Meat, Bulgur, and Rice Dolmades

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 5 dolmades and (1/4) cup lemon broth)
Source: Cooking Light Magazine - July 2001
CL Comments: Once the grape leaves are rolled, they're braised in broth and lemon juice. Their fragrant, slightly tart taste adds flavor to the broth, which is thickened with cornstarch to form a dipping sauce for the dolmades. They make great appetizers. Look for grape leaves in the Mediterranean section of your supermarket.
Comments from a CA Kitchen: These are fun!! CL has lightened them up by minimizing the usual large amount of rice and adding bulgar, which I liked. You can eat them hot with the lemon sauce, or cold without, but to make them Really Mediterranean you could skip the sauce entirely and add garlic, mint, parsley, pinenuts and raisins to the meat mixture gaining overall 1 point but well worth it.

Rolling suggestions: I found that if I plunked the 1T of meat mixture smack in the middle of the leaf, covered it with the southern flap, then folded over the mound the eastern flap and then the western flap (or vice versa) I could jelly roll the meat package in the direction of North.


1 cup coarsely chopped fennel (about 1 bulb)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped onion
1/4 cup coarsely chopped green onions
1/2 pound ground round
2 tablespoons uncooked medium-grain rice
2 tablespoons uncooked bulgur
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 large tomato, cored and cut in half crosswise (about 1 pound)
1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or dash of crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
30 bottled large grape leaves
Cooking spray
1 (15.75-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
3 tablespoons chopped fresh or 1 tablespoon dried dill
Lemon wedges (optional)


  1. Combine first 3 ingredients in a food processor, and process until minced. Combine the fennel mixture with beef, rice, bulgur, and oil. Grate tomato halves over mixture; discard skin. Sprinkle beef mixture with pepper and salt; stir to combine.
  2. Rinse grape leaves under cold water; drain and pat dry with paper towels. Remove stems, and discard. Spoon 1 rounded tablespoon of beef mixture onto the center of each grape leaf. Bring 2 opposite points of leaf to center, and fold over filling. Beginning at 1 short side, roll up leaf tightly, jelly-roll fashion. Repeat procedure with remaining grape leaves.
  3. Place stuffed grape leaves close together, seam sides down, in a Dutch oven coated with cooking spray. Add broth and juice; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Carefully remove dolmades from pan. Combine cornstarch and water. Stir cornstarch mixture into broth; bring to a boil; cook for 1 minute. Stir in dill. Serve with dolmades. Garnish with lemon wedges, if desired.


Healthy Units: 2 per serving
CALORIES 132 (23% from fat); FAT 3.3g (satfat 0.8g, monofat 1.5g, polyfat 0.4g); PROTEIN 11.2g; CARBOHYDRATE 14.3g; FIBER 3g; CHOLESTEROL 22mg; IRON 2.1mg; SODIUM 255mg; CALCIUM 81mg;

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