Stuffed Grape Leaves

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Leigh Ann Ross

This classic Mediterranean dish makes a great party hors d'oeuvre. Brined flavor comes from both the grape leaves and the salty feta cheese.

Yield: 12 servings (serving size: 3 stuffed grape leaves)
Recipe from Cooking Light

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Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 128
  • Fat: 6.5g
  • Saturated fat: 1.9g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 3.4g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.8g
  • Protein: 4g
  • Carbohydrate: 14.4g
  • Fiber: 1.2g
  • Cholesterol: 8.4mg
  • Iron: 2.1mg
  • Sodium: 210mg
  • Calcium: 175mg

Ingredients

  • 42 bottled large grape leaves (about 6 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups minced yellow onion (about 1 medium)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced green onions (about 1 bunch)
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds, chopped
  • 3 cups water, divided
  • 3/4 cup uncooked long-grain rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
  • Lemon wedges (optional)
  • Fat-free Greek-style plain yogurt (optional)

Preparation

  1. 1. Rinse grape leaves with cold water; drain well. Pat dry with paper towels. Remove stems; discard.
  2. 2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add yellow onion to pan; cook 10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add green onions and almonds; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in 2 cups water; bring to a boil. Add rice, salt, pepper, and cinnamon; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 22 minutes or until rice is tender. Remove from heat; cool. Stir in cheese, parsley, mint, and dill.
  3. 3. Spoon 1 1/2 heaping tablespoons rice mixture onto center of 1 grape leaf. Bring 2 opposite points of leaf to center; fold over filling. Beginning at 1 short side, roll up leaf tightly, jelly-roll fashion. Repeat procedure with remaining rice mixture and 35 grape leaves. Place 12 stuffed grape leaves, seam sides down, in large saucepan lined with 3 grape leaves. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon oil and 1 tablespoon juice. Top with 12 stuffed grape leaves; drizzle with 1 teaspoon oil and 1 tablespoon juice. Repeat procedure with remaining 12 stuffed grape leaves, 1 teaspoon oil, and 1 tablespoon juice. Cover with remaining 3 grape leaves; pour remaining 1 cup water over leaves. Invert a small heatproof plate on top of leaves. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 1/2 hours. Remove from heat, and let stand in saucepan 2 hours. Serve at room temperature with lemon wedges and yogurt, if desired.
  4. Wine note: The piquant quality of grape leaves calls for a wine with good acidity to match, while the salty feta needs something thirst-quenching and bright. Boutari Santorini 2008 ($18) is a natural choice. --Jeffery Lindenmuth
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