A few weeks ago I rediscovered an old Greek recipe book I had long stuck in the back of my shelf. A plethora of recipes handed down for generations, each needing only a small alteration to make them whole food plant-based. As a side note my first trip to Greece was with my grandparents many moons ago over spring break. The smells, the food, the rich history, the view of the Acropolis above the city, lit up against the night sky, and then to stand in its midst the following day. My first taste of the thick licorice liquor that I would come to learn is a Greek tradition, ouzo. In the midst of these memories I started off on my quest to find grape leaves in the midwest. After ventures to most of my local shopping marts turned up empty, I turned to Georges International Market. There I found what I was looking for, Krinos imported grape leaves in a jar. Each jar contains approximately 50-51 leaves according to the label, probably 10 more than I actually needed for this recipe. As you can see from my photo, I need to practice my wrapping skills as some of my filling decided to escape from my grape leaves. I’m sure it’s an acquired skill from lots of practice…I’ll keep trying. We enjoyed these with my previous post, zucchini humus.
WFPB Stuffed Grape Leaves
Grape Leaves – layer grape leaves on the bottom of the pan to prevent sticking or burning. (preferably the broken ones). To fill, lay leaf flat with vein side up, place filling by stem end (stem removed), fold bottom edge up, fold sides in, roll to tip, place in pan seam side down.
- 1 jar grape leaves, rinsed well
- 1 1/2 cups brown rice (uncooked)
- 1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 medium mushroom, finely diced
- 1 cup mushrooms, finely diced
- 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 2 Tbsp. fresh mint, chopped finely
- 2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped finely
- 1 Tbsp. dill
- 1 lemon juiced and zest and 1 lemon sliced
- 2 cups vegetable stock + for sautéing
- salt and pepper to taste
- Drain the grape leaves, soak them in hot water for a few minutes and then put them in cold water for 5 min, then rinse them well. Separate them and cut off the stems if needed. Allow them to drain in a colander while you make the filling.
- Pulse the garbanzo beans in a food processor until you get a crumbly texture without any whole beans. Set aside.
- In a large skillet, sauté onions and mushrooms in vegetable stock for 2-3 minutes until the onions become translucent. Then add the brown rice and toss with a bit more stock to coat.
- Add the tomato paste, garbanzo beans, and the vegetable stock and mix in. Cover the pan and cook until the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes.
- Add the mint, parsley, dill, juice from 1 lemon, lemon zest, salt and pepper to taste, mix thoroughly. Allow the mixture to cool slightly.
- Lay a grape leaf flat, vein side up and place 1 tablespoon of rice mixture on the stem end of the leaf. Fold the sides in and roll to the point. (See note)
- Line the bottom of the pot with any torn leaves and a few slices of lemon.
- Arrange the stuffed grape leaves in tight layers. Place lemon slices on the top.
- Place a heavy plate upside down on top to weigh them down and cover with water to a level a little over the plate, then cover with the lid.
- Bring to a boil over high heat for 5 minutes, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until rice is tender, about 45 minutes.
- Once rice is cooked remove plate and allow grape leaves to cool.