Stuffed grape leaves are a delicious snack and can often be found in Greek and Middle Eastern restaurants. Homemade grape leave wraps, also known as Dolmades, provide a delicious vegan treat not only during the holidays, but year-round. They are surprisingly easy and affordable to make, and combine some of the best spices out there, including dill, mint and lemon with rice and pine nuts. Can you say yummy?
Begin by making the filling of the grape leaves with rice:
- ½ cup pine nuts
- 1 ½ cups basmati rice
- 1 small onion
- ½ cup of fresh dill
- ¼ cup fresh mint
- 1 tbsp lemon
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
Begin by roasting the pine nuts and onion in a frying pan with a little bit of olive oil. After a few minutes, add the rice, one cup vegetable broth and cook rice al dente. If you completely cook the rice, it will be mushy in the grape leaves so only half cook. Once the rice is complete, add dill, mint, lemon, salt and pepper and allow to cool.
Prepping the grape leaves:
- Grape Leaves
Take the grape leaves (either jarred or fresh) and put into a pot of boiling water with salt. Allow the leaves to soften until pliable, but do not over-soften or they will tear. Remove from water and pat dry.
Wrapping and cooking the grape leaves:
Once dry, spread the grape leaf out and put two scoops of filling in near the base of the leaf. Fold the two bottom sections of the leaf up and then the sides of the leaf before rolling tightly into a grape leaf roll. Repeat.
Once the grape leaves are wrapped, pack firmly into a pot in layers. Pour the remaining vegetable broth, lemon juice and ¼ cup of olive oil over the wraps. Bring to a simmer on medium heat, but do not boil or the leaves will fall apart. Lower heat once simmering and use a plate that can be heated to press down on the grape leaves and keep them in place. Let the leaves simmer for 30 minutes until tender. Drain excess water and enjoy once cool.
The grape leaves are relatively easy to make and will give you a healthy snack to munch on while waiting for that main holiday meal. They also keep well, so you can eat them throughout the week once your leftovers run out. Enjoy!