Cleveland Cooks: Greek Fest Stuffed Grape Leaves

Updated: Jul. 28, 2023 at 4:00 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - It’s time for the Annual Greek Festival at Saints Constatine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church in Cleveland Heights.

Volunteers have been working for more than two months to prepare tens of thousands of pastries, and thousands of dolmathes, or stuffed grape leaves for part of their food offerings during the event.

Angela Aivazis, one of the hundreds of volunteers, shared their tried-and-true method for this Greek specialty.


Snip steams off grape leaves and boil in water for about 30 seconds to get the brine off. Store them in between paper towels to dry them off. If you picked them fresh, boil for a minute or two to soften.

Mix together:

  • 1lb. ground beef
  • 1 c. uncooked rice
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 small can diced or crushed tomatoes
  • ¼ melted butter
  • dried dill
  • dried mint
  • dried parsley
  • juice from one lemon, to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Place a few grape leaves in the bottom of a casserole dish to line it.
  • Roll grape leave with about a tablespoon of filling (depending on size of the leaf with vein side facing up.
  • Place rolled dolmathes in a layer, snuggly, into the casserole dish. Add second layer with dolmathes faces the opposite direction.
  • Add more loose grape leaves on top to cover.
  • Pour chicken broth mixed with lemon, salt/pepper and dill in the dish, enough to cover.
  • Place oven-safe dishes on top of the dolmathes so they don’t float and open while cooking.
  • Cover with foil and bake at 350* for about an hour, or follow the same steps in a pot to cook (covered) on the stove top on medium heat for about an hour.