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Stuffed Grapevine Leaves Turkish Dolma Recipe

This stuffed vine leaf recipe is really something very special. Great Turkish food, great vegan recipe and perfect starter for a dinner party.

This stuffed vine leaf recipe is really something very special. Great Turkish food, great vegan recipe and perfect starter for a dinner party.

How do you rate this stuffed grape leaf recipe?

Yaprak Sarma - vine leaves stuffed with rice

Yaprak sarma is a Turkish dolma recipe (dolma means 'stuffed' in Turkish) using grape vine leaves stuffed with a rice, nut and raisin filling that my husband makes for us from time to time. It's an easy recipe and similar to stuffed cabbage rolls, only using grape vine leaves instead of cabbage.

I live in South West France so I'm lucky enough to be blessed with vine leaves. They grow all around our B&B in Limousin, and they provide the shade for the terrace of our holiday cottage. In the Spring, the vine grows fast and we have to keep up with the pruning. It seems a shame to waste the leaves, so we often collect them and make these delicious stuffed grape leaves.

The beauty about this recipe is that it's suitable for vegans and vegetarians too.


All pictures and text are the property of B L Walton and must not be reproduced without permission

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

1 hour

1 hour

2 hours

Serves six people, two dolmas each

My stuffed cabbages

This stuffed cabbage recipe is made with stale bread but you could also use the stuffed grape leaf filling and make stuffed cabbage rolls

This stuffed cabbage recipe is made with stale bread but you could also use the stuffed grape leaf filling and make stuffed cabbage rolls

Stuffed cabbage v stuffed vine leaves

I love stuffed cabbage and have a great stuffed cabbage recipe that is local to our corner of the Limousin, South West France, but I also love the vine leaves filled with either meat and rice, or rice, fruit and nuts. These dolmas are traditional celebratory food in Turkey - and I just love Turkish food.

Which is best - cabbage or vine leaves? Well, I love them both but I would say that the vine leaves don't have a strong flavour, so if cabbage is not your favourite vegetable, you might well like the vine leaves better.

The other thing I like about the dolma recipe is that it's that little bit exotic - it'll impress your friends no end.

Are you a lover of stuffed cabbage or a sucker for Turkish dolma?

Ingredients for your dolma recipe

Stuffed vine leafs ingredients - you can use this recipe with cabbage leaves too

Stuffed vine leafs ingredients - you can use this recipe with cabbage leaves too

Ingredients

  • 250 g Risotto or pudding rice
  • 150 g Raisins, Chopped
  • A handful Almonds or pine kernels, Chopped
  • 1 large Onion, Chopped
  • 3 Cloves of garlic, Chopped
  • 4 tablespoons Olive oil
  • 1 level dessert spoon Ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black pepper, Coarsely ground or crushed
  • Pinch Salt
  • Water, Enough to moisten
  • Handfull Fresh mint, Optional
  • To taste - 2 - 3 teaspoons Sugar, (If you have a sweet tooth)

Utensils that you'll need for your stuffed grape leaves

Our leaves on a vine

For your recipe, stuffed vine leaves, first pick young, large and clean and healthy leaves complete with their stalks.

For your recipe, stuffed vine leaves, first pick young, large and clean and healthy leaves complete with their stalks.

Picking the vine leaves

Our vine leaves grow along the front of our barns and on the side and back of our holiday home (or gite) where they shade the terrace in summer. Vines grow vigerously so we have to do quite a bit of pruning in the spring and early summer so the terrace is pleasantly cool but not dark and gloomy.

What an opportunity to use the grape leafs in these dolmas recipes. When picking your grape vine leaves, pick the best leaves on a vine early in the season while they are young and tender. Try to use leaves that are clean and free from chemicals and pesticides.

Choose the largest and nicest-looking leaves, and make sure that you cut them with the stalks on - because you'll need these later on in cooking.

Lay down the vine leaf stalks on the base of the pan to lift the stuffed leaves from the bottom

Lay down the vine leaf stalks on the base of the pan to lift the stuffed leaves from the bottom

Drain the grape leafs in the colander

Drain the grape leafs in the colander

Cooking the grape leaves

Wash the leaves in cold water and cut off the stalks as close to the leaf as possible and put the stalks to one side.

Put the leaves into a large sauté pan or saucepan, taking care to keep them flat. Cover with boiling water and simmer for at least half an hour. The vine leaves turn a slightly lighter colour when they're ready.

You can also use a steamer if you like (see below).

Turn the leaves out into a colander to drain and cool down.

Your leaves are now ready to be stuffed with the rice mixture.

Chopped onion and almonds

Chopped onion and almonds

Instructions - How to prepare the rice stuffing for your vine leafs

  1. Chop the onion, the raisins, garlic and almonds finely and put into a mixing bowl
  2. Add the risotto rice, black pepper, a pinch of salt, olive oil and cinnamon. Mix together
  3. Add enough water to moisten the ingredients, but not so much that it puddles into the bottom of the dish (not too critical)

This is what the rice, raisin and almond mixture should look like

Rice, almonds, onions and raisins mixed together with the other ingredients

Rice, almonds, onions and raisins mixed together with the other ingredients

Put a small amount of the mixture onto the vine leaf

Put about this amount of the rice mixture onto the vine leaf and then fold the leaf quite tightly into a roll

Put about this amount of the rice mixture onto the vine leaf and then fold the leaf quite tightly into a roll

How to fold your vine leaf

What about a rolling machine for stuffed grape leaves?

