Better Than Burritos: Easy Beef Dolmas

Better Than Burritos: Easy Beef Dolmas, Magnificent Middle-Eastern Meals


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Beef Dolmas are an often-overlooked meal, but once you get in the habit of making then you’ll never want to stop.

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Time needed

20 min preparation + 20 min cooking

Serving Size / Yield

4 servings


  • 1 cup dried apricots
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 1 (8 ounce) jar of grape leaves, drained
  • 2 tbsp tamarind (in concentrated form)
  • 1⁄4 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 ¼ tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp allspice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

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First, we need to get our hot and cold water elements ready. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Then, fill a large bowl 2⁄3 of the way with ice water.

Grease a medium (2-4 quart) Dutch oven or similar covered baking dish with olive oil.

Next, plunge your grape leaves into boiling water (using a metal colander) and allow them to cook for about a minute. Once they’re done, lift the leaves out of the pot and drop them immediately into the ice water. Strain the leaves, use a clean towel to pat them dry, then set them aside.

Once your grapeleaf wrappings are ready, it’s time to prep the dolma filling. Combine your tamarind concentrate with 4 cups of hot (but not boiling) water and whisk. Then, slowly ad 2 tbsp sugar, your lemon juice, and ¼ tsp salt.

In a small bowl, cover your apricots in hot (but not boiling) water and set them aside to soften for 10 minutes. Then drain them and set them aside.

In another large bowl, mix together your ground beef, rice, allspice, and 1⁄2 cup water.

Place your grape leaves flat on a work surface. Be sure their stems are facing you, vein sides up. Pluck off their stems and spoon about 1 tablespoon of your beef mixture into center. Fold the right and left sides upr and over the filling, then roll upward (from the base of the stem to the tip of the leaf). It should be tight enough to keep filling contained but not so tight that the rice cannot expand.

Place a layer of stuffed leaves into the oiled baking dish, then arrange half the apricots on top and sprinkle with 1 tbsp. sugar; cover with another layer of stuffed grape leaves and another layer of apricots, and sprinkle with the remaining sugar.

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