DOLMADES- VEGETARIAN STUFFED GRAPE LEAVES
Dolmades is the name for stuffed grape leaves. This recipe is the vegetarian version, plus they are naturally vegan. I love to bring these to dinner parties, cause they are the best finger food! The key to these Dolmades is OIL!!! I spent a lot of time making Dolmades 10 years ago and could never get them to be like the ones I would have in the restaurant, I searched high and low for a recipe that made them oily; I had no luck, but eventually figured it out on my own. It you want to make them like the ones in the supermarket and at Middle Eastern restaurants this is the recipe for you! We use a lot of olive oil in this recipe and it will make the tastiest Dolmades you have ever had!
1/2c. Pine Nuts
1 1/2c. Rice Long Grain
1 Med Onion Chopped Fine
1/2c. Fresh Dill Chopped
1/2c. Fresh Mint Chopped
6 TBLS. Fresh Lemon Juice (Divided)
1 3/4c. Veggie Broth (Divided)
1 Jar of Grape Leaves (the big jar 1 lb.)
Olive Oil about 24 oz. or 3 cups (Divided)
This recipe takes a long time, about 4 hours, so be in for the long haul.
It makes approx. 80 Dolmades
1) First off you are going to make Rice Mixture
Saute Pine Nuts in Skillet for 3 min, just till browning, then set aside
Take Medium Sized Pot - Saute Onion With 1/4c. Olive Oil On Medium Heat, Till Onions Are Soft.
Add Rice and 3/4c. Veggie Broth, Let Cook 15 min, till the rice is al dente, we will finish cooking the rice after they grape leaves have been rolled
2) To the Rice add the Dill, Mint and 2TBLS. of the Lemon Juice. Mix till well combined. Add salt and pepper to taste, over salt it a little. Let the mixture cool to room temp
3) Now take the Jar of Grape Leaves and rinse leaves gently in a strainer
Start to separate the leaves out gently it is easier to do this now than later
You can trim the steam off the leaves at this time also
Fill a large pot with water and some salt, bring to boil then add all the grape leaves, and cook for about 5 min till leaves are soft
Drain the leaves, then cover with cold water, and then drain again.
4) Place a grape leaf shiny or smooth side down, vein or bumpy side up, on a flat surface like a cutting board. You want the pointy part of the leaves facing away from you. And the side where the stem would be pointing toward you
Put about 2tsp. of your rice mixture close to the stem part of the leaf
Start to roll once, then fold in the sides of leaves and keep rolling till the end, folding in extra sides if needed as you roll.
Place on plate closure side down to hold together
Repeat till all leaves are used.
*Some of the leaves will be unusable with holes, I set the seconds aside as I go, I usually make 2 piles once totally unusable and one sort of useable and if I have filling left I try to salvage the sort of usable ones. But use your best leaves first!
Take the unusable leaves and line your pot with them. Stack your already made leaves tightly into the pot and on top of each other.
5) Pour 1/4c. Olive oil, 1c. Veggie Broth, 1/4c. Lemon Juice and enough water to cover the top of all the grape leaves. Place a plate upside down onto the grape leaves to hold in place. Cover pot with lid
Heat just till simmering not boiling, and then turn down to low. Let cook about 30-40 min. This is when your rice will finish cooking in the leaves so make sure to cover all the leaves with water so this will happen. They are ready when tender with a fork. You can test one.
6) Let cool, then gently take out your leaves and line them in a cake pan (cake pan is best but you can use something else) cover with more olive oil. Don’t be shy here make sure the whole leave is COVERED to the TOP in OIL; it is going to seem like over kill but trust me it is not! This is the key to making these the BEST ever, you want all that oil. Keep in refrigerator till you want to use, place dolmades on a plate to serve. They keep for about 3-4 days in refrigerator