Greek dolmades are traditional Greek meze that are loaded with flavor and easy to prepare. These dolmades are grape leaves stuffed with rice, dill, parsley, and scallions. This recipe is vegetarian and vegan.
Soak the rice in water for 20 minutes.
While the rice is soaking, bring some water to a boil in a small to medium sized pot. Turn the heat off and soak the grape leaves in the hot water for a few minutes. Then, thoroughly rinse the grape leaves to remove any remaining salty flavor from the brine. Pat dry and set aside any damaged leaves.
Drain the rice and combine with the finely chopped herbs, scallions, lemon juice, 2-3 tbsp olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Allow the mixture to stand for 1-2 hours. This will make it hold together easier while you're assembling the dolmades.
To assemble the dolmades, lay the soft, undamaged leaves smooth side down on your work surface. Work with one leaf at a time and cut off any extra stem from each leaf as you work. Place a small amount of the rice filling at the bottom, stalk end of the leaf (about 1 heaping tsp or a bit more). Fold the stalk end of the leaf over the rice, so the filling is halfway covered and then roll one turn to completely cover the rice. Next, fold the sides of the leaf into the middle. Then continue rolling toward the end until fully rolled up.
Note, the dolmades should be rolled firmly, but not too tightly. The rice will expand while cooking and if rolled too tightly, the grape leaves will break.
Slice the lemons left over after juicing. Line the bottom of a large pot with lemon slices. Cover the lemon slices with any damaged grape leaves that you set aside before. Place each dolmade seam side down in the pot. First, line the circumference of the pot with dolmades, then fill in the rest of the pot. You'll want them snuggly, but not too tightly, packed in next to each other.
Pour over 3 1/4 cups of water and 1/4 cup of olive oil. Cover the dolmades with 1 or 2 plates to weigh them down while cooking. Cover the pot with a lid. Cook over medium to low heat for 30-45 minutes until all of the water has been absorbed and the rice is soft.
The dolmades can be served hot or cold. To serve, drizzle with olive oil and serve with lemon wedges. You can also serve with tzatziki or yogurt sauce.