Vegetarian Dolmathes

I love dolmathes. The first time I had them was at a Greek restaurant probably 15 years ago. (Please note, that 15 years ago I was still pretty much a kid. Thank you.) They were simple, rice stuffed grape leaves packed with lemony zip and dilly goodness.

Every time I’ve tried dolmathes since then they just haven’t quite measured up to what I remembered. The majority of them had meat in them too.

In fact, to search and find a recipe for dolmathes without meat was kind of difficult.

Alas, I did find one on (I love that site!) and I decided to give it a try for a recent appetizer night. I took into advice one of the comments that was left on the recipe to make it more flavourful. I’m glad I did.

recipe based on this recipe

Vegetarian Dolmathes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1½ pounds onions, chopped
  • 1¾ cups uncooked white rice
  • 3½ cups water
  • ¾ cup lemon juice (bottled)
  • 2 tablespoons dried dill
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts (optional)
  • 1 (8 ounce) jar grape leaves, drained and rinsed
  • ¾ cup lemon juice (bottled)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Water, to cover
  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Heat first amount of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Saute onions until tender. Stir in rice and brown slightly.
  3. Add water, dried dill weed and the first amount of lemon juice. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.
  4. Stir in fresh dill, parsley and pine nuts.
  5. Remove stems from grape leaves and place 1 tablespoon of rice mixture in the center. Fold in the sides and roll tightly.
  6. Place, folded side down, in a baking dish and cover with second amounts of olive oil, lemon juice and enough water to cover.
  7. Cover with aluminum foil or casserole lid and bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes.

Fresh out of the oven these were amazing. Slightly cooled or at room temperature these were amazing. Reheated, it lost some of it’s appeal – mostly because the rice was starting to get a bit mushy at this point. The day after, this got to be kind of … well, gross. The rice was mushy, the lemony flavour that was so great when fresh got to be just overpowering and the brininess of the grape leaves sort of permeated any left overs. The grape leaves being briny might be mostly my fault though. I realized half way through rolling them that I forgot to rinse them. So half got rinsed and half didn’t. Whoops.

So what was my final verdict? Honestly, I loved them, but I don’t think they were as much of a hit with the rest of the group and Levi was brave enough to tell me he wasn’t a huge fan of them. So with that in mind, and the fact that the grape leaves weren’t cheap, I think I’ll stick to making some cabbage rolls with tomato sauce from now on. Still, this is a great and tasty recipe for anyone craving some dolmathes.


  1. says

    Not true, I really liked them, however, they were kind of outshone by all the other amazing stuff you made!!! Stop making everything else rockstar quality gourmet and it will solve all your problems. 😛

  2. Megan says

    Haha you’re beyond sweet Jacquelyn. I am glad you liked them. Honestly they tasted much better when they were slightly cooled rather than reheated like they were for the appy night. I am flattered you think I am both rockstar and gourmet. Seriously, blushing here!

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