Food for Fuel: My Big Fat Greek Project

October 6, 2008 at 10:23 am | Posted in Food, Nutrition, Other, Rice, Quinoa, and Other Grains, Seafood, Vegetable Side Dishes | 6 Comments

One of my favorite things to get at Greek restaurants are dolmas (also referred to as dolmathes). I crave them quite often, so I looked up this recipe, decided it looked easy enough, and made them last night. Dolmas take a long time to finish, but most of the cooking time is hands-off, so my Greek food fest was the perfect Sunday evening cooking project and left me lots of study time while they simmered!

I scaled down this recipe to make 15 dolmas. I used a short-grain brown rice for the stuffing. It took much longer to cook than I prefer, so maybe next time I will go back to my instant Uncle Ben’s. I found the grape leaves in the Mediterranean section of my local grocery store. They come in a jar.

I was able to get more than a teaspoon of stuffing into each grape leaf, but they need to be closed tightly, so you don’t want to overstuff (a problem that I have with fajitas).

I packed them tightly into my pot in the hopes that this would help keep the rice from spilling out. After this I added the lemon juice, but I didn’t see the point in using olive oil also. I added a cup of chicken broth and simmered for an hour.

I decided to eat some of the dolmas as a side dish to a fantastic Greek salad, complete with fresh sockeye salmon. I found this recipe and decided to scale it down to use as a marinade for my salmon. I marinaded the salmon for most of the afternoon and then baked it for 10 minutes at 450*. It was a perfect Sunday treat!

For the salad, I used mixed greens, baby spinach, shallot, cucumber, Roma tomato, jarred artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, and of course, a liberal helping of feta.

Isn’t it pretty with the dolmas arranged around the plate? 🙂

And…I consider a Greek feast to be incomplete without tzatziki sauce! I made mine with the following:

  • 1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
  • Heaping teaspoon dried dill
  • 1 clove jarred minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Dash of salt
  • Squirt of lemon juice
  • Green onion

Served on the side for dolma dipping and salad spreading.

It was a wonderful meal and I have dolmas and tzatziki sauce left for lunch and beyond!

Nutrition of this Meal:

This meal contains 18 (record!?) ingredients from the World’s Healthiest Foods list:

  • Salmon
  • Cucumber
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Olives
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Tomato
  • Salmon
  • Low-fat cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon
  • Brown rice
  • Black pepper
  • Dill
  • Basil
  • Oregano


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  1. I love tzatziki on everything! And I am so impressed by your dolmas. I have very little patience for folding but it looks like it would be a fun weekend project– esp. since using brown rice seems like a great way to make ’em healthier.

  2. LOOOVE Greek cuisine.

  3. Very impressive! I don’t think I could ever pull of cooking those dolmas! I have heard from several people how wonderful grape leaves are – but they freak me out!

  4. […] the pan frying step, I wrapped the chicken in grape leaves leftover from my dolma project. I don’t know what to do with the rest of my grape leaves, except maybe make more dolmas, and […]

  5. […] | Tags: Beef, Bread, Greek food, Hummus, Sauce The original Big Fat Greek Project consisted of dolma making. That project took much longer than this project, but this one was stupidly undertaken on a […]

  6. […] Greek food, Hummus, Salad Apparently grape leaves last forever in a jar, because it’s been two months since I last made dolmas. I really have no other use for grape leaves, so I decided to make dolmas again last night in […]

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