Stuffed Grape Leaves: Beef and Pomegranate Dolmeh

Here is one favorite way to prepare Persian Stuffed Grape Leaves: Beef and Pomegranate.

Stuffed Grape Leaves: Beef and Pomegranate Dolmeh by

The Greeks call this dish “dolmata.” The Persians call this dish “dolmeh.” I just call these little bundles of joy, INCREDIBLE! We, Persians, like to stuff everything: red peppers, onions, potatoes, tomatoes and every guest’s bellies until they burst! I was so excited to see that The Daring Cook’s October challenge was the dolmeh. It had been years since I made them. Why? I have no idea! And I decided to use my own recipe using Pomegranate Molasses.

The great thing about dolmeh is that you can stuff it with anything you want. The key is to not over-stuff (I know it’s tempting!) and to keep the rolls tight as you roll them. It can be a little tricky because the grape leaves can rip if you pull too tightly, which I did, and then you have to discard the torn leaf and use another one.

Stuffed Grape Leaves: Beef and Pomegranate Dolmeh by

I started with browning onions and then added my lean ground beef. Next I added parsley and mint, lemon juice and pomegranate molasses.

What is pomegranate molasses? Well, in a nutshell, it’s pomegranate juice with a bit of sugar reduced down until the water has evaporated and you have a thick syrup-like consistency. This can be found in most middle-eastern stores or here’s the link of the brand I like to use, Sadaf, found at Amazon.

Stuffed Grape Leaves: Beef and Pomegranate Dolmeh by

Next, I added some cooked basmati rice. Basmati rice, when cooked properly, is a fluffy but NOT sticky rice. We cook it ahead of time and steam it again in the dolmeh and they don’t turn everything to mush.

Now the filling is done. We are ready to rock and ROLL!!!

If you are using fresh grape leaves (versus the jarred) then you have to blanch them in water. But, I’m lucky to have the jarred leaves, so I just remove them from my jar and do a quick pat-dry with the paper towel.

Then I lay it flat on my cutting board, vein side up, and I was able to spoon a little over a tablespoon of stuffing into the center of the grape leaf. I pull the bottom of the leaf with the stem over the stuffing and tuck the stem underneath. Then like you would fold an eggroll, you fold over the left side of the leaf, and then the right.

Stuffed Grape Leaves: Beef and Pomegranate Dolmeh by

Again, keep everything tight. Now you take the roll, and roll it up to the top remaining part of the grape leaf. And you are done!

Stuffed Grape Leaves: Beef and Pomegranate Dolmeh by

Place the dolmeh in an oiled pot, seam side down. You roll and roll until you are out of stuffing, layering the dolmeh on top of each other, layer by layer.

Pour a little lemon juice and water over everything and place a plate over the dolmeh. This keeps them from puffing up while cooking and falling apart. Simmer for one hour and the dolmeh are ready!

Stuffed Grape Leaves: Beef and Pomegranate Dolmeh by

We served ours with Mast-o Khiar (yogurt with cucumbers). Lip-smacking good. I bet you can’t eat just one!

Beef & Pomegranate Dolmeh

The Greeks call stuffed grape leaves"domatas," while the Persians call them "dolmeh." Whatever you call them, you can't eat just one! Recipe by Laura Bashar of Family Spice


  • 3 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 lb ground sirloin
  • 1 cup parsley, American, chopped, packed
  • 1 tsp mint, dried
  • 2 TBS pomegranate syrup
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cup basmati rice, cooked
  • 26 large grape leaves, canned or jarred
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice


