Baked vegetarian dolmades

Featured in Yolo Journal's summer 2020 edition, along with other recipes from Greece.

Yolo Journal Greece Cover


Fasolakia Yachni


This is a more unusual vegetarian version than you might find in a taverna in Greece. It is easy to double the amount & have lots for the next day too. They are fun to make as the Greeks do with people helping – all sitting at the table.
Lovely with tzatziki, or a dish of plain yoghurt with a little salt scattered into it.

makes 35-40

35-40 good vine leaves + a few torn ones
1 red onion, peeled
250 g (9 oz) mushrooms (swiss browns or champignon)
1 carrot, peeled
200 g (7 oz)zucchini
3 large ripe tomatoes
1 greek coffee cup of olive oil (about 4 tablespoons)
100 g (½ cup) medium grain rice
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
½ tablespoon dried mint
juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons grated kefalotiri or parmesan cheese

If using bottled leaves, put them in a bowl of cold water to soak for a few minutes. Drain, pat dry with paper towels then stack in piles & keep aside.
Using the large holes of a grater, grate the onion, mushrooms, zucchini & carrot – keeping them separate for now. Halve 2 of the tomatoes & grate those into a bowl so the skin stays behind in your hand.
Saute the onion in a couple of tablespoons of oil in a wide pot until pale golden. Add the mushrooms, carrots, zucchini & rice & saute for about 10 minutes on a gentle heat. Add the grated tomato, the parsley & mint & lemon juice. Season with salt & pepper & simmer for another 5 minutes. Remove from the heat & stir in the kefalotiri.
Preheat the oven to 180'C/350'F. Spread a few whole vine leaves at a time on your work surface, shiny side down. Spoon a heaped tablespoon of filling onto each leaf & roll up neatly & snugly, tucking in the sides after the first roll, then continuing to roll. Line them up in a baking dish – in one layer, & if they don't fit, then stack the rest on top. Halve the remaining tomato & grate over the tops of the dolmades keeping the skins back. Add 250ml (1 cup) of water & drizzle over the remaining oil. Sprinkle with salt & pepper. Rock the dish 2 or 3 times to distribute the liquid. Cover with foil. Bake for an hour, uncover, bake for 10 minutes or so more. Serve warm, or room temperature. Some love them cold. With a few drops of lemon juice & yoghurt on the side.
photos by Manos Chatzikonstantis, styling by Michail Touros