Stuffed grape leaves, also known as dolmas, are a beloved Mediterranean food. There are many variations of stuffed grape leaf recipes that differ from country to country, but in this recipe, we combine a meat and rice mixture with mushrooms, spices, and herbs to create a flavorful filling. Beyond their ability to be served as this delicious appetizer, grape leaves provide a variety of nutritional benefits. With a significant amount of iron, grape leaves can help promote healthy circulation. Iron is an essential component in transporting oxygen from your lungs throughout your body. These leaves are also packed with high amounts of vitamin A, C, and E. Additionally, they have a very high antioxidant content which is said to be ten times higher than the antioxidant activity of grape juice.
½ cup diced red onion
1 lb protein of choice (we used Beyond Beef)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp oregano
2 tbsp minced parsley
2 cups finely diced mushrooms
1 cup uncooked rice, soaked for at least 30 mins
1 tsp lemon zest
Salt and pepper to taste
1 jar of grape leaves
1 tomato cut into slices from top to bottom
Water or vegetable broth
Preparing the filling:
1. Saute the onion in a lightly oiled pan over medium heat for 3-5 minutes.
2. Add in your protein and saute until fully cooked.
3. Add in your spices and mushrooms and saute for around 5 mins.
4. Once the mixture is cooked, fold in your soaked rice, lemon zest, and salt & pepper then remove from heat to let cool.
Preparing the stuffed grape leaves:
1. Lay your leaves out with the leaf vein facing upwards and the shiny side facing down.
2. Add a small spoonful of the cooled filling into each leaf. Be careful not to overfill.
3. To roll up the leaves, fold the bottom of the leaf upwards over the mixture, fold the 2 sides of the leaf inwards, then tightly roll until sealed.
1.Cover the bottom of a medium-sized pan with grape leaves.
2. Add a layer of sliced tomato on top of the leaves.
3. Place the dolmas on top of the tomato, seam side down, and make sure they are tightly packed into the pan. This will prevent them from moving and falling apart while cooking.
4. Pour just enough liquid into the pan to cover the dolmas, and place an inverted plate on top to hold them in place while cooking.
5. Bring the pan to a gentle simmer and cook until the liquid is gone. Place the pan lid slightly ajar. This should take around 20 minutes.
Notes: The rice will expand as it cooks so be sure not to overstuff the grape leaves to prevent them from ripping.
Cashew Mint Tzatziki
1 cup Lemon Drop cashew cream sauce
1 cup grated cucumber
2 tbsp minced mint
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp lemon juice
1. Grate the cucumber then strain and press out the excess juice.
2. Add all of the ingredients to a bowl and mix until combined.
4. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Notes: Add more hot sauce to get your desired heat level