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Grape Leaves with Rice Stuffing

Ease of Preparation: Moderate

Preparation Time: 30 min
plus 30 min soaking

Cook Time: 1 1/2 hr

Servings: 10

Recipe By: Maria Khalife

From:  Mezze Modern
Used with permission of Interlink Publishing

Other Vegetarian Main Dishes
Other Mediterranean
Other Grains

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Grape Leaves with Rice Stuffing

for the stuffing
4 1/2 ounces white rice
2 tablespoons currants
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup sunflower oil
2 tablespoons pine nuts
6  medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup hot water
1/2 bunch fresh mint, chopped
1 bunch of dill, chopped
for the grape leaves
14 ounces fresh grape leaves
1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon super fine sugar
10 cups cold water
1  lemon, sliced and peeled
Prepare the stuffing by soaking the rice in cold water for 30 minutes, then rinsing thoroughly and draining. Soak the currants in warm water for about 15 minutes until they swell.

In a frying pan, heat the olive and sunflower oils, then add the pine nuts and onions, and brown slightly. Add the soaked rice and cook for 10 minutes. Then add the soaked currants, spices, salt, and hot water, and cook over low heat for 15 minutes, until the water has evaporated. Remove from heat, then stir in the mint and dill and set aside to cool.

Scald the grape leaves in boiling water, then dip in cold water to preserve their color. If the leaves are preserved in brine, soak them in warm water and rinse thoroughly to remove the excess salt.

Open each leaf with the glossy side facing down and veins facing upwards. Place a teaspoon of the rice filling at the base of each leaf and fold the edges inwards over the stuffing, then roll up to form a finger-sized dolma. Repeat until all the mixture is finished. There should be about 30 dolmas in total. Place any discarded coarse leaves at the bottom of a saucepan. Layer the stuffed grape leaves over them with the folded edges facing down.

In a small bowl, mix the olive oil and sugar together and pour over the vine leaves. Pour over the water. Arrange the lemon slices on top and a damp sheet of greaseproof paper over this, weighted down with a plate. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, then simmer for approximately 45 minutes. When most of the water has evaporated and the grape leaves are tender, set aside to cool with the lid on.

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