Mediterranean Dolma

June 24th, 2011

This post is also available in: French

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Mediterranean dolma was always on the list of foods special to me, there is something fascinating in the taste and the appearance of the grape leaves. When I tried this raw, rice-less version for the first time, it struck me as possibly the tastiest raw dish I’ve had so far. The combination of flavours and textures is flawless. And the sauce – cilantro, lemon, tahini – it’s hard not to lick the plate.

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The original version of this dolma calls for Jerusalem artichoke, or sunchoke, which is an amazingly versatile root vegetable. I’ve been using Jerusalem artichoke syrup as an alternative sweetener for a while now, and would definitely recommend it.
The actual root is not as easy to find (at least here in Florida) and the season is long gone. But after once tasting this dolma with sunchoke, I couldn’t wait for its new season to come, and decided to substitute it with jicama. I made some minor adjustments to the recipe and was very happy when it turned out well.

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I always get excited when I find successful raw recipes that are also simple and don’t call for the opening of young coconuts, dehydration, nuts, or long hours of waiting. This dish is just that – easy, fresh, and fragrant.
P.S. We are so happy to finally have a blog banner. It’s by the talented Coco of Lark Creatif and Roost.

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Mediterranean Dolma
(Adapted from Living Raw Food)
For a 1 quart jar of marinated grape leaves, the amount of individual leaves can vary depending on their size

1 1/2 cups Jicama OR Jerusalem artichoke – peeled, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for coating the dolma
zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes – soaked for 2 hours and chopped finely
1 cup peeled and seeded cucumber – small cubes
1/2 clove garlic – minced
1 shallot – minced
5 olives of your favourite kind (I used Black Cerignola) – pitted and chopped
1 tablespoon, or more to taste dill – chopped
about 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves – finely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a food processor, pulse the sunchokes or jicama to achieve the texture of large rice grains. If using jicama, transfer it onto several layers of paper towels and pat to remove as much excess liquid as you can. You might need to do this several times. There’s no need to pat dry if you are using sunchokes. Transfer the jicama/sunchoke to a bowl and pour the lemon juice over, mixing with a wooden spoon to preserve the color. Then mix in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and gently stir in the rest of the ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Place the filling into a fine strainer and let drain for around 15 minutes.
Rinse the grape leaves and pat dry. Put around 1 1/2 tablespoons of the filling into the center of each leaf and fold. The stem end gets folded up first, followed by the sides, after which you are ready to roll tightly.
Coat the rolled dolmas with some olive oil and enjoy with green tahini sauce.

Green Tahini Sauce
1/2 cup raw sesame tahini
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup cilantro – loosely packed
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 cup purified water

In a high-speed blender, combine all the ingredients until smooth.

Tags: raw food, recipe, savoury

  • This sounds superbly delicious. Looking forward to trying this!

  • Those do look easy! Where do you get the grape leaves?

  • Elizabeth says:

    Those look so wonderful.
    I really want to make your sauce!!
    Peace and Raw Helath,

  • jacqui says:

    I love that these are simple to make but look like they took a long time. And all the flavors sound wonderful together too!

  • Thanks for the great recipe idea. Where did you find your grape leaves?

  • Coco says:

    Things are lookin’ great :) and what a beautiful recipe!

  • Golubka says:

    Thanks so much for your comments, everyone! Have a nice weekend.

    Hannah and Jamie, I got mine at a local health food store, they are without preservatives. You might also be able to find them in regular supermarkets, Greek markets, or delis that sell grape leaf dishes.

  • VeganLisa says:

    The blog banner is beautiful. I love it.

    This is a dish I’ve skipped past so many times in Living Raw Foods. With your hearty endorsement I’m ready to give it a try. Jicama is much easier to find in my area. So your version may find its way to a dinner party very soon.

  • Delicious! i wish I could find grape leaves here in Puerto Rico

  • Sous Chef Sean says:

    Great new twist on an old favorite, very appetizing looking and sounding dish. Love the new banner! How does Paloma like the grape leaves?

  • These look delicious. I’ve had them before in Greek restaurants and have liked them. I also enjoyed your Paris post! What a wonderful trip! We were there last year and introduced the city to our children.

  • hearthstrung says:

    love sunchokes! we grow them at the farm where i work. harvesting them is too fun, digging around in the dirt. i could do it for hours.

  • kankana says:

    This looks so so so delicious. Your photos are gorgeous .. really :) So glad to find your blog!

  • Katie says:

    this looks great, i’ve never come across a recipe for dolma, now it’s definitely something i want to try! i think it would be a great idea for picnic food!

    Katie x

  • Dolmades are one of my favourite things to eat. I love the idea of a raw one, although the preserved vine leaves would be blanched right? I like to use fresh vine leaves from our grape vine and simply blanch them in boiling water for 30 seconds before refreshing in cold water. Not raw. But ultra yum!

  • I’m really digging fresh mediterranean food right now, especially after my trip to Greece. What a wonderful raw version!

