Stuffed vine leaves are a common sight in the Middle East, often as part of a mezze, which is a collection of appetizers or small sharing dishes. This traditional delight is packed with plenty of beneficial nutrients. Vine leaves are a great source of fiber, iron and vitamins including vitamin C, E, A, and K. The leaves themselves do not boast much flavor, but once cooked, the leaves absorb and reflect the flavors of the ingredients they carry. Although they take some time to prepare, these tasty parcels can be served warm, at room temperature or straight from the fridge, making them a versatile dish for all occasions.
- 100g vine leaves
- 1ltr vegetable stock
- 80g pre-soaked, short grain rice
- 40g fresh, chopped mint
- 40g chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 40g fresh, chopped tomatoes
- 15ml lemon juice
- 30ml extra virgin olive oil
- 5g Arabic spice mix
- Pinch salt
- Pinch ground white pepper
- 120g lemon wedges
- 80g cherry tomatoes
- Fresh mint sprigs
Preparing and cooking the stuffed vine leaves
- Mix the rice, chopped parsley, mint and tomatoes together in a large bowl.
- Season with salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon juice and Arabic spices, and mix thoroughly.
- Use a sharp knife to remove the bottom section of the vine leaf to create a straight edge, and place a spoonful of the rice mixture in the center of the leaf.
- Fold in each side of the leaf over the mixture, then from the bottom up to create finger-sized rolls. The roll should be snug but not overly tight, as the rice will start to swell once it’s fully cooked.
- Arrange the stuffed vine leaves in a thick bottomed pan, seam side down, and add the vegetable stock. Cover and cook over a low heat, and slow cook for 6-8 hours, until they are tender.
- Drain, set aside to cool to room temperature, and then refrigerate.
- Arrange the vine leaves on a plate, and garnish with lemon wedges, mint and cherry tomatoes.