Sarma/Wrapped Grape Leaves

Sarma is one of my favorite dishes ever! It’s something I can eat all year round, any time of day. This is a very common dish, derived from many cultures around, at Armenian restaurants & homes. My mom typically likes to make this around the Holidays, I believe for several reasons. During the Holidays, Armenians visit each other’s homes for days and all you do is eat; sarma can last for days in the fridge and it’s always ready for the table. It’s filled with rice and vegetables, very flavorful and super delicious! It is, however, tedious; so I n general, you want to make a big pot of it. This dish is not to be confused with Dolma, this looks exactly the same: Dolma is filled with meat.


Below is a recipe my mom has been using for decades (who learned from her mom) and I absolutely love it! There are several different recipes, as there is to any dish, but I have to say my moms is my favorite! Every year she makes it, I tell her I need to learn so that I can carry on the tradition and I never get a chance. This year, I was able to finally make it with her and write down every ingredient with the correct measurements. Otherwise, it would be a “pinch of this” and “approximately that” haha! Yes, it is a long list of ingredients and yes it is a long process - but oh so delicious! I promise it’s worth it.

Serving Size: 40


3 onions
1/2 cup olive oil
1 big can of crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp red pepper paste
6oz. can of tomato paste
4 peppers (green, red, orange, yellow)
2 lemons
Black Pepper
Red pepper
1 bunch cilantro
1 bunch parsley
1 bunch green onion
1 bunch dill
1 bunch basil
1 bunch mint (you can use dried. 2tbsp)
2 cups rice
1 jar grape leaves


1. Chop onions finely and sauté with cup olive oil (don’t make red)
2. Add crushed tomatoes
3. Add red pepper paste 
4. Add 1 tomato paste
5. Let boil for about 5 minutes
6. Separately, chop & blend the colored peppers and add to pot. Let boil for 5 minutes. 
7. Squeeze lemons into pot
8. Season with red pepper, black pepper and salt to taste
Chop separately
cilantro, parsley, green onion, dill, basil, mint 
9. Add Chopped greens to the pot and mix all together 
10. Add the washed rice and mix all together (do not cook)
11. Separately, drain in clean water and strain grape leaves to get rid of the salt (open and leave in clean water)
12. Let mixture cool before and begin to wrap and roll in grape leaves 
13. Layer sarma in pot and add one cup water 
14. Cook on low approx 45 min until water is absorbed 
15. Eat as is or refrigerate. Enjoy!