(6 persons, Preparation: 45 mins, Cooking time: 45 mins)



This recipe is made with grape leaves stuffed with rice and is completely meatless. It only contains rice, onions, tomatoes, a few spices and herbs, and of course, some grape leaves to stuff. It is a great idea for a snack or a full meal and is packed with mouth-watering Mediterranean flavors and a unique blend of spices like sumac and dried mint. The stuffed grape leaves are best when cooled and with extra lemon juice.


Ingredients


(Filling)


2 cups rice, rinsed well

1 cup tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped

2 cups onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 teaspoons dried mint

1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper

1 teaspoon sumac

2 teaspoons salt

2/3 cup olive oil plus 1/4 cup for drizzling the stuffed leaves

1 lemon, squeezed

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 pound grape leaves

1 and 3/4 cups water



(Tomato sauce for serving)


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 teaspoon dried mint (or fresh mint)

1 large tomato, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon lemon juice


Cooking instructions


(Filling)


In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except for grape leaves, 1/4 cup olive oil and water.


If you have grape leaves in brine, you don't need to do any work on them, just wash them well to remove excessive salt. If you have fresh grape leaves, blanch them in boiling water for 3-4 minutes. Transfer into cold water and drain.


Cut off the stems of the leaves.


Place a leaf on a cutting board or on a plate, shiny side down. Place about 1 tablespoon of the rice filling near the end of the leaf, fold and roll it up. (See pictures below)






  5.   Place stuffed and rolled grape leaves into a pan either leaving the center of the pan empty or in rows without leaving any space at the bottom of the pan.

  6.   If there is any leftover filling, put it in a cup or glass, place it into the center so that it is cooked at the same time as the leaves or freeze it for later use. 

   7.    Pour 1 and 3/4 cups water and 1/4 cup olive oil over the rolls.

   8.   Cook covered over the lowest heat for about 45 minutes or until the rice inside the rolls is cooked.

   9.   Leave to cool completely before serving.

   10.  Squeeze lemon over it.


Tomato sauce for serving

Heat olive oil in a small sauce pan over low heat.

Add in tomato paste and dried mint, cook for about a minute.

Add in diced tomatoes, minced garlic and lemon juice. Cook until tomatoes are soft, about 10 minutes.

Pour the sauce over the stuffed grape leaves before serving.


Enjoy!