Lamb-Stuffed Grape Leaves with Avgolemono


Fair warning: stuffed grape leaves are a ton of work. I didn't really know what I was getting myself into... Fortunately, pretty worth it. Next time though, I enlist friends. Any wrapped food (tamales, grape leaves, samosas, dumplings, etc.) should be a community project. I'd also make twice as many... because other than the wrapping, it's the same amount of work and they freeze really well.

I used different spices and nuts, but followed Melissa Joulwan's process on her blog. I trust her on the topic of stuffed grape leaves because she's Lebanese... also, I consistently love all of her recipes.

Lamb-Stuffed Grape Leaves with Avgolemono

Paleo + Whole30-approved

  • 1 8 oz jar of grape leaves
  • 1/2 head of raw cauliflower
  • 2 T sliced almonds
  • 2 T dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, whatever you like)
  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp dried mint
  • 1 tsp salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 egg

Soak the grape leaves in cold water for 15 minutes. Toast the almonds and fruit in a dry pan, let them cool and then chop them up. "Rice" the cauliflower in a food processor by pulsing it until it looks like rice. Put that into a big bowl with the almonds and the dried fruit.

Next, we're making lamb paté. Blend the the onions, garlic, spices and lamb in the food processor until it makes a paste. Mix the meat with the cauliflower, almonds and raisins.

Grab a big pan or pot and fully line the bottom with the torn/small grape leaves that won't be advancing to the wrapping round.

Now, Sir Wraps-A-Lot. Shiny side down, spoon about one tablespoon of meat into the middle of each leaf. Bring in the sides, the bottom and then roll tightly. Set the dolmas right up next to each other like in the photo below.

Cut up one lemon into thin slices and set on top of the grape leaves in the pan. Press down on the dolmas with an oven safe plate (leave the plate in), add an inch of water into the pan. Cover, bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Juice the other lemon in a bowl and safe for later.

With mitted hands, wrangle the plate out of the pan and remove the dolmas, drain the water, put the dolmas back in the pan and cover. Quickly whisk together the lemon juice and one egg until frothy, then pour over the dolmas and cover the pan. The still-hot dolmas will cook the avgolemono.

As suggested, these are best when eaten later. Fridge them and eat (cold or hot) with a little drizzle of olive oil and sea salt on top!

Next time you have a hundred hours to spend... I swear, this is a worthwhile recipe.