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instant pot dolmas

Instant Pot Grape Leaves (Dolmas)

Summer Yule
Learn how to make dolma (AKA stuffed grape leaves) in the Instant Pot pressure cooker with my easy step-by-step instructions.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 8 mins
Total Time 1 hr 8 mins
Course Dinner, Snack
Cuisine Mediterranean, Middle Eastern
Servings 50
Calories 63 kcal

Ingredients

  • 50-60 grape leaves (from a jar)
  • 8 ounces lean ground beef (227 grams; 90/10 ground beef)
  • 8 ounces ground pork (227 grams)
  • ¾ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 8 small scallions, sliced
  • 1 cup dry basmati rice (white rice; tips for brown rice in post)
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped (about 6 ounces/170 grams)
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 cup olive oil (divided)
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice (from 3-4 lemons)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, sliced (about 1 lb/454 grams)

For Grape Leaves Dipping Sauce:

  • ½ cup nonfat Greek yogurt, plain
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon zahtar seasoning blend
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon zest
  • milk, 2% (for thinning sauce, if desired)

Instructions

  • Prepare your grape leaves as needed. Remove the stems and blanch them briefly if you need to tenderize them. I did not need to do these things with the jarred grape leaves I purchased.
  • Slice the potatoes ¼-inch (0.6 cm) thick. (Don't peel them.) Finely chop the parsley and mint, slice the scallions into ¼-inch (0.6 cm) pieces, and chop the tomato and onion to ¼-inch dice (0.6 cm).
  • With clean hands (in a medium mixing bowl), combine the raw pork, raw beef, parsley, mint, scallions, rice, tomato, onion, and ¼-cup of the olive oil.
  • Lay a grape leaf shiny side down with the stem end nearest to you. Place a 1 tablespoon cylinder of filling vertically in the middle of the leaf. Fold the bottom and top portions of the leaf over the filling. The grape leaf rolls are secured by wrapping the left and right sides around the filling. Don't roll them too tightly- the rice needs a little room to expand with cooking. (Tip: Watch the recipe video below to see how it's done!)
  • Fill and wrap grape leaves until the filling is gone. I was able to make 50 dolmas.
  • Line the bottom of the Instant Pot with the sliced potatoes. I was able to make two layers. The potatoes will keep your grape leaves from sticking to the pot while they cook.
  • Next, you can make a layer of dolmas in the Instant Pot. After making a one layer, you can make a second layer on top of the first. I was able to fit all my grape leaves in two layers. 
  • Pour the remaining ¾-cup olive oil, the lemon juice, and the broth on top of the grape leaves. Put the lid on the Instant Pot and close the vent.
  • Pressure cook grape leaves for 8 minutes on high pressure (“beans chili” setting). Quick release the pressure when the time is up.
  • Check the internal temperature of the dolmas after cooking with a meat thermometer. Ground beef and pork should reach a minimum safe internal temperature of 160°F (71°C).
  • After they’ve cooked, you can carefully remove the grape leaves from the Instant Pot liquid with tongs. Let them cool before serving with dip- they're very hot! 

To Make Grape Leaves Dipping Sauce:

  • Finely chop the dill and mince the garlic.
  • Stir the yogurt, dill, zahtar, garlic, and lemon zest together. Add milk (if needed) to thin the sauce.

Notes

This is a level 3 recipe (weight maintenance and active lifestyles). One dolma (without any dip) is only 63 calories. Trust me though, it’s really hard to eat just one (or even just a few). It can be particularly challenging with this recipe because it makes so much food!
Grape leaves are a low-calorie leafy green. However, olive oil is 120 calories per tablespoon. All of the oil used in dolmas brings the calories way up. 
Yes, olive oil is considered heart-healthy, but the serving size is very small. One of the mistakes I made when I was having trouble losing weight was drowning everything in olive oil.
If you aren’t feeding a crowd, I recommend plating your portion and packing the rest in the fridge right away. The leftovers will keep for several days, as mentioned above.
How to serve grape leaves? I typically serve dolmas as a main dish instead of a snack or appetizer. I’ll have 6-8 stuffed grape leaves, some yogurt dip, and a light Greek salad or garden salad on the side. This combination provides adequate protein plus high-volume, low-cal veggies for a filling meal.
Note: See the article above if you’d like stovetop directions for grape leaves.
Nutrition information is for one dolma. This nutrition information does not include the dolma dip, nor the potatoes at the bottom of the Instant Pot. Also, it includes only half of the liquid poured over the grape leaves (since a lot is NOT absorbed).

Nutrition

Calories: 63kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 2.3gFat: 4.3gSaturated Fat: 0.9gFiber: 0.5gVitamin A: 19% DVVitamin C: 5.5% DVCalcium: 1.7% DVIron: 2.1% DV
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