Grape Leaves…On the Grill!

Last year I tried to experiment with making homemade dolmades, but was unsuccessful with the rice bit.  It was not cooked all the way through…so, I have not given it another go ever since.  Having been exposed to dolmades at a young age, thanks to a handful of friends whose moms’ were experts in the making of, my palette simply fell in love with them.

Although this afternoon was not quite redemption day, I made a similar gesture to this childhood favorite…without the rice and on the grill!  My favorite part of these kebobs are that the leaves are charred–adding unique flavors and texture to the experience.




  • 1-2 lb organic ground pork (or beef, chicken, turkey, or meat-substitute)
  • 1 tbsp shallots
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 5-6 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 sliced, small yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil for brushing on the leaves.

Vietnamese Dipping Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Fresh lime juice (to taste)
  • Sriracha or hot peppers, finely chopped

(Optional for garnish; and/or mixed in with the dipping sauce)

  • Chives or green onions, finely chopped
  • Fresh shallots, finely chopped
  • Roasted peanuts, roughly chopped

Vegetarian suggestions:

  • Replace ground pork or beef with 1/2 lb soy ground beef product and 1/2 lb silken tofu


  1. Combine all of the filling ingredients except for the olive oil and grape leaves. Mix well. Let the meat mixture rest in the fridge while you prepare the leaves for rolling.
  2. Wash and dry all of the leaves (I rinsed them even if they are from a can). Cut off the small stems from each one.  Lay out the leaves in a stack with the shiny side face down. (Preparing these ahead of time will make it much easier when it comes to rolling the wraps).
  3. When rolling the leaves, I prefer to roll the wrap like egg rolls so that the marinated meat are neatly tucked in. Roll around 1 generous tablespoon of meat in each leaf in the shape of a slender sausage.
  4. Once you have rolled all of your mixture, skewer the wrapped meat with 1 or 2 skewers (depending on the length of your wrap) for grilling (or if you prefer broiling).
  5. Next, make some dipping sauce, and serve!

If you are grilling, pop the skewers on the grill for about 5 minutes on each side, until the leaves are slightly charred. If you are broiling do the same, but watch more closely if you have not used your broiler before so you don’t end up with blackened grape leaves.  TIP:  Wrap each expose end of the bamboo skewer with foil to prevent them from burning whilst in the oven.