Vegan Mediterranean Stuffed Grape Leaves
Image by Flickr / karathepirate
Compact and bite-sized, these fuss-free appetizers can be served warm or cold
Rustic and jam-packed with mouth-watering flavour, these vegan stuffed grape leaves will have you coming back for more
This is food at its most rustic and sensual. Bite-sized stuffed leaves are great as an appetizer or as a side dish. The taste is sweet and tangy from the combination of raisins, mint and vinegar.
If you don’t have grapevines in the garden, grape leaves can be purchased, preserved in brine, in most supermarkets. Rinse the brine off by separating the leaves in a bowl of cold water.
To harvest: Choose tender pliable leaves (closest to the end of the vine), big enough to roll around the filling – the size of the palm of your hand is ideal. Remove stems. Rinse the leaves in a bowl full of water and drain.
Make a tidy stack of 25 leaves, roll them up like a fat cigar and tie together with string. Drop the “cigar” into a pot of boiling salted water, remove straight away and plunge into a pot of cold water. Now they are ready to fill.
At this stage, the leaf rolls can also be frozen in plastic freezer bags for later use. This recipe makes 36 stuffed grape leaves.
- 250 mL (1 cup) rice, cooked
- 60 mL (¼ cup) green onions, minced
- 125 mL (½ cup) celery, chopped
- 125 mL (½ cup) fresh mint leaves, chopped fine
- 30 mL (2 Tbsp.) extra virgin olive oil
- 10 mL (2 tsp.) white wine vinegar
- 10 mL (2 tsp.) lemon juice
- 80 mL (⅓ cup) currants or golden raisins
- 60 mL (¼ cup) sunflower seeds
- 2 mL (½ tsp.) black pepper
- 15 mL (1 Tbsp.) capers
- 36 toothpicks
- Preheat oven to 350° F (175°C).
- In a large bowl, thoroughly combine all the ingredients above.
- Spread one grape leaf at a time out on a flat dry surface, removing the stem if necessary.
- Put 20 mL (1½ Tbsp.) of the rice mixture at the base near the stem. Fold the outer edges of the leaf in, and roll up tightly. If needed, push a toothpick through the roll to hold everything in place.
- Arrange the grape leaves in a glass or ceramic baking dish and drizzle with a little olive oil and lemon juice, ensuring that each leaf gets coated.
- Cover the bottom of the dish with 6 mm (¼-in.) water.
- Cover with a lid (or tin foil), and bake for 10 minutes.
- Serve warm or cold.