Thursday, May 28, 2015

Stuffed Grape Leaves (gluten free, dairy free, vegan)

I'm always searching for something that I can eat as a snack throughout the day and I easily get bored eating the same thing (don't we all).  So when I saw a jar of grape leaves in the grocery store I knew exactly what I wanted to do with them. Okay, well, not exactly, seeing as how I have never actually made stuffed grape leaves before but I had a vision.  The internet is filled with recipes for stuffed grape leaves so I got a general idea and then came up with my own version.

There was one common thing I noticed in my recipe search. They all required the rice to be al dente when making the filling.  I don't know about you but my experience with rice is that if I don't cook it exactly according to the packaging directions something ultimately goes wrong.  So, I played it safe and cooked it how I always do (by the book!) and I did not notice anything odd with the end results. I think it might even be a little easier this way too.

I would recommend something to drizzle on top like my Lemon Vinaigrette. It kicks things up a notch!

Please note: Always check labels and manufacturing processes to ensure there is no evidence of any food allergens you may be sensitive to. 

Stuffed Grape Leaves (gluten free, dairy free, vegan):
1 cup uncooked rice
1/2 onion, diced
2 Tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
2 cups vegetable stock (can also use water or chicken stock)
1/4 cup ground almonds
1 lemon
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 jar grape leaves

On medium heat, sautee the onion, olive oil and a dash of salt for a couple minutes until the onion becomes translucent.  Then add the vegetable stock and rice.  Let it come to a boil then reduce to simmer, cover and cook according to the rice packaging directions.

While the rice is cooking prepare a clean surface for filling the grape leaves.  Juice the lemon and strain it. Once the rice is cooked remove from the heat and add the dill, mint, almonds and lemon juice. Mix together and add salt to taste. Set aside and let cool.

Prepare a pot for steaming with a steamer basket inside and a lid. Or use a  metal colander that fits inside a larger pot. If you do not have pots for steaming, you can simmer instead.

Gently separate the small grape leaves from the large ones.You will need about 25 leaves of each size (I double wrap to prevent filling from escaping).  Lay out one small grape leaf, shiny side down. Add one spoonful of rice filling to the center of the leaf.  Wrap the filling as if you are wrapping a present starting with the stem ends first. Then lay out one large grape leaf, shiny side down and place the stuffed grape leaf in the center with the seam facing down. Wrap again. Place the stuffed grape leaf in the bottom of the steamer seam-side down (or in pot with a small amount of water/stock and olive oil). Repeat this process until you run out of rice filling (or grape leaves...whichever comes first!).  Cover and steam (or simmer on low) for about 30 minutes.  Let cool to the touch, then drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice and enjoy!  Better yet, whip up some Lemon Vinaigrette to go with!

Makes about 25 stuffed grape leaves.

Questions? Comments? Recipe ideas?  I'd love to hear from you!


  1. These are wonderful! Thanks for sharing, I can't wait to have them again!

  2. O! I have ALWAYS wanted to make stuffed grape leaves, just have never been able to find "unstuffed" leaves in the stores!

    1. I know right? I was shocked I found them in my local grocery store. You can find them on Amazon (my go-to place for things I can never find locally).

  3. Love love love grape leaves! I see jars of grape leaves all the time in grocery stores - next to the olives. I always try to have a jar in my pantry for when I craving some grape leaves goodness.

  4. Oh, these sound lovely! I think they would be a great addition to a picnic basket.

  5. What a beautiful recipe, Nancy! I've never tried making my own, but this looks super easy!

  6. I just passed this into a colleague who was doing a little research on that. And he actually bought me lunch because I found it for him smile So let me rephrase that. Gluten Recipes