When I was in Montana visiting my sister I was paging through the books in her library and came across a cookbook with a recipe for dolmas. I had always wanted to try making them but had never put in any time further than that thought.
However, when we’re away from home so much mental space is cleared not having to think about dishes, laundry and all the other little things that get in the way during the day-to-day so I decided to give it a try!
I told Amanda I would make dinner and I decided to make Paleo Dolmas. Not that a typical recipe for dolmas isn’t Paleo. Although, they’re sometimes stuffed with rice, so that may make a difference for you.
My sister’s kitchen is pretty well stocked with ingredients that I typically use, so it was pretty easy to whip together a Paleo recipe or two while we were there. She had local, grassfed ground beef in her fridge so I didn’t have to pick up any but she did not have grape leaves so I made my grocery list and went to Good Food Store.
A Little Praise for a Great Store
If you’re ever in Missoula, Montana (or maybe just driving through), you should absolutely make a stop at Good Food Store. They have everything I would want in a grocery store including Jackson’s Honest, Jilz Gluten Free Crackerz, local kombucha, Paleo Magazine, grassfed meat, organic & local produce and a huge assortment of items in the bulk food section.
Travel & Grocery Shopping
Grocery shopping is one of my favorite things to do. I love going into local grocery stores and going to farmer’s markets, especially when we travel.
I enjoy seeing what’s locally available and what Paleo friendly food stuffs are becoming available around the country – and the world.
When we were in Barcelona there was a little grocer on every block and you better believe I dragged Jeff into almost every single one, until we realized they were all pretty much the same. :)
Back to the Dolmas
I whipped together the grass-fed ground beef with some turmeric and other juices, let that sit a bit (because I was impatient) and then stuffed them in the grape leaves and rolled those babies up!
How to Use Grape Leaves
I purchased a glass bottle of grape leaves with a clean list of ingredients (read: Grape Leaves) and boy oh boy was it a task to get them out of the jar! You must work on removing the leaves near a sink.
Since I had never purchased them before I didn’t know what they were going to look like when they were open so when I was pulling them out of the jar, bits and pieces kept ripping off. I’m not gonna lie, it was super difficult to remove them from the jar.
And I’m not sure if there’s some special tip for getting them out but when you eventually do shake, pull or use a combination of both you wind up with a huge roll of well packed leaves that need to be dried before cooking.
I pressed the leaves between two paper towels to dry them, after rinsing. I then set each aside before stuffing & rolling.
Once the meat had marinated and the leaves had dried I started rollin’!
Let the Fun Begin
This is when you wanna turn your favorite music up real loud and find your rhythm because it’s going to take a bit to roll all those little suckers.
With a single leaf spread out on the cutting board, I placed about a teaspoon of the meat mixture on the leaf (for some it was a little less or a little more, depending on the size of the leaf) folded the sides and rolled like a mini burrito.
I cooked them a couple different ways.
Since I’m a fan of the kitchen, I pan-fried them in a cast-iron skillet on the stove-top. While I was rolling mini burritos for the skillet, Amanda’s boyfriend Jake came home and fired up the grill so we threw a few on there to try the difference.
Cooking with indirect heat on the grill worked well, although they got a tad more crunchy on the outside, as opposed to the skillet-cooked dolmas.
Let’s just call this a choose-your-own-adventure recipe. :)
Serve with Rice
I served the dolmas alongside a batch of white rice, mixed with sautéed mushrooms, onions, butter and salt.
If you do not include rice in your Paleo diet, feel free to serve over Cauliflower Rice and don’t forget to add a huge salad on the side. At least that’s what I did. :)