Lamb Dolmas (Stuffed Grape Leaves)

by Jessica Mishra on June 22, 2011

I wanted to share another recipe from my cooking class last week. Dolmas are stuffed grape leaves, and I liken them to a Mediterranean spring roll. However, I have tweaked this recipe since the class and added organic, grass fed ground lamb instead of brown rice. Both options are amazing.

If you would like a vegetarian dolma, substitute the ground lamb for cooked brown rice. Just make the spice mixture first – olive oil with onions, currants, and spices, and then pour that over the brown rice and mix thoroughly. Use that as your filling. These little gems are so flavorful, and I love the combination of sweet, spicy, and tart! Enjoy!


  • 1 lb ground lamb (grass fed, organic)
  • 7 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 6 tablespoons dried currants
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 pinches of sea salt
  • 1 8-ounce jar of grape leaves
  • Juice of 1-2 limes
  • Water
  • Several thin slices of lemon
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • A handful of sliced almonds

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and sauté until transparent. (You may add a little water to keep from browning onions). Add the ground lamb and cook completely. About half way through cooking the lamb, add the dill, currants, nutmeg, cinnamon, cumin, and salt. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes.

Place a grape leaf on a plate, vein side up. Place 1-2 heaping teaspoons of the filling in the center of each grape leaf. Cut the stem from the leaf if there is one. Fold the sides of the leaves over the filling and roll gently from the bottom to the top. Arrange the dolmas in a baking dish.

Mix together the lime juice, remaining olive oil, and water to equal one cup of liquid. Pour over the dolmas. Top with several slices of lemon or lime and 2 or 3 bay leaves. Sprinkle with a few sliced almonds. Layer any remaining grape leaves on top. Cover loosely with foil. Bake at 350 ° for 45 minutes or until the liquid is almost completely absorbed. Serve with hummus or tahini dipping sauce.


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