dolma are generally served warm, often with sauce; meatless ones are generally served cold, though meatless dolma are eaten both ways in Iran. Both are often eaten with yoghurt.
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