Kale and Quinoa Dolmades With Yogurt Dipping Sauce

by Sandy Todd Webster on Dec 20, 2013

Food for Thought

In her new book Cooking & Eating Wisdom for Better Health (Balboa Press), Maria Benardis revisits her Greek roots and shares the simple splendor of Mediterranean food philosophy. This dish is her modern twist on the quintessentially Greek dish, dolmades. Instead of grapevine leaves, she has used another ancient Greek ingredient: kale.

The ancient Greeks loved to stuff items of food, and one of their favorites was to mash foods into a paste and to wrap it in leaves or breads,” she says. “I believe kale was one of these ingredients. I have also used quinoa instead of rice or bulgur as is the tradition. You could use cooked white or brown rice instead of quinoa.” Makes 10 large dolmades.

For dolmades mixture

  • 10 large curly kale leaves, washed well and stems removed
  • 1⁄4 C spring onions (scallions), finely chopped
  • 1⁄2 C uncooked quinoa
  • 1⁄2 C fresh zucchini, grated
  • 1⁄2 C carrot, grated
  • 1⁄4 C fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 T fresh dill, chopped
  • 2 T sunflower seeds
  • sea salt and cracked pepper, to taste

For dressing

  • 1⁄4 C extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 t ground cumin

For yogurt dipping sauce

  • 1 C Greek-style yogurt
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • juice of 1⁄2 lemon
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Recipe Key: C = Cup | T = Tablespoon | t = teaspoon | g = gram

Cook quinoa according to packet instructions. Set aside and let cool down. Transfer to bowl.

Place kale leaves in steamer, and steam them for 5 minutes until they soften. Transfer them to a plate, and allow them to cool to room temperature.

Add remaining ingredients for dolmades to quinoa, and mix well.

Place all ingredients for dressing in small bowl, and whisk. Add dressing to quinoa mixture, and mix well.

Lay each kale leaf on flat surface, and spoon generous amount of mixture on end where stem begins. Fold sides of kale leaf over filling, and then roll leaf all the way up, starting at stem end, to form neat parcel. When you have finished making all dolmades, arrange them on a serving platter.

Place all ingredients for yogurt dipping sauce in bowl, and mix well. Place dipping sauce on side of platter, and serve.

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About the Author

Sandy Todd Webster

Sandy Todd Webster IDEA Author/Presenter

Sandy Todd Webster is Editor in Chief of IDEA's publications, including the award-winning IDEA FITNESS JOURNAL and IDEA FOOD & NUTRITION TIPS, the industry's leading resources for fitness, wellness and nutrition professionals worldwide. Sandy joined IDEA in 2001 as executive editor of IDEA PERSONAL TRAINER and IDEA FITNESS MANAGER magazines and was promoted to lead the editorial team in 2003. More than 20 years in magazine publishing, marketing communications and creative services have shaped her straightforward approach to multi-channel communication. Early experience in Los Angeles as a sports writer/reporter, and then enriching years as a managing editor in allied health care publishing have pulled her across a spectrum of stimulating subject matter. Fitness, health and nutrition reside at the perfect center of this content continuum, she feels. A Chicago native, Sandy grew up fully engaged in various competitive sports. Her drive and dedication as an athlete translate to a disciplined work ethic and unwavering approach to challenge in her career. Shortly after graduating journalism school from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, she was recruited to L.A. for her first post in magazine publishing. After two decades of working on magazines--and now in the throes of applying the unbelieveable multi-media content delivery options available in the magazine 2.0 world--she is still "completely in love" with the creative process it takes to deliver meaningful, inspirational content to end users. She is an accomplished home cook and gardner who would love to combine those skills and passions with her health and fitness background to continue educating readers about a well-balanced, healthy lifestyle.