Yaprak Sarma Recipe | Turkish Stuffed Grape Leaves


Adjust Servings:
1 jar pickled vine leaves
250 g rice Baldo or Arborio
1 pc onion peeled and finely chopped
30 g black currants
30 g pine nuts
a few stems fresh parsley chopped
a few stems fresh dill chopped
a few stems fresh mint chopped
3 tablespoons Olive oil
1 pcs lemon
1 tablespoon Salt
a pinch Black pepper

Yaprak Sarma Recipe | Turkish Stuffed Grape Leaves

  • Vegan

You can eat yaprak sarma at any time of the day, either as a starter or main course.

  • 75
  • Serves 4
  • Medium



What is Yaprak Sarma?

Yaprk sarma is a traditional Turkish dish prepared by rolling minced meat or rice fillings in grape leaves. They’re often referred to as sarma and are among the few unique cuisines that both vegetarians and meatatarians can share. The vegan yaprak sarma recipe uses cooked rice and spices such as fresh parsley, pepper paste, and lemon seasoning instead of minced meat. This makes it equally delicious.

The meatatarian recipe can use different types of meat, including chicken and beef. They are usually rolled in cigar sizes, after which they’re steamed and coated with olive oil.

How to make yaprak sarma?

An authentic yaprak sarma recipe is quite detailed and often takes a lot of time to get the ingredients ready. So, if you aren’t prepared, you might want to find a Turkish cuisine restaurant to enjoy them. However, the homecooked sarma tastes better, which is why you got to try it out at home.

One of the key things to note while following a yaprak sarma recipe is the type of grape leaves used. Sultana grape, also called Thompson seedless, offers the best edible leaves to use for preparing sarma. They’re preferred due to their large size, flexibility, great taste, and texture.

Sultana grape leaves can be hard to find at times. If that’s the case and you must taste this Turskih delicacy, you can use other broad palatable grape leaves. The other ingredients are as per your preference and are readily available in your local pantry.

How are Yaprak Sarma Served?

Yaprak sarma is served on a large platter along with olives, taramasalata, fresh tomatoes, roasted eggplant, and hummus spread.

You can eat it at any time of the day, either as a starter or main course. It’s also served during some special occasions in Muslim families, such as Ramadhan, Norouz festival, and Eid al-Fitr.

Recipe Origin

The idea of yaprak sarma is derived from dolmas, a variety of stuffed delicacies prominent in the Ottoman cuisines. Dolmas were first made in the Alexander the Great era by the Greeks and Turks after soldiers returned from Thebes with cabbage leaves and stuffed vines.  They were later stuffed with veggies and rice to give birth to the recipe.

Yaprak sarma recipe is native to Turkey. The name is derived from the Turkish word sarma, which means ‘wrapped.’  It’s one of the most popular cuisines in the Mediterranean region and surrounding areas.

Yaprak sarma can be found in many other cuisines around the world. In Moldova and Romania, sarma is called sarmale and is usually made from pork, onions, rice, eggs, dill, and thyme rolled in a cabbage leaf. The Serbians have a vegan version that uses cabbage leaves and is often enjoyed during Lent observance.

The Balkans and Croatians also have their variant of the same dish, which they call sarma and is composed of minced meat rolled in sour cabbage leaves. In Hungary, it is called toltott kaposzta which means stuffed cabbage. Interestingly, in some states, they are known as little pigeons. This is the case with Poland [Gołąbki], Russia [Golubtsy], Ukraine [Holubtsi] and the Czech Republic and Slovakia Holubky.

Yaprak sarma recipe is not only a popular Mediterranean cuisine; it has grown in popularity to become a favourite delicacy around the world.  The Iranian variety is called dolme barg mo, yarpaq dolmas in Azerbaijan, and derevi sarma in Armenia. The preparation process can be a little involving, but the rewarding taste and flavour are worth giving it your all.

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In a frying pan heat the oil and briefly sauté the onion until it becomes translucent.


Add the rice, which you have previously washed and drained, and pour over 150 ml of water. Simmer over low heat until water begins to evaporate. Now add pine nuts, black currants, mint, parsley, dill, salt, and black pepper and all simmer for a few minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.


While the stuffing is cooling, prepare the leaves by washing them well in cold water. Separate the thicker and larger pieces of leaves and cover the bottom of the larger pot in which you will cook the sarma.


Now wrap the stuffing in grape leaves as shown in the pictures. The goal is to get thin and long rolls.


Arrange the sarma in a pot next to each other. To avoid opening, cover them with the rest of the leaves. Add one lemon sliced, pour over two tablespoons of olive oil and pour boiling water over everything so that the sarma is topped with water. Put on low heat to cook for 40-45 minutes.


That's it. Yaprak sarma is done. Serve it cold as a starter or side dish, with the addition of yoghurt.

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