Hello dear friends. I’m back to share about my latest food exploration into Middle Eastern dishes that support our health. I want to share a recipe for a Grape Leaf Casserole that eliminates the time necessary to stuff and roll each grape leaf individually. It’s a recipe I roughly adapted from The Vegetarian Times. It tastes really delicious. Even my husband Bill loved it, and he’s not a big fan of stuffed grape leaves (dolmas) like I am.
This is a classic High Nutrient Dense (HND) dish and can even serve as a one-dish meal if you’re on the run. So, what makes it High Nutrient Dense? Did you know that grape leaves have more calcium than almonds, flax or collards? And the parsley and mint are both at the very top of the HND food chart. So, along with all the other nutritious ingredients, this is a great HND dish. I love sharing dishes from around the world with exotic tastes that deliver amazing health.
After making several Middle Eastern dishes, I give great respect and appreciation for those who have made this food for generations. It can be very time consuming and requires great dedication and care. Kudos to all who bring their hearts into the kitchen and prepare this wonderful food for their families.
So here’s how to make this delicious Grape Leaf Casserole. Enjoy exploring and sharing the tastes of the Middle East with this creation… while giving your health a real zing of high nutrient density as well. Who said healthy food can’t taste great?
STUFFED GRAPE LEAF CASSEROLE
1 jar of grape leaves (30 leaves) Buy the leaves cured in water and salt
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons olive oil (to coat casserole dish before adding grape leaves and to brush top of casserole before baking)
1 large onion, finely diced (2 cups)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup brown rice
11 ounces of organic tomato paste, plus additional purified water to equal 4 cups liquid (use half of liquid in cooking of rice and half to cooked rice mixture)
1 cup chopped unsalted, hulled pistachio nuts
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons dried pomegranate (Optional) (This is available at Indian Spice Stores and adds a slightly sweet taste to the dish)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
In a large skillet, sauté onion and garlic for 10 minutes. Add brown rice, 2 cups of tomato paste and purified water mixture. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 30 minutes. Then remove from heat.
While rice is cooking, chop pistachio nuts, parsley and mint leaves and squeeze lemons. Add this to rice after it has cooked for 30 minutes along with remaining 2 cups of tomato paste and purified water mixture as well as pomegranate powder (optional). Season with black pepper. Cover and let rest while preparing casserole dish with grape leaves.
Preheat oven to 350º F.
Remove grape leaves from jar, rinse in cold water and put them in a pot of boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Oil a 2 quart baking dish with olive oil. Cut stem off each grape leaf and line bottom and side of baking dish with them, stem side up. Allow leaves to hang over sides of dish (photo-top left). Spread half of rice mixture over grape leaves. Top rice with another layer of grape leaves. Add remaining rice mixture. Cover casserole with remaining grape leaves and seal closed by folding the grape leaves hanging over the edges in toward the center (photo-centre right). Brush top with olive oil. Bake 30 minutes or until grape leaves on top darken and casserole looks firm and dry.
To serve, dip knife in cold water. Cut straight down with tip of knife to make 8 servings. Remove each serving with spatula. Serve.
To your Amazing Health,