Vegetarian Stuffed Grape Leaves
A uniqe Mediterranean dish, vegetarian and full of fresh flavors.
This recipe requires some work, but the result is definitely worth it!
What to take
[This recipe makes about 45 stuffed grape leaves]
16 oz. jar of grape leaves
1½ cups Basmati rice
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1 onion - finely chopped
1 tomato - chopped
1 carrot - grated
Parsley leaves from 5 sprigs - finely chopped
Mint leaves from 1 sprig - finely chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt & black pepper
Juice from 1 lemon
⅓ teaspoon sugar
How to make
Rinse the grape leaves in water for 15 minutes and drain.
Rinse the rice in water for 15 minutes and drain.
- Making the stuffing:
Lightly toast the pine nuts in a heated pan (no oil needed) - take out of the pan and put aside.
To that same pan - add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and saute the onion. Add the grated carrot and saute for a couple of minutes.
Put the sauteed vegetables and the pine nuts in a bowl.
Add the rice, tomato, greens, salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.
- Stuffing the leaves:
Place each grape leaf on a working board, stem side down.
Put a teaspoon-full of the stuffing in the middle of the leaf.
Folding the leaf: first fold both sides towards the middle, then roll the leaf bottom to top. Tighten each folded leaf, to make sure it is nicely tucked.
- Cooking the leaves:
In a large pot with a wide base place thick slices of potatoes to cover the basis of the pot.
Place the stuffed leaves over the potatoes, tightly snuggled together.
Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil on the stuffed leaves.
Cover the pot and steam on low-heat flame for 4-5 minutes.
Add boiling water until it completely covers the leaves.
Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.
Add ⅓ teaspoon of sugar - this is really just to off-set the lemon acidity. You won’t get a sweet dish, trust me.
Cover the pot and cook for 2 hours on low heat, until the rice if fully cooked (take a look occasionally to see the water hasn’t evaporated completely. Add boiling water if needed).
We recommend you place a heat-resistant plate on top the grape leaves to stop them from unraveling as they cook, but you don’t have to. Just make sure they are tightly arranged together to keep them from moving.
Once cooked, let the leaves cool down before serving. They are best served in room temperature or even cold. Here's a wonderful light Yogurt Tahini dressing to go with it.
½ cup raw Tahini paste
½ cup water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup plain yogurt
Mix the Tahini raw paste with the water, lemon juice and salt. Add the yogurt and mix well to a cream-like consistency.
YogurTahini also makes for a great dip for crudites.
To your health!