Keto Greek Dolmades

Keto dolmades, a Greek favourite with some Balkan twist

Keto dolmades could be the second most popular recipe request we keep receiving on social media. If you’ve visited any Greek taverna, anywhere in the world, you most probably tried Greek dolmades, a mixture of vegetables and rice in wine leaves! However, wine leaves might or might not be available to everyone around the globe. Here at Greek Goes Keto, we believe that each of these dishes should be prepared with meat. For this reason, Keto dolmades, in our version, will include ground meat. This way we are lifting the dish to a level of richer nutrients and making it more appropriate for a Ketogenic lifestyle.

Famous Greek dolmades with vine leaves

Stuffed grapevine leaves are recognised as Greek dolmades. But, the original version cannot be called Keto dolmades in any case. Why? Because they are filled with rice and spices, almost nothing else. I am sorry, but this never was my cup of tea, before or after the Keto switch.

Dolmades can be served as an appetiser or a main course. If you have the opportunity to find fresh vine leaves, blanch them for 2-3 seconds in boiling, salted water with the addition of vinegar. Then, transfer them to a pot with cold water. When they are ready, let them drain in a strainer. Use a small sharp knife to remove any stems or tough veins. At this point, I will make a small revolution and change the Greek tradition of excluding meat from dolmades!

My origin, the land of meat lovers – Herzegovina

I know, it’s difficult to find organic and pesticide-free vine leaves. This is what kept me from presenting this recipe earlier. However, I remembered that in my homeland, Herzegovina, they make dolmades with collard greens (we call it Raštika). Naturally, this version is always filled with ground meat. This specific dish is called Japrak and I can say it’s the tastiest version of dolmades I’ve eaten so far. Usually, we serve them with some sour cream and thick tomato-based sauce. Naturally, you can use any type of greens for the wrapping, but as long as you have a good mear-based filling, you will end up with a nutritious and delicious traditional dish. Ideal for any weather. They can be served cold, warm or reheated after being frozen.

Keto dolmades or Keto Japrak

Keto dolmades (or Keto Japrak)

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Recipe by Roberta Kapsalis Course: BlogCuisine: Keto MediterraneanDifficulty: Medoum


Prep time


Cooking time






  • 20 leaves (collard greens or vine)

  • 500g (123) ground lamb

  • 400g (123) ground veal (you can use veal too)

  • 4 tbsp sesame seeds (alternatively use golden flaxseed)

  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh herbs: parsley, peppermint and basil

  • 1 tsp garlic powder (you can use onion powder as well)

  • 1 tbsp smoked red paprika powder

  • 1 tbsp sea salt

  • 1 tsp black pepper

  • Red sauce
  • 4 spring onions (finely chopped)

  • 6 cloves garlic (finely chopped)

  • 3 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 medium tomato (finely chopped)

  • 4 dried bay leaves


  • Blanch the vine or collard greens leaves for 2-3 seconds in boiling, salted water with the addition of vinegar. Lift them with a slotted spoon and transport them into a pot with cold water. Let them drain in a strainer. Use a small sharp knife to remove any stems or tough veins they may have.
  • For the filling, mix all the spices with ground lamb and veal. Add sesame seeds and mix well with your hands.
  • Take some of the mixture (approximately a size of a small egg) and place it on one side of the collard or vine leaf. Roll it up and tap in the sides. 
  • In a deep pot preheat the olive oil and sauté chopped onion and garlic. Add chopped tomato and stir well. Place your dolmades in and slowly pour in 1 litre of water. Add bay leaves.
  • Cook over medium to low temperature in a deep pot covered with a lid for 40 minutes. Serve with some sour cream and lemon slices.


  • For a typical Greek version, just boil the dolmades in water then strain them. Prepare the Avgolemono sauce and pour it over the dolmades right before you serve them. You can prepare the Avgolemono sauce by following THIS recipe. You can also serve it with slices of lemon and some extra olive oil that has been aromatised with fresh herbs.
  • You can also cook this dish in the oven, ideally use a clay pot. Start the sauce on a stovetop, then when you add the dolmades, cover the pot and place the clay pot in the oven. Cook for 40 minutes at 200ºC.
  • During the winter, we always add some smoked beef and rosehip to our dolmades as you can see in the photos.

Did you make this recipe?

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Nutritional label is counted per 1 piece.

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