Pumpkin Leaf and Choko Dolmades with Society Garlic Tahini Dressing

One of the best meals I've ever had was in Istanbul 15 years ago - at a local restaurant in a small alleyway.  The flavours and textures were incredible. I'd never tasted real dolmades before - just the canned ones. They are completely different - the taste experience has stayed with me and my mouth waters just thinking of being there.

I've recently started making my own. I forage through my permaculture garden and find a range of ingredients to make seasonal local versions of this very tasty meal and I am very impressed.  They taste so good!

Pumpkin leaf dolmades.

It may seem unlikely, but pumpkin leaves steamed lightly for just a few minutes lose their prickliness and become amazingly soft and delicious. Pumpkin leaves can be added to anything you use spinach in - spanikopita, quiche, stir-fry, soup, stew, curry ....

Here is my recipe for dolmades made with fresh garden ingredients.

Recipe: Pumpkin Leaf and Choko Dolmades



  1. Steam the pumpkin leaves for 5 mins and set aside to cool.
  2. Dice the onion and sauté with 1/4 cup of olive oil.
  3. When they turn translucent, add the toasted pine nuts/seeds* and sauté for 5 more minutes.
  4. Add rice and stir constantly for 5-10 minutes until the rice is translucent.
  5. Add fennel, cinnamon, lemon, pepper, dried currants allspice and chopped parsley.
  6. After another quick stir, add 1/2 cup of boiling water and simmer on low medium heat for 15-20 minutes until all the liquid has absorbed into the rice mixture.
  7. Take off heat and let cool.
  8. Roll a tablespoon of the mix onto each leaf and roll. 
  9. Serve with fresh natural yoghurt or tahini sauce (recipe below)

Put the veined side of the leaf up - place mixture near the stem end, roll once, fold sides over then finish rolling to the tip.

Note: Normally at this point with dolmades, the rolls are then packed very tightly into a pot and simmered with oil, lime/lemon juice and water for approx 45 mins until the liquid is absorbed. However I find that the pumpkin leaves do not survive this process like grape leaves do. The choko leaves or OK with it.

* I use a flat plate sandwich maker to quickly toast seeds.

I made balls with the left over rice mixture and rolled them in toasted sesame seeds - mmm...an absolutely delicious lunchbox treat.

The abundant and easy to grow Society Garlic - the flowers have more garlic potency than the strappy leaves. They taste great in this tahini dressing. They taste great too in pesto.

Society Garlic Tahini Dressing



  1. Whisk together by hand or in food processor until good smooth consistency

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