[LOW] 30 min + 15 min
7 vegetables of choice, each around 2" to 2½" in diameter
Small bell pepper
8–10 brined grape leaves, rinsed and stemmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ lemon, juiced
¼ cup olive oil
½ cup short-grain rice, soaked for at least 2 hours, drained
⅔ cup vegetable scraps, finely chopped
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Chopped fresh parsley
Chopped fresh mint
4 tablespoons Italian parsley, roughly chopped
For Vessels, cut each vegetable to 1” height. Use a small spoon or melon baller to carefully scoop out the insides of each vegetable. Leave the bottom intact when possible. Do not discard the scraps as they will be used for Stuffing.
In a medium bowl, combine ingredients for Stuffing and mix well. Stuff each of the Vessels with Stuffing. Be careful not to stuff too much as the rice will expand when cooked.
Spread a grape leaf on a dry surface, shiny side down. Place about 1 tablespoon of Stuffing on the lower-middle part of the leaf. Fold each side towards the center and roll from the bottom up. Repeat with remaining grape leaves.
Lay parchment paper in the pot and drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Place vegetables and stuffed grape leaves from Steps 3 and 4 in one layer in the pot.
Pour water in the pot just enough to cover the rolled grape leaves. Place an otoshibuta (drop lid) or small plate upside down on top to keep the vegetables and dolmas from moving around while simmering. Cover and simmer over [LOW] heat for 30 minutes.
Drizzle lemon juice and ¼ cup olive oil. Cover and simmer over [LOW] heat for another 15 minutes or until rice, vegetables and grape leaves are cooked and tender. Transfer to a plate and garnish with parsley and mint. Serve with your favorite Mediterranean spread or pita.
Substitute Anaheim pepper with bell pepper for a non-spicy dish.
Credit: Chef Tetsu Yahagi – Recipe video
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