There's no doubt about it that it takes time to stuff a vine leaf or two. Now, you could just take a little time out, glass of wine, cup of coffee, on with your favourite music or a bit of radio and quietly and patiently roll your vine leaves. You could practice and get really quick and skillful - or you could get a a rolling machine for stuffed grape leaves.

I came across this Turkish dolma, yaprak sarma machine below on eBay and it seems like a bargain - all the way from Istanbul too!



Place the stuffed vine leaf rolls into a sauté pan or saucepan and simmer

Place the stuffed vine leaf rolls into a sauté pan or saucepan and simmer

Alternatively, you can put them into a pan and stack them on a steamer. This way you can cook more vine leaves at one time - save energy and feed more people!

Alternatively, you can put them into a pan and stack them on a steamer. This way you can cook more vine leaves at one time - save energy and feed more people!

How to cook the stuffed vine leaves

Place the vine leaves into the saucepan or sauté (frying) pan on top of the stalks. You can build up several layers as the dolma cook in the steam.

Add just enough boiling water until it reaches about halfway up the side of the bottom roll.

Keep checking the water level because it will evaporate and so you might need to top it up a couple of times at least. Steam for about an hour or until soft and tender (try one to check the rice is soft).

This is the traditional method. I've just made a whole heap of stuffed vine leaves for a dinner party and put them into my biggest casserole with my little steamer in the bottom (see utensil list above). I piled up my dolmas in a criss-cross pattern and filled the pan with boiling water up to the base of the steamer.

Serve cold by themselves.

Life too short to stuff a vine leaf?

Irmik Helvasi. Try this fabulous, quick and easy Turkish dessert to go with your dolma

Irmik Helvasi. Try this fabulous, quick and easy Turkish dessert to go with your dolma

Irmik Helvasi is a great quick and easy Turkish dessert

This dessert is one of our all-time favourites and everybody loves it! It uses store cupboard ingredients, it's dead easy, little cooking and tastes delicious. This dessert is perfect to go with your dolma.

Quick and Easy Exotic Turkish Dessert Recipe - Irmik Helvasi


Have I inspired you to stuff a vine leaf or two?

The vines leaves mix with our roses to give shade behind our holiday cottage - excellent for our Turkish dolma recipe

Interested in staying with us? For more inforamtion and bookings for our holiday cottage (sleeps 7 adults in three ensuite bedrooms) or our B&B, take a look at our website www.lestroischenes.com, or contact me on +33 (0)5 55 48 29 84

Interested in staying with us? For more inforamtion and bookings for our holiday cottage (sleeps 7 adults in three ensuite bedrooms) or our B&B, take a look at our website www.lestroischenes.com, or contact me on +33 (0)5 55 48 29 84

Tell me about your vine leaf stuffing moments

Les Trois Chenes (author) from Videix, Limousin, South West France on July 17, 2013:

Thanks for taking the time to leave these few kind words, My Cook Book

Les Trois Chenes (author) from Videix, Limousin, South West France on July 17, 2013:

They are pretty good, I must say - and you're right about the cabbage. I'm going out to pick my grape vine leaves right now.

Les Trois Chenes (author) from Videix, Limousin, South West France on July 17, 2013:

Do hope you give it a try Nell. The problem in Britain is getting the vine leaves.

Les Trois Chenes (author) from Videix, Limousin, South West France on July 17, 2013:

Thank for your comment, aviannovice. Pity about the wheat but hope the substitute works. Let me know what you did and I'll add a wheat-intolerant note to the recipe.

Dil Vil from India on July 16, 2013:

Great recipe, sounds delicious.

Nell Rose from England on July 15, 2013:

Totally different and it looks delicious! I love trying new recipes so this is voted up and shared! nell

Maggie Griess from Ontario, Canada on June 29, 2013:

I have tasted these from an Armenian co-worker and the taste was exquisite...now maybe I have to grow some grape vines...because even though I love cabbage, I enjoyed those grape leaves so much! Thank you for this recipe!

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on June 29, 2013:

I can have this without any adjustment, but I will have to use alternative flour for the dessert recipe. I am wheat intolerant. Thanks so much for giving me something new to add my my ever-growing recipes of Mediterranean cuisine.

Les Trois Chenes (author) from Videix, Limousin, South West France on June 29, 2013:

Thank you so much for this message, Guru-C. It's so nice to hear from a 'local'. My husband only makes this type of dolma - I'll have to get him to find out how to make the ones with meat stuffing. Let me know how the recipe works out for you.

Cory Zacharia from Miami Beach, Florida on June 28, 2013:

Thanks so much! My paternal grandfather was from Kastoria, Greece, my paternal grandmother, from Silibria in Turkey, and my maternal grandparents from Bulgaria and raised in Istanbul. So, dolmas have long been the centerpiece of a family celebration feast! My sisters and I often talk about the ideal dolma filling, with meat, vegetarian, with raisins and almonds, as you shared. Now, I can add your recipes to ours :)

Les Trois Chenes (author) from Videix, Limousin, South West France on June 28, 2013:

Many thanks for dropping by, georgescifo. Pleased you think my Turkish dolmas look tasty!

georgescifo from India on June 27, 2013:

looks delicious..thanks for the share..

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