Stuffed grape leaves are common throughout the Middle East. The stuffing varies, as does how they're served, but in this typical Greek preparation they're vegetarian and served cold with yogurt on the side. The quality of jarred grape leaves varies. We found that Yergat and Sadaf brands were the most tender and had fewer damaged leaves per jar., April 2022


Credit: Leigh Beisch

Recipe Summary

7 hrs 30 mins
1 hr 30 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Heat 3/4 cup oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring, until translucent and soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add rice and mix to coat the rice in oil. Reduce heat to low. Add 1/2 cup warm water, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for 15 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons lemon juice, dill leaves, mint, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; mix gently. Let cool completely, about 30 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, remove grape leaves from the jar and unroll. Separate into two piles, one with whole leaves and the other with any torn leaves or pieces of leaves. You should have about 50 whole leaves; they will be used for rolling. Set aside the less-than-perfect leaves for lining the pot. Place the whole leaves in a bowl of water, then drain in a colander.

  • Cover the bottom of a large pot with 3 layers of the less-than-perfect grape leaves. Top with dill stems. Place the whole grape leaves on the work surface, bottom-side up (so you can see the vein) with the stem end toward you. Place 2 to 3 teaspoons filling (depending on the size of the grape leaf) in the center and roll the stem end over the filling, folding the sides inward. Roll up tightly.

  • Arrange the rolls snugly in the pot in 2 layers. Place a plate, upside down, over the top layer. Place a small weight, such as a mug filled with water or a can of tomatoes, on top. Pour just enough hot water into the pot to cover the rolls (3 to 5 cups). Add the remaining 10 tablespoons lemon juice, 1/4 cup oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place the pot over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, until the liquid is reduced by three-quarters, about 2 hours. Remove from heat and let cool completely in the pot, about 2 hours. Refrigerate until cold and the remaining liquid is absorbed, at least 2 hours or up to 5 days. Serve with yogurt, if desired.

Nutrition Facts

about 2 ntolmadakia
116 calories; protein 1g; carbohydrates 9g; dietary fiber 1g; sugars 1g; fat 9g; saturated fat 1g; mono fat 7g; poly fat 1g; vitamin a iu 429IU; vitamin b3 niacin 1mg; vitamin c 4mg; vitamin e iu 2IU; folate 10mg; vitamin k 8mg; sodium 310mg; calcium 30mg; magnesium 3mg; phosphorus 7mg; potassium 44mg; omega 6 fatty acid 1g; niacin equivalents 1mg.