~KALO MINA~ Happy July!!
One of my super favorite recipes. After watching our grape leaves grow everywhere in the backyard, I decided okay its time to make dolmades. My friend asked me to make a different style of dolmades, which involves quinoa. I said hey that’s a great idea, and they turned out very tasty. I love these with avgolemeno sauce, tzatziki dip, or fresh tomato & basil sauce. If you really want to bring the flavor out, add 1/4 cup white wine to the hot water broth, and taste the difference in flavor. :)
Dolmades- Stuffed Grape Leaves Recipe
*You can make different variations of dolmades, and after making three different kinds I asked my family which was their favorite, and they couldn’t decide. :) My personal favorite would be the cranberry, pistachio quinoa dolmades.
Cranberry Pistachio Quinoa Dolmades:
- In a blender add 1/4 cup fresh cranberries, 1/4 cup pistachios, and 2 cloves of garlic. Blend until ingredients are combined.
- Cook 2 cups quinoa and set aside.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and add 1 cup diced bell peppers to the pan. Add 1/2 cup green onions chopped, and cook until translucent. Remove from heat.
- Add the quinoa, and the cranberry mixture to the saucepan and mix.
- Follow the instructions below for PREPARING THE DOLMADES.
**If you do not want to use quinoa you can follow the RICE FILLING directions below, and fill your dolmades with that mixture.
**Get creative and explore new flavors with dolmades.
- 1 16 oz jar of grape leaves (drained and rinsed)
- 2 cups of hot water
- 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup of long grain rice
- 3 tablespoons of currants
- 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons of raw pine nuts
- 1/2 cup of finely chopped white onion
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
- 2 cups of hot water
- 2 lemons- juiced
- 2 tablespoons of chopped mint
- 2 tablespoons of chopped basil
- 2 tablespoons of chopped dill
- sea salt & ground pepper
- Optional- ground beef- season the beef if you use it.
Preparing The Dolmades:
- Prepare the grape leaves- If you are using store bough grape leaves, rinse them under cold water and drain. Grape leaves are best picked from grape vines in the Spring, while they are still tender. Select whole, medium leaves. Using scissors, cut off the stems and either soak in very hot water for 15 minutes to soften or blanch the grape leaves.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove the leaves from the water and lay them on paper towels to drain. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare the rice filling.
- To make the stuffing, heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add pine nuts & stir and cook the pine nuts for about 3 minutes or until they are golden brown. Add pine nuts, onion, white rice, honey, cinnamon, and hot water; stir the mixture, cover the pot, and cook for approximately 15 to 20 minutes or until the water has been absorbed. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice, and the rest of the herbs.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let the filling cool for 30 minutes before stuffing the grape leaves.
- To the stuff the leaves, start with the longest side of the leave. Take a leaf and carefully spread it on a flat plate and have the grape leaf facing shiny side down.
- Place approximately 1 to 2 tablespoons of the rice filling near the stem end of the leaf. Press the stuffing down into a small sausage like shape. Fold the stem end of the leaf over the filling and then fold both of the sides toward the middle and roll into a cigar shape. ( See below for picture.)
- Repeat the process until all the filling is gone. Place each filled grape leaf in a pan filled with 2 cups of hot water, olive oil and lemon juice. Place baking dish in the oven and bake for about 1 hour or until the liquid has absorbed.
- When grape leaves are done cooking, remove from the oven and serve on a dish and top off with the cucumber dip.
- Cover grape leaves with plastic wrap and chill them. Serve the next day at room temperature.
- 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup of sour cream
- 1/3 cup of diced cucumbers
- 1 lemon juiced
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 4 tablespoons of fresh dill minced
- 2 tablespoons of fresh mint minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a medium size bowl, combine all the ingredients, and chill for about 1 hour before serving.