Hi everyone! First, I have to thank you all for the wonderful comments and congrats on the book, the move to Philly and the VegNews mentions. Your kind words mean a lot to me and I just loved reading all the comments! ♥
Also, I’ll be announcing the winner of the decorating kit giveaway at the end of this post, so bear with me–or just scroll down to get to the good content. ;)
Now, onto the stuffed grape leaves. Stuffed grape leaves are from the cuisines influenced by the Ottoman Empire, including but not limited to Turkish, Greek and Middle Eastern cuisine. These little nuggets of deliciousness are most typically known as dolmades. Dolma is from the Turkish verb dolmak, ‘to be stuffed’, and simply means “stuffed thing”. Neat, eh?
I don’t feel very comfortable calling these things by such an authentic name, since I’m just some random girl from the Midwest with most of my dolmade knowledge stemming from restaurant outings. But I do know that I adore stuffing grape leaves with all kinds of goodness, and have been doing so for a while now. When I first moved out on my own–some 10+ years ago–I used to bring dolmades to my family gatherings, much to my parents’ and siblings’ dismay.
They would poke at them and ask hesitantly (not really wanting to know the answer) “what are those?”, with scrunched up noses.
I’d reply, quite chipper “Dolmades! They’re delicious. Try one!”
Sometimes I’d get a taker, but mostly I’d just end up eating them by myself and taking the rest home with me. No complaints here… I could live off these things. For those of you who are unfamiliar with them, the grape leaves are found jarred, generally next to the olives, pickles and such in your typical grocery store, and are often stuffed with a mixture of rice, meat and vegetables. Although variations on these things are a plenty.
At first they seem a little daunting to wrap, but they are actually very easy, as the leaf itself is often quite large and very very pliable.
First, you take a filling mix such as the one in this recipe:
Next, lay out your grape leaf on a flat surface so that is is completely opened:
Then, plop some stuffing into the middle. Fold one edge over, I always start with the bottom. And tuck in the sides and wrap it up!
Quinoa Salad Stuffed Grape Leaves ~ Vegan and Gluten Free
- 24-30 jarred grape leaves, drained and separated (This is the amount that’s in a typical jar…usually with more left over)
- 1 cup quinoa cooked in 2 cups vegetable broth according to package directions (rinse quinoa if needed)
- 2 cups diced tomatoes
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas, pulsed briefly in food processor until crumbly
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 cup minced fresh mint leaves
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1-2 tsp sea salt, or to taste
- 1 1/2 cups cooked Cannenelli beans (about 1 can, drained and rinsed)
- 2-3 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 -3/4 cups water to thin
- 1/2 tsp sea salt, or to taste
Let your cooked quinoa cool slightly and then toss with tomatoes, pulsed chickpeas, olive oil, lemon juice, mint leaves, minced shallot and salt. Place in grape leaf and wrap according to photos above. The tighter the better when wrapping, but use caution not to break the grape leaves–gentle but firm is always my favorite approach.
Repeat until all filling is used up or grape leaves are gone, whichever comes first. Your quantities may differ depending on the sizes of your jarred grape leaves.
To Make Sauce simply puree beans with lemon juice and a little water until smooth. Add enough water to make a runny, yet still slightly thick consistency. Salt to taste.
To serve stuffed grape leaves, place onto plate, drizzle with a little olive oil, sauce and top with freshly cracked black pepper. Store in fridge if desired.
And last but not least! I counted everyone in the giveaway, excluding myself of course and came up with a total of 119 entries- painstakingly hand written. ;) Then went to Random.org and did the little number dance.
The winner of the Wilton deco kit giveaway is number 62: Abigail!
Thank you so much to all of you for particpating! Abigail, I’ll be sending you an email shortly to get your mailing address!
Happy Weekend, everyone!