Southern Collard Dolmades with Smoky Sweet Potato Puree


Advanced |  Servings: 4  |  Ready In: 50 minutes |  Yield: 12 collard rolls

This healthy, vegan recipe is a Southern twist on the Greek classic Dolmades.  Instead of grape leaves, collard leaves are filled with southern Carolina Gold rice, one of the heirloom ingredients that’s part of Slow Food USA’s Ark of Taste movement.  This a gluten-free, oil-free dish makes a satisfying dinner and an impressive party appetizer.  Enjoy these  with Southern Style Vegan Cornbread Sweet Heat Tomato Jam, and Raw Chocolate Pecan Kentucky Derby Pie.


For the Smoky Sweet Potato Puree:

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the Carolina Gold Rice Dolmades:

  • 1 cup Brown Carolina Gold Rice (or other medium grain brown rice)
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 2 tablespoons pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 bunches Collards (at least 12 big leaves)

How it’s Done:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

To make the the Carolina Gold Rice Filling:  Place pecans in a dry pot.  Toast over mediu heat until aromatic and golden brown, 4-5 minutes.  Remove and return the pan to the stove.

Add the Carolina Gold Rice, diced onion, ginger, smoked paprika, and thyme in the same pot. Cover and toast until aromatic, 3-4 minutes. Once the rice is slightly darker and the spices have toasted, you’re ready to go. Be careful not to burn the rice.  Add 2 cups of water and the raisins. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  Cook until rice is tender, about 20-25 minutes.  When rice is done cooking, it will be tender but still have a little texture. Remove the lid, fluff with a fork, and season with salt.

While the rice simmers, prepare your other ingredients.

To make the Smoky Sweet Potato Puree: Combine the sweet potato and onion in a small pot. Add enough water to come up about an inch from the bottom of the pot.  Cover, bring to a boil, and reduce to simmer.  This steams the sweet potato and onion.  Steam until the sweet potato is knife-glide tender, about 10 minutes.

Use a wide blender, immersion blender or food processor to puree the sweet potato-onion mixture until smooth. Add the smoked paprika and salt.  Puree.  Taste to adjust seasoning.  Keep warm until ready to serve.

While the sweet potato steams, prepare the collards leaves.

To Steam the Collard Leaves: Use a knife to cut out the stems so that you have just the large leaves.  Using a wide pot heat a 1/2-inch of water to a rolling boil.  You can also use a steamer basket, set over 1/2-inch boiling water.
Add the collard leaves, cover, and let steam about 5 minutes, until tender. Make sure even the collards in the middle are tender.  Remove the collards, drain, and let cool.  Squeeze out excess liquid.

To Assemble your Carolina Gold Rice Southern Dolmades: Set up your Dolmades rolling station: Steamed Collards, Carolina Gold Rice, baking dish.  Scoop a large spoonful of the cooked rice on the big end of a collard.
Fold the “ear” of the leaf over the rice. Start rolling towards the two “tails” of the leaf, tucking in the ends, like you were rolling a burrito. Transfer to the baking dish.  Continue with the remaining collards and rice.

When done, cover the baking dish.  Bake the Dolmades at 350F until hot, about 10 minutes.

Serve Dolmades over the Smoky Sweet Potato Puree and sprinkle with the toasted pecan pieces.

Yield: 12 Dolmades rolls

Chef Katie’s Tips:

Other Rice Varieties: If you can’t find Carolina Gold Rice, use another long grain brown rice or wild rice.  You can even substitute with quinoa, faro, or barley.

Toasted Pecan Flavor: Toasting the pecans adds richer, nuttier flavor.  You can do a big batch of these at once. Store extras in the freezer to prevent the nuts from going rancid. Thaw the frozen toasted pecans on the counter 10 minutes before using in recipes.

Party Tip: This is a great make-ahead dish for a party. Make everything the day before. Cover the bottom of a baking dish with the Smokey Sweet Potato Puree. Place the rolled Dolmades on top. To heat, simply cover the pan with foil and bake at 350F for 12-15 minutes, until warm. Remove the foil, sprinkle with pecans, and serve with extra Smoky Sweet Potato Puree

Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving (1/4 recipe, about 3 rolls)

Calories 321.33
Calories From Fat (13%) 40.77
% Daily Value

  • Total Fat 4.89g 8%
  • Saturated Fat 0.31g 2%
  • Cholesterol 0mg 0%
  • Sodium 494.63mg 21%
  • Potassium 568.62mg 16%
  • Total Carbohydrates 6.56g 23%
  • Fiber 9.97g 40%
  • Sugar 7.48g
  • Protein 7.8g 16%
  • Calcium 36mg 4%
  • Iron 239.23mg 1329%
  • Vitamin A 15110.74IU 302%
  • Vitamin C 0.01mg <1%

Shopping and Gear List

  • CHIQUILIN Smoked Paprika, 75 GR
  • Diamond Chopped Pecans-8 oz
  • CAROLINA PLANTATION Carolina Gold Rice, 32 Ounce


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