Vegetarian Dolmati

“What do you mean you don’t eat no meat?” – A famous quote from my favourite movie My Big Fat Greek wedding (seriously, I know every line from that movie).

From before I can remember my Egyptian mother and I have been making dolmatis (Lebanese style) on the kitchen bench – so prepare yourselves, you will need a lot of bench space and a lot of patience rolling these up, but the best part is, it’s fun and feeds many meals.

Traditional dolmati includes white rice and meat, but because I wanted to put a spin on these, I’ve made them vegetarian.

My mother and I were super excited making these as the vine leaves, tomatoes, parsley and lemons were picked from our very own garden.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup of red rice (can use brown, black, basmati or quinoa)
  • 500g organic TVP (textured soy protein – tastes like meat, no one will ever know)
  • the juice of 2 lemons
  • 3 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 1 bunch of parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ teaspoons allspice
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 jar of grape vine leaves
  • 2 cups of boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons plain natural yoghurt (vegan option: coconut yoghurt)


How to make:

  1. In a bowl, combine the red rice, TVP, the juice of 1 lemon, tomatoes, onions, parsley, garlic, ¼ cup olive oil, allspice and sea salt and mix with your hands.
  2. Remove grape vine leaves from the jar and spread them out (gently as they tend to rip easily) across your bench. Place 1 tbs of the filling (depending on the size of each leaf), just above the stem, shape the filling with your fingers into a sausage shape of about 5cm.
  3. Now rolling – this has taken me years to master, but my mother tells me I roll them better than her now). Start rolling by folding the back edges of the leaf over the filling, then like a kebab, fold the left then right side of the leaf over the filling. Continue rolling and folding in the sides until you have a complete roll.
  4. Spread 1 or 2 layers of vine leaves on the bottom of a large and heavy pot – this prevents dolmatis from burning. Lay the dolmatis side by side tightly in the pot. Pour 1/4 cup olive oil, the juice of half a lemon and the boiling water into the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until water is absorbed (approx 1 hour).
  5. Cool for 10 minutes before demolishing.

You can also dip the dolmatis in natural yoghurt.

Now go make your mumma proud!

Makes approximately 25 dolamtis

Serves: 3

Prep: 30 minutes

Cook: 1 hour


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