I ate my first stuffed vine leaves as a child. My mom used to make them with rice and ground meat. And honestly, my favorite part was always the leaves. Most of the people I know make this dish as a vegetarian, with rice and other goodies such as pine nuts and raisins.
If you have some time and you would like to cook something special with a taste of more, go for this delicious recipe. This is the vegan version of it! Since it is time consuming, I suggest to prepare it for special occasions or weekends. For some people sitting and folding those leaves could be a kind of a therapy… no kidding, it’s very relaxing.
Regards the vine leaves: In some countries you can easily find them fresh, and that’s of course the best. I can’t get a hold of the fresh leaves, so I use the canned version of them…
What you need:
* 1 pack of vine leaves
* 3 tomatoes (1 sliced and 2 chopped well)
* 1 can tomato paste (please make sure there are only tomatoes in the ingredients list)
* 2 cups of white rice (the sticky kind)
* 1 tbs cumin powder
* 1 tbs coriander seeds powder
* Salt and pepper to taste
* 1 chopped Onion
* 1 handful of mixed dill, parsley and cilantro, chopped well
* Optional: toasted pine nuts, raisins, chopped walnuts. I usually like the pine nuts
* 2-3 spoons olive oil
What you do:
First, make the filling:
* Fry the onion until golden brown, then add the chopped tomatoes and the tomato paste, stir until the tomatoes are soft
* Add the cumin and the coriander, salt and pepper
* Add the rice, mix
* Add the dill, cilantro and parsley mix
* Add the nuts / raisins, mix
The vine leaves:
* First, prepare the pot. Use a wide large pot, and cover its bottom with 2 spoons of olive oil and 1 sliced tomato.
* Separate the leaves and wash them with room temperature water. Then lay each leave on a table and fill it with the rice mix. Close the leave well on the rice.
* Put each ready stuffed vine leave in the pot in layers; one layer on top of the other.
* Squeeze 2-3 lemons on top of everything.
* Pour 1/3 cup of olive oil on top of everything.
* Pour in a cup of boiled water.
* Cook until boil and then lower the heat and cook for about 40 minutes. Make sure they don’t get dry – you can always add a little bit of water or oil.
* Serve with fresh lemon juice squeezed on top. YUMMY!!!!!