Yiayia Sofia’s Dolmades

Cook time 1 hour
Servings 8-10


45 fresh vine leaves

125ml (½ cup) extra-virgin olive oil

1 small red onion, grated, excess moisture squeezed out

2 spring onions, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon sea salt flakes

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

250g beef mince

250g pork mince

1 vine-ripened tomato, grated, skin discarded

Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

100g (½ cup) medium-grain rice, rinsed

A handful of mint leaves, finely chopped

A handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped

2 tablespoons finely chopped dill fronds

Lemon wedges and Greek yoghurt to serve

Yiayia Sofia’s Dolmades


Working in batches, blanch the vine leaves in a saucepan of salted boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove and drain in a large colander.

Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large frying pan over low heat, add the red onion, spring onion, salt and cumin and cook for about 5 minutes until softened. Add the beef and pork mince, tomato and pepper and cook for 3 minutes, breaking up the mince with a wooden spoon. Add the rice and fresh herbs and cook for another minute.

Sort through the vine leaves and set aside any that are a bit torn or damaged. Place the remaining leaves on board, vein-side up. Place 1 tablespoon of the filling on the base of each leaf, then roll up, folding in the sides, to form logs about 5cm long.

Cover the bottom of a large, wide saucepan with any torn leaves to prevent the dolmades from burning and sticking to the base. Place the dolmades in the pan, seam-side down, sitting next to each other Continue with a second layer. Drizzle the remaining oil over the dolmades and pour 560ml (2¼ cups) of water into the side of the pan. Place a dinner plate face down on the dolmades so they don’t open during cooking.

Cover and gently simmer over low heat for 40 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and rest for 10 minutes.

Serve the dolmades with lemon wedges and a dollop of Greek yoghurt.