How to Turn Moussaka into Dolmades

Senior year in high school I went to Greece for a class trip, and it was loads of fun. What was not loads of fun, however, was the copious amounts of moussaka I ate.


I am now an expert on moussaka. I ate moussaka with eggplant, moussaka with potatoes, moussaka with pasta, moussaka with potatoes and eggplant…eugh.

Please enjoy this throwback photo of the actual moussaka I ate:

This was before I knew all about lighting...sort of.

By the end of the trip, I was just angry. So angry at moussaka. In fact, whenever something would go wrong, I would utter, “Moussaka!” sharply under my breath.


On a side note, who knew innocent made moussaka?


Anyway, the only thing I wanted to eat were dolmades. I mean, was it that hard to ask?  Well, I didn’t get any and flew home. And promptly forgot about it (I was rather focused preserving the melmakarona I flew home).

Fast forward 3 years. Claire turns 21. Claire goes out to dinner at a Greek restaurant. Claire has a dish that tastes suspiciously like the inside of dolmades. The wheels start turning in Claire’s head. She formulates this:

Deconstructed Dolmades

0.75 cup quinoa, soaked/rinsed

1 cup cooked chickpeas

5-6 preserved grape leaves

3 TBL chopped parsley

1.5 TBL chopped fresh mint

2 cloves garlic, minced

0.5 small onion, minced

3 TBL lime juice

1.5 TBL tahini (or hummus works, too)

0.25 tsp cumin

0.25 tsp cinnamon

1. Place quinoa in pot with 1.5 cups water. Bring to a boil and let simmer until all the liquid is cooked away. Fluff quinoa.

2. Combine remaining ingredients in large bowl. Add quinoa and toss.

3. Refrigerate for at least two hours to let the flavors…”mingle.”

Turn this...

...into this!

Unfortunately, now it’s all gone.



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