Do you remember that part in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" where the kids are making fun of Tulla for eating moussaka? Well, I'm here to tell you that growing up in a Lebanese home and having a variety of ethnic food, I had moments just like that. Rolled grape leaves, or dolmas are one of the most popular Lebanese dishes.
I mean, we pick grape leaves off the vine (which most people compost) and decide to stuff them and eat them! Living in Portland, none of this seems strange now, but jump back 15-20 years ago or head to another city and this may not be so common.
So...for those who are not familiar with stuffed grape leaves, they are a delicious and healthy Lebanese dish. They are a common dish in the Mediterranean and have a variety of names: Dolmades in Greece, Dolmas in Turkey and Warat Areesh in Lebanon, which translates to grape leaves.
Each country has their own variation of filling and technique but they are all delicious! My family's version is vegetarian and even vegan, the leaves are stuffed with a lemony rice mixture. It is usually served as a mezze (or appetizer) dish. Living in the great Northwest, we are fortunate and have a perfect climate for growing grapes (ahem, that also means delicious wine). We planted our first grapevine a few years ago and have been enjoying not only the abundance of grapes each fall, but the luscious leaves each season.
When I moved to the West Coast and began cooking, this was a MUST to learn from my mom. I used to help her roll these when I was growing up and my little kiddos are doing the same. I hope this recipe follows them through their life and into your own kitchen with your family. I've shared lots of pictures with you so you can watch the process of rolling and layering. I would love to see your creations! Tag me on Instagram @CosettesKitchen or post on my Facebook Page.
Ready to roll leaves