These stuffed vine leaves – or dolmas – are delicious hot or cold and usually served with a big dollop of thick Greek yogurt.
Stuffed Vine Leaves with Rice and Carrots
200g carrots, coarsely grated
300g tomatoes, blitzed
120g round rice
2tbsp pine nuts
1 handful of parsley chopped
2 handfuls of mint, chopped
1 handful of dill, chopped
100ml olive oil, plus a little extra
1 tsp dried oregano
Juice of 1 lemon
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
20–30 good-quality preserved vine leaves, or fresh ones if you can get them
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
- Put all the ingredients except the vine leaves in a bowl and mix well. The mix needs to be highly seasoned and punchy because it will mellow during cooking.
- Preserved vine leaves are usually packed jarred in rolls so start by separating the leaves carefully so as not to tear them. If you come across small or broken ones you can patch them up using more leaves.
- Use a large plate or another flat surface and open one leaf flat. Place a small spoonful of the rice mix in the centre and cover with one part of the leaf, then bring both sides in and roll to seal. Repeat with the rest of the filling and all of the leaves. Place the dolmas on a baking tray, ideally in a single layer with the loose end facing down.
- Pour any liquid that accumulates in the plate into the tray as it will add moisture and flavour. Add a splash of water to the tray and a drizzle of oil, cover with baking parchment and then kitchen foil and place in the hot oven. Let the dolmas cook for 30–40 minutes and remove the parchment and foil. The rice should be ready at this point. Cook for another 10 minutes to get some colour on the top and then remove from the oven.