  1. In an oven-safe large non-stick skillet, over medium-high heat add:
    • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 small onion , chopped
  2. When onions start to soften, about 5 minutes, add:
    • 1 lb ground sirloin
  3. Break down the meat as it cooks.
  4. When the meat is browned, about 7 minutes, mix in:
    • 1 cup parsley, American , chopped, packed
    • 1 tsp mint, dried
    • 2 TBS pomegranate syrup
    • 2 tsp lemon juice
  5. Cook for 5 minutes, then stir in:
    • 1 1/2 cup basmati rice , cooked
  6. Stir until mixed in and remove from heat.
  7. In a 4-quart non-stick pot add to the bottom:
    • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  8. On a flat work surface, remove and pat dry:
    • 26 large grape leaves, canned or jarred
  9. Working with one grape leaf at a time, spread a grape leaf flat on your work surface, with the vein side up.
  10. Add to the center of your grape leaf 1 TBS of rice filling.
  11. Depending on the size of your grape leaves, the amount of filling can vary.
  12. Starting with the stem, pull the lower part of the grape leaf over the filling.
  13. Tuck the tip under the filling.
  14. Keeping the dolmeh tight, but not pulling so hard that you rip the grape leaf, pull the left flap of the leaf over to the center.
  15. Repeat with the right flap of the leaf.
  16. Tightly roll the dolmeh into the top of the grape leaf. See pictures below for more guidance.
  17. Place dolmeh into the oiled pot.
  18. Repeat steps 9 through 17 until all the stuffing is used.
  19. Layer the dolmeh on top of each other.
  20. Pour evenly over the dolmeh:
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  21. When done, place a plate on top of the dolmeh. This keeps the dolmeh from expanding and opening up while cooking.
  22. Cover the pot and cook over low heat for 1 hour.
  23. Remove plate.
  24. Dolmeh can be served immediately warm or at room temperature.
  25. You can also keep the dolmeh refrigerated in an air-tight container for 3 days, then reheat when ready to serve.


Serving Suggestions: Great as an appetizer or a main course. Can't find grape leaves? Blanch and use fresh cabbage leaves. This filling is also great stuffed into bell peppers, tomatoes and onions.

Prep Time:

Yield: 13 servings

Cook Time:

Beef & Pomegranate Dolmeh Detail

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12 Responses to Stuffed Grape Leaves: Beef and Pomegranate Dolmeh

  1. chef_d at #

    Those are perfect looking dolmehs, the pomegranate molasses is intriguing. Great job on this challenge!

  2. Audax at #

    Your stuffed and rolled grape leaves (dolmeh) look perfect also I used pomegranate molasses with lots of herbs for my filling. I love your photographs I looked at the recipe in your link and it is so delicious sounding, great that you used your own recipe will done. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  3. shaz at #

    Ah, I like the step by step photos of how to roll. I've always wanted to get pomegranatte molasses but never quite knew what to do with it. It sounds yummy.

  4. Marisa at #

    Mmm the pomegranate molasses addition sounds great!

  5. Monkeyshines in the Kitchen at #

    Your dolmeh look lovely. It's wonderful how many variations there are on this delicious little bite!

  6. natalia at #

    Ciao ! I love your roll of joy ! I should try your recipe but never saw pommegranate molasses !

  7. FabFrugalFood at #

    Great job – LOVE the pomegranate molasses. I'll bet that is great on lots of things. Must try!


  8. cuppy at #

    That picture with the little bits of pomegranate is stunning! And that Mast-o Khiar sounds really yummy. I didn't know I could buy more authentic yogurt at my international grocer until just recently, so I might have to try this out. 🙂

  9. Mary at #

    Gorgeous photo with the pomegranate garnish! I love pomegranate molasses and need to try using it in more things. I'll definitely be trying your recipe.

  10. I've always wanted to try making these. Yours look perfect and delicious. Love all of the step-by-step photos. Good job!

  11. Merut- You can find grape leaves in middle-eastern stores. I've never seen them at the regular supermarket, but you might be able to find them at some of the gourmet stores. And of course, there is always Amazon:

  12. Merut at #

    Anytime I am stuffing anything I always over-stuff. My real question is where does one get grape leaves? Does one find them at your everyday grocery store?

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