Photo courtesy of The Martha Stewart Show

Welcome to 30 Days on a Mediterranean Diet, our new blog series! It’s no secret that eating the Mediterranean way helps with heart health and weight loss. But fast-paced modern living makes it hard to stick to any diet, which is why each 30 Days on a Mediterranean Diet post will feature a healthy Mediterranean recipe.

The first time I ever made dolmas, I was with a dear Greek friend of mine who insisted that she show me the correct way to prepare them. Believe me, I was not disappointed. We spent a summer Friday evening rolling up grape leaves and sipping on red wine. A couple of hours later, our delicious dolmas were done. I tried one. I fell in love.

When made “correctly”, as my friend said, dolmas are little pieces of heaven – and healthy ones at that. And this recipe features brown instead of rice white. No guilt, just Greek goodness.

Brown Rice-Stuffed Dolmas
From Martha Stewart
Makes 32 dolmas or 8 servings


5 tablespoons olive oil
½ onion, finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
1 cup brown rice, cooked according to package directions
2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon mint, finely chopped
1 teaspoon lemon zest
¼ cup currants
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
32 grape leaves (about 1/3 of a 16-oz jar), rinses, dried and stems removed
1 lemon, sliced crosswise into 8 slices

Prep & Cook

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until translucent. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add mixture to a large bowl, along with cooked rice, parsley, mint, lemon zest, currants, and pine nuts; stir to combine. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper to bowl; stir to combine and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place one grape leaf on work surface, vein-side up. Place 1 heaping tablespoon rice mixture in the center of grape leaf. Roll leaf from bottom up, folding in sides to form a 2-inch log. Place seam side down in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Repeat process with remaining grape leaves and rice mixture.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together chicken broth, remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil; pour over grape leaves. Top grape leaves with lemon slices. Place a second 9-by-13-inch baking dish on top of grape leaves and lemon slices and fill halfway with water to weight down. Carefully transfer to oven and bake until grape leaves are tender, 40 to 50 minutes. Serve immediately.