Wild Grape Leaf Dolmades

Ever since reading Foraging & Feasting, I have been looking forward to making wild grape leaf dolmades. This afternoon, on our way to pick up our toddler, I spotted wild grape vines draping along the side of a quiet road. We snipped a few branches and brought them home. I blanched the leaves in water, salt & vinegar, then made the filling. They were deceptively easy to make, and next time I go to a vegan party, I very well make this version. Although before then, I will likely experiment with a ground meat filled variety.

wild grape leaves

wild grape leaves
Back at home, I trimmed each wild grape leaf from its stem
spring onions and herbs
These spring onions looked like jewels at the farmer’s market. Bulbs & some of their greens were perfectly at home in the rice stuffing.
dolmades ingredients
The wild grape leaf dolmades were stuffed with rice, currants, pine nuts, cinnamon, and fresh mint, parsley & dill from my garden.
blanched wild grape leaves
The wild grape leaves lost their vibrant green after blanching.
wild grape leaf dolmade
Stuffing a blanched wild grape leaf
wild grape leaf dolmades
Wrapping and finishing the dolmades. These were wrapped by the hands of three people who had never made them before (myself, and 11 year old, and a 3 year old) and each one is unique.

Recipe, based on one in Vegetarian Times:

Olive oil; 1 medium onion finely chopped; 1/2 cup rice; 1/4 cup pine nuts; 1/4 cup currants; 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon; 1 bay leaf; 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, mint, dill; fresh wild grape leaves, blanched; 1/4 cup lemon juice.

Saute onion until fragrant. Add rice and pine nuts, stir. Add currants, cinnamon, bay leaf, and 1 cup water. Simmer 15 minutes, covered. Rice should be mostly cooked but still firm. Stir in herbs, salt & pepper. Line a pan with blanched grape leaves. Fill remaining grape leaves with heaping teaspoon of rice & herb filling, fold up sides and roll into a tight bundle. Set each rolled dolmade in the pan, and fit tightly together. Set a heat-proof dish on top of the dolmades, add lemon juice & 1 cup water. Simmer 45 minutes. Remove from heat, and let stand until liquid is absorbed. Best eaten at room temperature.

Published by Jennifer May

Jennifer May is a food photographer based in New York's Hudson Valley and Brooklyn.

Food stories in New York's Hudson Valley and beyond from photographer Jennifer May