Vegetarian Stuffed Grape Leaves make a fine appetizer, or a main dish when served with pastitsio or Greek potatoes.
- 1-16 oz bottle grape leaves in brine
- 3 Tbsp golden raisins chopped
- 1/2 c collard greens or spinach, chopped and cooked until tender
- 1 c cooked rice
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 4 oz feta cheese, crumbled
- 1/4 c fresh parsley, minced
- 1 Tbsp onion powder
- 1 tsp ground Indian bay leaf (sweet) or cinnamon
- 1 tsp dry mint
- 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 2 c hot water
- 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
- juice of one lemon
- lemon wedges and Greek yogurt
- Rinse the grape leaves in a colander, separating them carefully so as not to tear them. Cut out any protruding stems or hard veins from the grape leaves, using a kitchen shears. Place them in a large pot of boiling water and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain in a colander and cool while you prepare the filling.
- In a medium bowl combine the raisins, collards, rice, egg, feta, parsley, onion powder, Indian bay leaf, mint, pepper and salt. Mix thoroughly.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In an 11 X 7 X 2 inch baking dish, place a layer of grape leaves as a “bed”. On a clean work surface, lay out a large grape leaf. If the leaf is torn or has a hole in it, take another small leaf and use it as a patch.Place 1 to 2 tablespoons of the filling near the stem end of the leaf. Fold the stem end of the leaf over the filling, then fold both sides toward the middle, and then roll up into a cigar shape (it should be snug but not overly tight because the rice will swell once it is fully cooked and could burst). Place the grape roll on top of the “bed” of leaves in the pan, seam-side down. Repeat with the remaining grape leaves and filling. You should have two rows of stuffed grape leaves, closely nestled together.
- Place a layer of grape leaves over the top. Mix the 2 cups hot water, olive oil, and lemon juice together and pour the liquid over grape leaves evenly. Cover with foil and bake 60-70 minutes or until tender. Remove from oven.
- Remove the top layer of grape leaves carefully and transfer the stuffed grape rolls to a serving dish. If liquid is left in the baking dish, spoon it on top of the dolmades. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Garnish with lemon wedges and top with Greek yogurt.