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Koupepia me Ampelofylla (Cypriot Stuffed Grape Leaves)

Koupepia me Ampelofylla (Cypriot Stuffed Grape Leaves)

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Koupepia (as we call them in Cyprus) are dolmades made with grape leaves, stuffed with ground pork or veal, rice, fresh herbs and seasoning, cooked with tomato and lemon juice.

Cypriot dolmades in tomato sauce photo

They can be served as part of a meze platter or salad plate, eaten as finger food or as a main dish.

The difference from the usual Greek ones is that in Cyprus we do not add avgolemono sauce but instead we add tomato and cinnamon, similar to many recipes found in the Aegean islands, which adds a heavenly taste to this dish and an irresistible smell while they are being cooked.

Cypriot stuffed dolmades with vine leaves image.

This is one of my family’s favourite dishes and it’s one of those few times that I don’t have to prepare a second meal because they all love this one.

collage making koupepia image

While I was cooking, I remembered that this is a recipe I knew since I was still at school.  

When I was taking my First Certificate in English examination (called Lower Certificate) I was 14 years old.

Our teacher told us that the examiners usually request the students to talk about something they like doing.  I remember that even back then, I chose to speak about cooking.

They asked me what my favourite meal was and I told them it was koupepia,  stuffed vine leaves.

The examiner asked me to describe the whole procedure of how this meal was prepared.

Although I am not sure how my cooking skills were back then, I did pass the examinations but I suppose after so many years I must have improved my cooking skills as well. 

Although, when graduating I acquired many GCEs O level degrees and later on a Proficiency Degree in English, I don’t know about my English skills, as so many years have passed since then and although I’ve been using English in all my jobs,  I am not familiar with the culinary terms.

I hope that I and can still explain the procedure and that you will understand my instructions.  Now that I am blogging in English I hope to learn more culinary terms and practice my English 🙂

Although dolmades are better served when warm, koupepia are best served cold, so they can easily be served as finger food, during a party or a gathering. 

In Cyprus we also make this dish using other leafy greens such as silverbeet or cabbage or stuffed zucchini flowers or onions.

If you have a vine, see how you can store your vine leaves.

Koupepia me Ampelofylla (Cypriot Stuffed Grape Leaves)

Koupepia me Ampelofylla (Cypriot Stuffed Grape Leaves)

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

Koupepia (as we call them in Cyprus) are dolmades stuffed with ground pork or veal, rice, fresh herbs and seasoning, cooked with tomato and lemon juice.


  • 60 fresh or brined vine leaves
  • 1 kilo (2.20 lbs) ground pork
  • 1/3 cup olive oil, divided
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1 cup parsley, finely chopped
  •  3 - 4 tbsp dried mint
  • 2 cups fresh ripe tomatoes, pureed, divided or 1 cup concentrated tomato juice and 1 cup water
  • ½ cup Carolina or other short grain starchy rice
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 1½ cups water


  1. Wash the fresh vine leaves and blanch them for 5 minutes. Add cold water and drain. If using jarred brined grape leaves, wash, rinse and drain them. 
  2. In a skillet heat half of the olive oil and sauté the onion until translucent. Add the ground meat and sauté until it turns white.  Add half of the tomato and half of the lemon juice and cook for 5 minutes stirring once in a while.
  3. Mix in the remaining ingredients and set aside to cool.
  4. Put a leaf on a plate, vein side facing up, remove stem and put about a tbsp of the mixture near the stem.
  5. Neatly fold left edge and then right edge and then roll all the way.
  6. Wrap up into a cigar shape (don’t fold too tight as the rice will expand during cooking).
  7. Repeat with the remaining grape leaves and filling.
  8. Place neatly in the pot seam side facing down, starting from the edge, moving in a circle towards the centre. Second and third layers may be placed on top.
  9. Add the remaining tomato, olive oil as well as lemon juice and then cover them with a plate (which must be about the size of the pot). 
  10. Finally add water to cover the plate and bring to a boil, Cover with the lid, reduce heat and simmer for about 30 - 35 minutes.
  11. Allow to rest for a while before serving.  
  12. Serve with Greek yoghurt.
Nutrition Information
Yield 8 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 499Total Fat 35gSaturated Fat 11gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 22gCholesterol 118mgSodium 263mgCarbohydrates 11gFiber 2gSugar 3gProtein 34g

Did you make this recipe?

Tried this recipe? Tag me @ivyliac and use the hashtag #kopiaste!

A similar recipe is included in my cookbook Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!

Collage Cypriot koupepia image

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi!

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Instant Pot Grape Leaves (Yabra Recipe) - Tasty Oven

Wednesday 19th of January 2022

[…] Cypriot koupepia: are dolmades stuffed with ground pork or veal, rice, fresh herbs and seasoning, and cooked with tomatoes and lemon juice. […]

My Fab Fifties Life - The Cyprus Test Kitchen - My Fab Fifties Life

Wednesday 29th of September 2021

[…] Koupepia – stuffed grape leaves, very similar to Greek Dolmades, the Cypriot version is filled with rice, pork, tomato and parsley and simmered in a tomato broth. […]


Sunday 8th of August 2010

I found this on google and I have searched for YEARS to find te stuffed onion recipe! These sound like what my good friend's mother used to make. She did not remember her mom's recipe and I crave these!!! Can I PLEASE get the recipe for the filling. I am not able to find it on the bog. Thank you so much!


Sunday 8th of August 2010

The recipe will be included in my cookbook which hopefully will be published in the next couple of months.


Friday 21st of November 2008

Thank you - you're wonderful! Am hungry just thinking about them! x


Friday 21st of November 2008

Hi Niki and welcome. Unfortunately it's not the time for fresh vine leaves. You get them in Spring when the vineyards get their first leaves and which are very tender. However, you can find brined vine leaves in jars or in air tight containers.

You can cook them both on the stove top or in the oven. When cooking on the stove top you should cover them with a plate the size of you pot cover them with water, bring to a boil and then simmer for about 45 minutes. In the oven use a pot or a vessel both with a lid, no plate required, which is deep like a Dutch oven (I use Tupperware's Ultra Plus) and bake. If you type the word koupepia on my site's search engine you'll find a vegeteraian koupepia recipe I made there and you can follow the regular recipe for koupepia and just see the cooking instructions.

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