  • Sarah says:

    These look so good – I don’t care for the standard meat & rice dolmas, but these look like a whole new world.

    Beautiful banner, I LOVE Coco’s work! Glad to see more support for her :)

  • Loving this! Last night I had the most ridiculous craving for dolmas, but given that I don’t eat rice, I passed. However, I’ll have to get out this book and make these!!

  • Golubka says:

    Thanks for the comments, guys :)

    Sean, Paloma doesn’t eat these much, but likes to lick the sauce.

    Sarah, thank you! You are heroic for taking your kids with you to Paris. I was so tired and overwhelmed, and I was only there with a couple of friends! What an amazing city.

    hearthstrung, how wonderful that you have access to the freshest sunchokes.

    Emma, that’s great that you have your own grape leaves to cook with. We used to have our own vines at our countryhouse back in Russia too. You are right, the leaves are blanched before jarring, but we are willing to compromise for the flavour :)

    Jessica, I took a peek at some of your photos from Greece. How beautiful, makes me want to go back!

    Sarah, thank you. Coco is so talented.

    Callie, hope you like them.

  • Norka says:

    I can’t believe it! We were just planning to make some raw dolmas in the future:)) except we will marinate th vine leaves ourselves. We have planty of jerusalem artichoke in the garden, but it’s not is season yet. But don’t they turn dark in this recipe? Do you think it would work with cauliflower as well? We don’t have jicama.

  • I love that first picture! great, so Greek :) Dolmadakia is a very yummy dish, i love all the herbs and lemon in them…

  • Golubka says:

    Norka, that’s great! If you pour lemon juice over the sunchoke/jicama as is done in the recipe, they won’t turn dark. I think cauliflower could work, I’d give it a shot.

  • Caitlin says:

    wow..these look ABSOLUTELY delicious. i need to make yesterday.

  • Wow these look fantastic, I haven’t ventured any kitchen experiments with grape leaves yet and this seems like a perfect place to start. Your banner is beautiful, and really captures the lightness and cheerfulness of your posts and personality. Bravo, Coco! Roost is such a fabulous blog :)

  • Yummy says:

    if you see the food served so hungry

  • Sunny London says:

    those look very delicious! Actually, the original name of this food is “sarma” It is Turkish and Greek food. Dolma is different kind of stuffed food and you can find more information at the following link:

  • sara says:

    i adore dolmas but i’ve never had them with a sauce. your sauce sounds SO good! i’ve got to try it.

  • Yum! These look really nice. I might try them with nuts or kohlrabi instead of the jicama.

  • Zhenya Beloshapkina says:

    Do you still have some?

  • Golubka says:

    Thanks again for the thoughtful comments, friends.

    Sunny London, I see! Thanks so much for the link.

    Zhenya, no, unfortunately. Will let you know next time I make them :)

  • k says:

    hi, I love sunchokes too! when I can find them I buy a few extra and throw them in the garden and they multiply like rabbits!!! and they also have lovely sunflower like flowers : ) pure joy!!!

  • celia says:

    These look great! i was wondering if the leaves you started off with to make these grape leaves were raw from the start? or do you let them marinate in the olive oil. i think i didn’t understand the first part of the recipe because the leaves looks so incredibly tender.

  • Golubka says:

    Hi Celia, thanks for your comment. This recipe is for a 1 quart jar of marinated grape leaves that you can buy in a store. At the end, once the dolmas were rolled, we coated them with olive oil. Hope that makes sense.

  • Athena says:

    Just made these and it’s one of the best raw recipes I’ve ever tried! Funny thing is I’ve never really liked dolmas- I think they have a strange flavor. These were so much better than the “real thing!”

  • Love your blog! Jurselaum artichoke is a sunchoke, grows in California. It’s native to here. It grows very tall sunflower like plants. I’ll harvest the root this fall but could start now if I wanted. It’s so prolific it’s nearly invasive.

  • By the way, the grape leaves can be fermented, they dont have to be blanched. I use kefir grains to ferment the leaves from my vine, with salt and garlic in water. They last a long time in the fridge that way.

  • Golubka says:

    For those wondering how to make this dolma with fresh grape leaves, here is a great tip a friend left on Flickr: “Hi, you can prepare leaves without cooking as well, just soak them in water with squeezed lemon juice and salt (in a glass jar) – and leave them for two day to soften, I made it once, and they turned out delicious!”

  • Natalyn says:

    This is so amazing! I made this yesterday to celebrate fourth of July with my parents and they were so amazed it was all raw (I even used raw grape leaves straight from my grandma’s grape vine!!!!) We all fell in love with that tahini sauce and also enjoyed dipping some flax corn tortilla chips in it.
    Thank you for inspiring so many people to be healthy. I am 17 years old and on my way to a good, healthy lifestyle (I have now been mostly raw for a week or two). God bless you! :)

  • […] Dolmas with a Cilantro-Tahini Sauce Adapted from g0lubka who adapted it from Living Raw […]


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