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Vegetarian Dolmades with Mushrooms and Leeks

Dolmades or Koupepia (as we call them in Cyprus) are made from grape leaves (also known as vine leaves) and are stuffed with rice, ground pork or beef, fresh herbs and seasonings.

I’ve been revisiting all the Greek traditional recipes over the past year and have been substituting pork or beef  minced meat with turkey or chicken mince, to avoid eating red meat.   I’ve adjusted the seasing in each recipe to better match with poultry, adding chicken seasoning, thyme, oregano or tarragon, paired with other seasoning and fresh herbs, depending on each recipe.

Below are some of the recipes I’ve revisited:   Koupepia, with tomato sauce and Dolmades with a lighter avgolemono sauce.  I have been making Burgers with Ground Turkey and chicken, served with a salad or with ciabatta bread and red pepper pesto, instread of ketchup. I’ve made meatballs baked in the oven served with healthy mashed potatoes with olive oil and marinara sauce or just with a salad.   I’ve made moussakas with Turkey and instead of frying the vegetables I have roasted them in the oven to make them much healthier and making a much lighter bechamel sauce  and during the winter I have made giouvarlakia with ground chicken.  I’ve even made a shepherd’s pie with ground turkey using olive oil instead of butter in the mashed potatoes and with low fat milk.  All these dishes were  equally delicious as the original ones but much more healthier.

This is my new remake of Dolmades which are vegetarian.   Unlike Gialantzi Dolmades, which are vegan and only with rice, herbs and spices, I made these Dolmades with mushrooms, leeks and rosemary and added some low fat feta inside as well.

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

Actually, I did make them to be our main dish today but couldn’t resist the lovely smell, so I prepared  a mezes  with some marinated anchovies and a yoghurt-mint garlicky sauce and was really pleased to hear lots of mmmms not to mention that they were asking for seconds and practiacally licked the plate.

This is my second contribution to the event In memory of Rosie and if you would like to participate,  you still have lots of time until the 28th June to send your contrinutions and honour a fellow blogger.

Vegetarian Dolmades with Mushrooms and Leeks, Recipe by Ivy

Preparation time: about 1 hour

Cooking time: 45 minutes

Serves: 5 – 6  (as a main dish)


For the filling:

  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 leeks, finely sliced
  • 5 big button mushrooms, cut into slices
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 100 grams low fat feta
  • ½ cup low fat milk
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds

Directions for filling:

Heat the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and sauté garlic, rosemary and leeks.  Add salt and pepper and sauté until translucent.  Add the mushrooms and sauté for a few minutes.

Meantime in a food processor add feta, milk and mustard seeds and mix.

Add the flour to the mushrooms and mix to make a roux.  Add the wine and mix continuously for 1 minute until the alcohol evaporates.

Add the feta mixture and mix.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Mix together with above mixture:

  • 1/3 cup Carolina or other shortgrain rice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons dried mint
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • Extra salt and freshly ground black pepper

To make Vegetarian Dolmades

  • 60 vine leaves
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups water


  1. If you are using fresh vine leaves wash and then put them in a sauce pan with plenty of water and boil for 5 minutes.   If you are using frozen ones, follow the same procedure without defrosting them and then remove cling film. Cool them in cold water and strain them.  For brined vine leaves, follow the instructions on package.
  2. Place one of the leaves, vein side facing up, on a plate and put a spoonful of the mixture near the stem. Make sure to remove the stem.
  3. Neatly fold left edge over the filling and then right edge and then roll all the way. Wrap up into a cigar shape (don’t fold too tight as the rice will expand during cooking). Repeat with the remaining grape leaves and filling.
  4. Place in the pan starting from the edge to the centre. Second and third layers may be placed on top then cover with the plate (which must be exactly the size of the pan. This is done so that when the dolmades are boiling they will not unwrap).
  5. Add lemon juice and water on top of the plate and when reaching boiling point lower heat, cover with the lid and simmer for 30 minutes.

They can be eaten either hot or cold, served with a salad and a yoghurt sauce or tzatziki.

Other relevant recipes:

How to.. preserve vine leaves

How to roll Dolmades

Dolmades me Avgolemono (egg-lemon sauce)

Kremmydia Gemista (Stuffed Onions)

Koupepia me Lahana and not Lahanodolmades (Koupepia with Swiss Chard)

Koupepia me ampelofylla (with vine leaves)

Kolokythia Gemista (Stuffed Courgettes)

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi!!

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22 Responses

  1. Thank you for sharing, lovely pictures and a delicious recipe! My husband would love that vegetarian dish.
    My recent post Colombian-Style Fried Chicken (Pollo Frito Apanado)

  2. Chiapata=ciabatta?
    My recent post Baklava

    • Ivy

      Yes, ciabatta and that what happens when doing two things the same time 🙂

  3. So mouthwatering and healthy! A gorgeous dish!



  4. Ivy, I adore dolmades – these would certainly hit the spot, and look delicious! (Although I don’t like the nasty ones they sell in tins here …)

    • Ivy

      Cake, I only tasted them once when I was a kid and was disgusted!!

  5. You've really done an excellent job of re-making all of those dishes so their healthier Ivy! And these dolmades look completely delicious! Such a great filling for them.
    My recent post Thai Coconut Shrimp Soup with Noodles

  6. dolmades …in romania are "sarmale"! a very often cooked dish,in variant with meat and in this way,vegetarian.it's served with cream fresh and polenta.your recipe ,with feta is delicious!
    My recent post pauza de cafea si prajiturelele aferente( coffee break cookies)

    • Ivy

      Simona, in Greece they also called them "sarmades" but only the ones made with cabbage.

  7. I've always been too intimidated to make dolmathes, but you make it seem do-able 🙂 I love leeks and shrooms. Yum, I might just try these 🙂 Thanks for the recipe Ivy!

  8. These dolmades look and sound terrific! I love thevegetarian filling!

  9. These grape leaves sound wonderful; I have never had any with this stuffing and the idea of feta combined with leeks and mushrooms sounds too scrumptious! Great Ivy, I want some!
    My recent post Garbanzo bean plate (Hummos Baleela)

  10. Yummie, the grape leaves stuffed with mushrooms sure look so yummie, Nice presented 🙂

  11. I love dolmades especially the ones without the meat. My mother makes them very often during summer. I eat them with a sauce with yogurt and garlic. Awesome.
    My recent post Batzina

  12. I have never used grape leaves in cooking…sounds really great!
    And Ivy, you have been eating really healthy!

  13. Fantastic recipe Ivy! Love the food styling too! Have a nice day 🙂
    My recent post Pesto Linguine with veal meatballs

  14. Vine leaf rolls are my favorite, no matter what they're stuffed with! I love that yours have a wee bit of feta in them. You know, I've made hundreds of iterations of vegetarian and meat filled grape leaf rolls over the years, but never *once* have I used any dairy or cheese in them. I feel some inspiration coming on…….

  15. c'est très original et léger ça change de l'éternel viande
    une excellente version qui me séduit
    bonne journée

  16. Love love love ntolmades! Great recipe Ivy and a perfect vegetarian meal.
    My recent post Tomato happy

  17. This is such a great recipe for vegetarians! yum!

  18. Vegetarian dolmades sound great! I love the mix of mushrooms, feta, and rosemary.
    My recent post Nectarine and Tomato Salad with Proscuitto and Buffalo Mozzarella

  19. A great version of dolmades, Ivy. I love anything with mushrooms and leeks, so I know I would enjoy these. Glad to hear you were able to re-work some of the Greek classics and make them lighter and still tasty!