Foodie Blogroll

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Lentil Stuffed Grape Leaves

Lentil Stuffed Grape Leaves are a delectable Middle Eastern inspired dish that make an impressive appetizer or side dish. Traditionally, the grape leaves are stuffed with some sort of ground meat filling and then simmered in a large pot but for my version, I decided to stuff the grape leaves with an amazing spiced rice and lentil filling, then bake them in a casserole dish. While this certainly isn’t a 15 minute dish, the end result is worth a little extra effort! Plus, if you make the filling a few days in advance, all you have to do is stuff the leaves and throw them in the oven. If you’re looking for a way to use up your leftover grape leaves try Lentil & Yogurt Grape Leaf Pie  (a slightly unusual approach to grape leaves) or Turkey & Quinoa Stuffed Grape Leaves (a more traditional approach with leaves stuffed with ground meat and simmered to cook).

Lentil Stuffed Grape Leaves
Gluten Free
Makes 16-18 Grape Leaves (3-4  per person as an appetizer or side dish)
Click Here for Printable Recipe

lentil stuffed grap leaves

1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1/4 of a small jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger minced
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 cup brown jasmine rice
1/4 cup lentils
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1.25 cups vegetable broth, check for gluten
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Salt & Pepper
Grape Leaves:
2 Cups Water
20-22 Grape Leaves, drained (about half of a 16 ounce jar; you can typically find jars near the olives and capers in major grocery stores)
1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup vegetable broth, check for gluten
Nonfat Greek yogurt, for dipping

Making the Filling:
(You can make the filling a few days ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to use).

1. Add olive oil to a medium saucepan and heat to medium low. Stir in garlic, jalapeno, and fresh ginger and sauté 2-3 minutes.

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2. Stir in cumin, coriander, and fennel seeds, sauté 1 minute more until seeds are beginning to toast.

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3. Raise heat to high and  stir in rice, lentils, fresh thyme and salt, to taste.

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4. Add broth to saucepan and stir to combine all ingredients. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer rice and lentils 55-60 minutes, or until both are tender and liquid is absorbed.

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5. Season rice mixture with paprika, turmeric, salt and pepper, to taste.

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6. Remove saucepan from heat and fold in fresh parsley and lemon juice. Set rice aside until ready to stuff grape leaves.

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Preparing the Grape Leaves:
(If you’re making the rice at the same time, you can begin this process while the rice is simmering).

1. Bring water to a boil in saucepan or kettle.

2. Unroll grape leaves and stack  in a  wide, shallow bowl. Cover with boiling water and let sit 8-10 minutes or until tender (this is most likely more grapes leave than you will need but it’s useful to have extra in case some break or tear).



3. Once the grape leaves have soaked, remove from the water, about 5 at a time, and place in the center of a clean tea towel. Dry leaves off gently, then place on a paper towel lined plate. Repeat process, until all grape leaves are removed from water.

Stuffing The Grape Leaves:

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a small casserole dish (about 1.5 quarts) with nonstick spray and set aside.

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2. Lay one grape leaf flat on a paper-towel lined cutting board with the stem side facing you.

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3. Scoop out 1 tablespoon of the lentil filling and place on the bottom half of grape leaf, about a half inch higher than the stem. Form filling into a log shape.

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3. Roll up bottom of grape leaf just enough to cover filling. Fold in sides, and continue to roll until you the filling is completely enclosed (similar to rolling a burrito). Place stuffed grape leaf in prepared baking dish, seam side down.
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4. Continue stuffing grape leaves until you run out of filling or leaves, arranging them side by side in baking dish. You should finish with 16-18 rolls.

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Baking the Grape Leaves:

1. Once you’re finished stuffing the grape leaves, whisk together topping ingredients in a small bowl (olive oil, lemon juice, and broth). Pour mixture over tops of the grape leaves.

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2. Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 8-10 minutes prior to serving.

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3. Transfer grape leaves to serving plate, and serve with Greek yogurt for dipping, if desired. Enjoy!

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Nutrition Information--approximately 25 calories per stuffed grape leaf

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