Stuffed grape leaves are traditional to the Mediterranean Diet. You will find this delectable appetizer on the menu from Lebanon to Cyprus, from Turkey to Greece. Each country has their own popular ingredients for stuffing grape leaves, with the most common being rice and ground meat such as lamb or pork. The spices will also vary by cuisine, and of course there are variations within the cultures, from table to table.
This version is a traditional Cretan recipe with mellow flavoring and brightness coming from onion and a generous pour of lemon juice in the recipe. You’ll find these grape leaves to be positively delicious. They pair well w/ a spiced Greek yogurt, cucumbers, tomatoes and hummus plates.
Perhaps you are intimidated by the prospect of making stuffed grape leaves? Koula shows you how easy it is to make grape leaves in the video below:
Try our recipe and you’ll discover that working with grape leaves is simply a breeze. You will find them readily available jarred in brine at most major grocery stores.
Photo Credit: Christine Dutton
Greek Stuffed Grape Leaves (Recipe and How-to Video)
Rinse the grape leaves. If using fresh grape leaves, after rinsing, boil them in water with salt for 5 minutes.
Mix the onions, dill, parsley, mint, olive oil, lemon juice, rice, salt and pepper in a bowl.
Lay out each individual grape leaf and place a spoonful of the onion rice mixture on the grape leaf and wrap the grape leaf. Place layers of stuffed grape leaves in a large pot. Add two cups of water and 2 tablespoons of olive oil with a little salt. Cover stuffed grape leaves with a plate and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Drain and serve warm grape leaves with yogurt or sour cream.
Koula Barydakis was born into a long tradition of eating and living Mediterranean on the Greek island of Crete. She is a chef who has worked in many of the top restaurants in Crete and in Greek Town in Toronto, Canada. Koula is the co-author of “Foods of Crete, Traditional Recipes of the Healthiest People in the World” and is currently completing her second cookbook. Koula teaches cooking classes to tourists in Crete and has been hired to teach classes in other countries as well.