Vegan Stuffed Grape Leaves (Dolma) with Brown Rice

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Wow, I bought a jar of grape leaves about 4 months ago and still haven’t used it, till now. I don’t even know what came over me cos I was so afraid of making this and put it off for a long time, probably because I didn’t know how. Turned out, this is very similar to making spring rolls, minus the frying part.

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Whenever something looks complicated like this, I tend to want to make something easier. But the great thing is, after you make it once, you literally learn the skills to it so it won’t be hard the next time. At least, this is how it works for me.

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I first learnt of stuffed grape leaves when I went to a local Greek restaurant with my family, and I just LOVED the stuffed grape leaves. I was fascinated that it was sour, and wanted to know how it became that way, so I did some research about this.

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A note though about the recipe, you will end up with heaps more brown rice, and more grape leaves, but you and store it up to make more next time. It was very difficult to determine how much filling was needed, so usually there’s always more of one than the other.

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Vegan Stuffed Grape Leaves (Dolma) with Brown Rice

Rice
2 cups brown jasmine rice
3 cups water

Dolmas
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 tablespoon extra light olive oil
1 medium yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
A tiny pinch Himalayan/sea salt
2 cups cooked brown jasmine rice
1/4 cup vegetable broth or water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan/sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pure maple syrup
1/2 grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon fresh or dried dill
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon allspice
A few sprinkles lemon pepper or black pepper
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 tablespoon mint leaves (or 1/4 teaspoon mint extract)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 jar grape leaves

Rice: Note that this recipe makes a lot more rice than what you need for the dolmas.

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Combine the water with brown jasmine rice in a small or medium saucepan, and allow the rice to be soaked in water for half an hour.

Bring the saucepan of rice to a boil, which should take about 5-8 minutes, turn it down to medium low (3-4) and simmer for about 18-22 minutes, until the rice is cooked (soft to be eaten).

Dolmas: Finely dice the onion and garlic into little, mini pieces and add to a medium saucepan. Then, add a tablespoon of extra light olive oil and a tiny pinch of salt. Turn the heat to medium high-high (5-6 or 6) and saute the onions and garlic for 16-18 minutes until it starts turning golden brown.

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Meanwhile in a separate frying pan, add 1/4 cup of pine nuts (no oil needed). Heat the pan to medium high (5 or 5-6) and toast the pine nuts until it starts to turn golden brown, which should be about 6-8 minutes. Be sure to stir often. Once done, spoon it into a bowl and set aside.

Add the rice, water/broth, lemon juice and salt to the onions once ready, then immediately turn the heat to medium low (4) and stir and cook for 2 minutes.

Add the maple syrup, lemon zest (use a zester or grater to peel the skin off the lemon), dill, cumin, coriander, cloves, cinnamon, allspice, lemon pepper, parsley (finely chop it into mince first, then measure and add) and mint leaves/extract.

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Stir with the heat still on for a minute, then turn the heat off and add the olive oil. Stir some more and set aside.

Leaves: For the leaves, I used a jar of Poland Grape Leaves, but any grape leaves in a jar should work just fine.

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Pour the leaves onto a large saucepan and fill enough hot water from the tap to cover the leaves. Put it on the stove, turn it on high and let it heat up for about 3-5 minutes until the leaves look softer.

Drain the hot water and rinse with cold, and drain again.

Roll: Place one grape leaf on a flat surface, then add a spoonful of rice in the center.

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Roll the bottom upwards, about half way, then fold the left and right to the middle.

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Keep on rolling upwards until it’s completed, then serve immediately. You may want to serve with other food or on its own, totally up to you.

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Note: If you don’t like it to be too sour, you may want to only add 1 tablespoon lemon juice, as often the grape leaves can be pretty sour (unless you’re using fresh ones, but then again I’m not too sure how to prepare fresh grape leaves…)

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Vegan Stuffed Grape Leaves (Dolma) with Brown Rice
Serves: 2
 

Ingredients
Rice
  • 2 cups brown jasmine rice
  • 3 cups water
Dolmas
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon extra light olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • A tiny pinch Himalayan/sea salt
  • 2 cups cooked brown jasmine rice
  • ¼ cup vegetable broth or water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon Himalayan/sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon pure maple syrup
  • ½ grated lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon fresh or dried dill
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ⅛ teaspoon cloves
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon allspice
  • A few sprinkles lemon pepper or black pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon mint leaves (or ¼ teaspoon mint extract)
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 jar grape leaves

Instructions
  1. Rice: Note that this recipe makes a lot more rice than what you need for the dolmas.
  2. Combine the water with brown jasmine rice in a small or medium saucepan, and allow the rice to be soaked in water for half an hour.
  3. Bring the saucepan of rice to a boil, which should take about 5-8 minutes, turn it down to medium low (3-4) and simmer for about 18-22 minutes, until the rice is cooked (soft to be eaten).
  4. Dolmas: Finely dice the onion and garlic into little, mini pieces and add to a medium saucepan. Then, add a tablespoon of extra light olive oil and a tiny pinch of salt. Turn the heat to medium high-high (5-6 or 6) and saute the onions and garlic for 16-18 minutes until it starts turning golden brown.
  5. Meanwhile in a separate frying pan, add ¼ cup of pine nuts (no oil needed). Heat the pan to medium high (5 or 5-6) and toast the pine nuts until it starts to turn golden brown, which should be about 6-8 minutes. Be sure to stir often. Once done, spoon it into a bowl and set aside.
  6. Add the rice, water/broth, lemon juice and salt to the onions once ready, then immediately turn the heat to medium low (4) and stir and cook for 2 minutes.
  7. Add the maple syrup, lemon zest (use a zester or grater to peel the skin off the lemon), dill, cumin, coriander, cloves, cinnamon, allspice, lemon pepper, parsley (finely chop it into mince first, then measure and add) and mint leaves/extract.
  8. Stir with the heat still on for a minute, then turn the heat off and add the olive oil. Stir some more and set aside.
  9. Leaves: For the leaves, I used a jar of Poland Grape Leaves, but any grape leaves in a jar should work just fine.
  10. Pour the leaves onto a large saucepan and fill enough hot water from the tap to cover the leaves. Put it on the stove, turn it on high and let it heat up for about 3-5 minutes until the leaves look softer.
  11. Drain the hot water and rinse with cold, and drain again.
  12. Roll: Place one grape leaf on a flat surface, then add a spoonful of rice in the center.
  13. Roll the bottom upwards, about half way, then fold the left and right to the middle.
  14. Keep on rolling upwards until it’s completed, then serve immediately. You may want to serve with other food or on its own, totally up to you.


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