Quinoa dolmades with Greek salad

Quinoa dolmades with Greek salad

Green Kitchen Travels

Thin vine leaves stuffed with grains and vegetables and wrapped in small parcels are common all over the Middle East and southern Europe. There is even a Nordic adaptation made with cabbage leaves, but here we have been inspired by the Greek version. It has always been one of my favourite savoury snacks to enjoy when travelling around the Greek islands. Once you learn the method, it is easy to replace any ingredients in the filling. We tried a rice version and also one with millet, but got most fond of this quinoa and fennel-stuffed edition. Eat them as snacks or serve them with a salad to turn them into a full meal. You can buy vacuum packs and jars of vine leaves, preserved in brine, in specialist food stores and some supermarkets. Alternatively, you can use freshly picked ones. Simply blanch in boiling water for 2–3 minutes to soften before use. — David



Quantity Ingredient
50g uncooked quinoa, rinsed
250ml water
pinch sea salt
1/4 fennel bulb, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tomato, finely chopped
4 mint leaves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
20 preserved vine leaves, drained
2 carrots, sliced lengthwise
2 tablespoons olive oil


Quantity Ingredient
1 cucumber, seeded and sliced
200g olives, drained
200g greek feta cheese, crumbled
2 handfuls cherry tomatoes, halved
4 sprigs oregano
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon cold-pressed olive oil


  1. Place the quinoa in a saucepan and add the measured water and a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat immediately to medium-low and gently simmer for 15–20 minutes until tender and the water has been absorbed. Tip into a bowl and set aside to cool.
  2. When cold, add all the remaining dolmas ingredients except the carrots and olive oil and toss gently to combine. Lay the vine leaves on a large surface with the ribs facing upwards. Place a spoonful of stuffing towards the stalk end of the leaf. Firmly roll the stalk end over the leaf, then tuck in the sides and roll up completely.
  3. Prepare a saucepan with the sliced carrots in the bottom (to prevent the dolmas from burning while cooking). Pack the rolled dolmas seam-side down so they don’t unravel, close together in layers in the saucepan. Place 2 plates (or other heavy object) on top of the dolmas to weigh them down. Pour over 120 ml water or more to just cover. Cook for 20–30 minutes, adding the olive oil halfway through cooking. Remove the plates and drain off any excess liquid. Leave to cool to room temperature.
  4. Meanwhile, divide the cucumber, olives, cheese and tomatoes among four serving plates. Add the dolmas, a sprig of oregano and a drizzle of lemon juice and olive oil to each plate and serve.


  • Vegans can just leave out the feta from the salad.
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