Dolma b’Zait (Vegetarian Stuffed Vine Leaves)

Growing up this one was of my all time favourite Arabic dishes. This recipe has been passed down from generations to generations in my family – and now it is time for me to share it! Developed by my grandmother, all credit goes to her.

There is a meat version but this vegetarian version, happens to be completely vegan!

Dolma was always such a treat, as we didn’t make it that often. Mainly because it can takes some time and is gone in a flash!

This is the type of dish that you don’t make alone. You sit comfortably around a table with family or friends, take your time, chat and cook.

You can make this dish in advance, as traditionally the vegetarian version is eaten at room temperature with yogurt and salad.

Ingredients

  • 1 Large Jar of Vine leaves
  • 2-3 Cups Long Grain White Rice
  • 2 Tablespoons Pine Nuts
  • 1 Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley
  • 1 Cup Chopped Fresh Coriander
  • 1 Cup Chopped Fresh Dill
  • 2 Cups Chopped Spring Onions
  • 1 Small Onion
  • 7 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1 Tin Chopped Tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp Tomato Puree
  • 1 Tbsp Tamarind Paste
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • Vegetable Oil

Method

  • Finley chop all the fresh herbs and set aside
  • Lightly brown the pine nuts in a dry frying pan and set aside
  • Rinse and drain the rice
  • Finley dice the white onion and garlic
  • Heat up some vegetable oil in a large pot and fry the spring and white onion and garlic until soft
  • Add all the herbs to the pot and fry
  • Once wilted, add the tomato puree, tin of tomatoes and rice
  • Mix well
  • Add the pine nuts
  • Remove from the heat
  • Roll the dolma
    • Take one vine leaf and lay it flat on a surface
    • Add 1-2 tsp of the stuffing in the centre of the leaf in a sausage shape
    • Bring the bottom of the leaf over the stuffing
    • Fold in both sides of the leaf
    • Roll the remaining leaf around the stuffing
  • Place some vine leaves or chopped potatoes at the bottom of a large pot
  • Arrange the dolma in the pot, taking care not to squash them (you need to leave room for the rice to expand when it cooks)
  • Place a plate on top of the dolma to weigh it down
  • Pour over the tamarind paste and salt
  • Add boiling water until the plate is covered
  • Bring the water to boiling point
  • Reduce the heat to low and cook for 40 minuets
  • Remove from the heat
  • Allow to slightly cool