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Video & Recipe: Stuffed Grape Leaves—"Dolmades"—with Egg-Lemon Sauce—"Avgolemono"

Delicious and nutritious, Dolmades is a classic olive oil recipe. Dolmades—stuffed grape leaves with Avgolemono—egg lemon sauce—are fun to make with a friend or with precocious children. It is a food that is traditionally thought of as quintessentially Greek that is always a welcomed and healthy meal or appetizer by people around the world.

People have been eating vine leaves as long as they have been eating olives and olive oil—since the earliest days of civilization (See our sister site, for a short but very interesting history about Dolmades). And they are as good to our taste buds today as they were to the ancient men and women in the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean worlds.

Video: Stuffed Grape Leaves with Egg-Lemon Sauce

Recipe: Stuffed Grape Leaves


Meat—Main dish or appetizer

Serves: About 30 stuffed grape leaves.

PJ KABOS Extra Virgin Olive Oil to use: Family Reserve Organic Medium


For the filling:

  • 2 lbs grape leaves, fresh (when in season) or from a jar

  • 1 pound beef, ground (lamb or chicken or pork may also be used)

  • ¼ cup rice, basmati (or whichever is preferred)

  • ⅓ cup parsley, finely chopped

  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped

  • 1 egg, separated

  • ⅛ teaspoon salt

  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper

  • 3 tablespoons PJ Kabos Extra Virgin Olive Oil (FRM), for coving the bottom of the cooking pot

  • 1 cup PJ Kabos Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for pouring over the stuffed grape leaves

  • 3 tablespoons PJ Kabos Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for drizzling over the leaves when serving

  • 1 lemon, juice

  • 1 lemon, sliced

  • warm water, enough to cover stuffed vine leaves in the pot


Total amount of PJ Kabos Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Family Reserve Organic Medium) used: approximately 1⅓ cups


For fresh vine leaves

  • ½ cup salt

  • 1 big pot of boiling water

  • ice cubes



If using fresh vine leaves: The leaves must be blanched in order to soften them and to lock in the nutrients and flavors. Fill a large pot with water, add salt and bring to boil. While waiting for the water to boil, run the fresh grape leaves under a shower of cold water to remove any dirt that might be clinging to them. Fill a bowl with cold water and ice cubes in which to dunk the leaves after their boiling bath (this stops the cooking process).


Blanching the leaves: One by one, carefully place the vine leaves in the boiling, salted water until several are boiling together. The leaves float so after about 2 to 3 minutes turn the leaves over so that both sides are immersed in the boiling water, a total of about 6 minutes, or until the leaves soften. With a perforated spoon, carefully remove from the boiling water and place in the iced water to stop the cooking process. Do this with all the leaves. Then place the leaves in a colander to drain.


If using vine leaves that have been preserved in a jar: Carefully remove the rolled-up leaves from the jar and taking them by their short stems open and separate each one, taking care not to tear them. (Note: Some leaves will get torn but don’t discard them; they will be used to line the bottom of the pot and the top layer of stuffed leaves.) Fill a bowl with water and let the leaves soak, about 10 minutes, to remove some of the brine that was used to preserve them. Rinse and drain. (Note: They don’t have to be totally dry.)


For the filling: In a bowl mix together the beef, rice, parsley, onions, egg white, salt and pepper.


Into a wide pot pour 3 tablespoons PJ Kabos Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Line the bottom of the pot—3 leaves thick—and a bit up the sides of the pot with the torn or too small grape leaves. Set aside some leaves for covering the top layer of the stuffed grape leaves.


For assembling the stuffed grape leaves: Cut a 2 foot long section of bake paper. Place it on your favorite work surface and place 6 to 8 leaves, shiny side down, upon it. Take a heaping teaspoon of filling and place it near the top, in the middle of the leaf (on the dull, vein side). Fold the 2 upper sides of the leaf over it—the right and left side—then roll downwards folding more as you go, as necessary. It really is that simple! The leaves shouldn’t be rolled too tightly nor too loosely, just use your common sense and you will have a nicely rolled foodie “work of art!” And it’s something the kids or grandkids can do, too!


As you finish with each stuffed leaf place side by side in the pot. You may make several layers within the pot, as needed by the amount of leaves rolled and the size of your pot. When finished with the last roll, cover the top layer with the set aside leaves (or alternatively, use lemon slices as in the video), pour 1 cup of PJ Kabos Extra Virgin Olive Oil over it all, fill the pot with enough warm water to cover the stuffed vine leaves, then cover the leaves with a heavy, ovenproof dish (this is necessary to prevent the stuffed grape leaves from “dancing” in the pot and coming apart). Simmer on the stovetop for 1 hour, or until the leaves are tender. There should be at least 1½ cups of broth left in the pot (this is needed for the avgolemono—egg lemon—sauce.) Remove from the fire. Remove the plate from the pot.


For the avgolemono—egg-lemon—sauce: In a small bowl, beat the egg yolk, add the lemon juice, then using a ladle, slowly, while continuously beating the egg/lemon mixture—so that the egg doesn’t curdle—add 1½ cups very hot broth from the stuffed vine leaves. Pour the avgolemono sauce over the stuffed grape leaves and gently shake the pot around over a low fire to thicken the sauce and mix it all together


This may be eaten immediately as a main dish with a side of yogurt and a couple of olives or made two days ahead to serve as an appetizer at a party. It can be eaten hot, at room temperature or even cold. Drizzle PJ Kabos Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Family Reserve Organic Medium) and a little bit of salt over the stuffed grape leaves before serving.


Serves: Depending on the size of the leaves and the amount of stuffing used for each leaf this recipe makes about 30 stuffed vine leaves; if you require more, simply double the recipe...and make a party of rolling the leaves—and then eating them!


Tip Number 1:

The bottom of the pot is covered with the too small and torn leave to prevent the valuable stuffed leaves from sticking to the pot. As an extra bonus, the leaves, cooking in the juices of the pot, taste delicious, and if there is stuffing left over it’s perfectly fine to eat these leaves with the extra stuffing. A deconstructed meal for sure!


Tip Number 2:

An easy way to remove the plate from the boiling pot without getting burned is to use a spatula and an oven mitt or latex gloves. Gently push the spatula under the plate with one hand then with the glove-protected other, take a hold of the plate and remove it.

Tip Number 3: Stuffed grape leaves freeze well so you can make ahead for a party.

Please see our sister site, for a short history about Dolmades: It's another of those wonderful dishes that has its roots in antiquity.

All of the following PJ Kabos Olive Oils may be used in preparing Dolmades.

PJ KABOS Family Reserve Organic - Robust, is an extra virgin olive oil that is very high in polyphenols and adds depth, character and great health benefits to every meal.

Buy now either through our website or on Amazon.

(White Bottle)
PJ KABOS Family Reserve Organic - Medium, is an extra virgin olive oil that is high in polyphenols and adds a lovely taste and great health benefits to every meal.

Buy now either through our website or on Amazon.

(White Tin)

PJ KABOS Family Reserve - Medium, is an extra virgin olive oil in an easy-to-store tin that is high in polyphenols and adds a lovely taste and great health benefits to every meal.

Buy now either through our website or on Amazon.

Please enjoy having a look around our websites, and, as well as our Amazon Store for more about our many high-phenolic olive oils, recipes, history, etc. And follow along with us on Instagram for photos concerning olive oil production, our groves in Greece, articles about olive oil, family history and more.

PJ Kabos High-Phenolic Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Your Trusted Oil, Straight from Our Table to Yours.


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