Dolmadakia are one of the most popular Greek mezze (appetizers) and they do take some time to make. This quick pilaf is ready in 30 minutes and has all of the delicious flavors of those delicious stuffed grape leaves. Make a large batch and serve it for dinner tonight. Quick, easy, and as always, delicious.
Prepare the grape leaves
I usually have a jar or two of brined grape leaves in my pantry. Fresh leaves may be used, if you’re lucky enough to have a grapevine growing in your backyard or if you know someone who does. Fresh grape leaves should be boiled for a minute or until they soften. The leaves from the jar are already soft so, boiling them is not necessary.
Rinse the leaves from the jar under cold water to get rid of the excess brine. If the leaves still have the thick stem attached at the bottom, cut it off and discard it.
I like to roll the leaves up into a cylinder and then slice them. Then, I roughly chop them and set them aside.
Ready in 30 minutes!
Not only is this dish delicious, it’s also ready in 30 minutes. You can’t beat that!
Traditional grape leaves take time to make. Wrapping up each one of those delicious parcels is a labor of love and worth every minute. However, many times, I’m very short on time and wish I could enjoy those flavors. That’s how this dish was born! Well, I also recently conducted a poll on Instagram and Facebook where I asked you all for your recipe requests and many requested quick versions of the classics. You ask, and I will deliver 😊
I tested this recipe and all of my children loved it. Winner all around!
Feel free to use either Basmati rice or Carolina. I usually cook with Basmati rice so, that’s what I used in this recipe but, as I always say, Use what you’ve already got and love!
What to serve alongside the Grape Leaf Pilaf
There’s plenty of flavor in this dish to keep it vegan. Just serve it with plenty of lemon wedges and enjoy a light meal. However, since I look for ways to eat tzatziki as often as I can, I highly recommend it alongside the pilaf. It takes a few minutes to make and lasts for days in the refrigerator. Here’s my easy Tzatziki recipe.
Watch the Video Tutorial
I hope that you give this recipe a try and let me know what you think. I read all of the comments so, send me your recipe requests too! I’ll be back here soon with another delicious recipe worth sharing. Kali Orexi!! xxDimitra
- 1 cup roughly chopped brined grape leaves
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 cup rice (Basmati or Carolina), rinsed and soaked in cold water for 10 minutes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed black pepper or to taste
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2-3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
- 1 teaspoon dried dill
- lemon wedges and tzatziki for serving
Prepare the grape leaves. Rinse them under cold water to remove some of the brine. Drain in a colander. Cut the thick stems off the bottoms of the leaves and discard them. Roughly chop the leaves and set them aside.
Add the onion and olive oil to a skillet and season them with a pinch of salt. Cook over medium heat for about 8 minutes or until soft and golden.
Add the chopped grape leaves to the skillet and cook for a minute.
Drain the water from the rice and add it to the skillet along with a cup of water, a teaspoon of salt, black pepper, and lemon juice. Mix and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to low and cover the skillet with the lid. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the rice is cooked.
Remove the skillet from the heat and add the herbs. Fluff the rice and serve with lemon wedges and tzatziki.