I've never been able to avoid stuffed grape leaves in Greek or Middle Eastern restaurants, but until now I've never actually tried making them. But looking for something with a Mediterranean flare to go along with my watermelon and feta salad with olives, I found the perfect excuse to try my hand at this dolmadakia recipe that I've been hoarding for years.
Instead of stuffing the grape leaves with a rice filling as is usual, this version uses quinoa to give the dolmadakia a nice, nutty flavour and slightly crunchier texture. And, as I never tire of pointing out, quinoa has a much more complete nutritional profile than rice. Mixed with herbs, shallots and pine nuts, these stuffed grape leaves are sure to fly off the plate, so double or triple the recipe for parties.
Notes: If fresh grape leaves are unavailable, which is probably the case for most of us, use jarred leaves instead of canned so that you can see inside to make sure the veins of the leaves are not too thick. And check the ingredients — grape leaves packed in brine shouldn't need preservatives that are found in many brands.
If you've never opened a jar of grape leaves before, they come rolled up in bundles of about 75 leaves each. If you're only making one, two or three batches of this dolmadakia, unroll only one bundle and leave the rest in the brine for future use. If you find leaves that are torn or have holes in them, simply discard them.
Your first effort at rolling a dolmadaki might turn out a little loose, but you will quickly learn the right amount of pressure to apply to roll the leaves without tearing. A very good visual demonstration of the folding and rolling process is found here.
|Quinoa Dolmadakia (Stuffed Grape Leaves)|
|Recipe by Lisa Turner|
Published on August 17, 2007
Seasoned quinoa with pine nuts and fresh herbs wrapped in grape leaves for a perfect and delicious Greek appetizer food