Stuffed Grape Leaves (Dolmades)
Stuffed Grape Leaves, a popular staple of heart-healthy Mediterranean cuisine, are rich in vitamins and minerals. If you like lemony, tangy, and creative, this is your appetizer.
¾ cup cooked Brown Rice
4 oz Grape Leaves (these can be purchased in a jar at an ethnic-food store)
1 tbsp Olive Oil plus 1 tbsp Olive Oil for sautéing
¼ cup Minced Onion
4 med Cloves Garlic
2 tbsp chopped Mint Leaves
¼ cup chopped Fresh Dill
1/3 cup Raisins, chopped
1/3 cup Pine Nuts, chopped
1½ tbsp chopped Kalamata Olives
¼ tsp Sea Salt
¼ tsp fresh Ground Black Pepper
¾ cup organic Chicken Broth
2 tbsp Lemon Juice
Arrange grape leaves flat in bowl, cover with boiling water, and let sit for 2 minutes. Drain, cover with cold water, let sit for 5 minutes, and drain again.
Meanwhile, sauté onion and 1 minced garlic clove in 1 tablespoon olive oil, stirring frequently, until soft, about 5 minutes.
Combine cooked rice, onion mixture, mint, dill, raisins, pine nuts, olives, slat, and pepper in large bowl.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place one leaf on cutting board, vein side up, and cut off stem. Add a heaping spoonful of filling in the center. Fold the sides of leaf over filling, then roll tightly from stem end to tip to make a neat roll. If necessary, use a toothpick to keep each leaf neatly rolled.
Set seam side down in a wax paper-lined 9×13-inch baking dish. Repeat with remaining leaves and filling, placing grape leaves cozily together; make two layers if necessary.
Cut 3 garlic cloves into large pieces and poke them here and there between the grape leaves. Pour chicken broth over grape leaves, then remaining olive oil and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed. Drizzle with remaining lemon juice and serve.
Tips & Notes
You can add 1/2 pound of uncooked lamb to this recipe and increase the baking time to 35 minutes for a richer flavor.
A popular Greek dish called dolmas uses grape leaves as a wrapper for rice, onions and meat. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services lists grape leaves on its suggested shopping list based on the healthy dietary guidelines for Americans.
A single serving of grape leaves is full of nutrients and has a low glycemic load of 1. Monitoring one’s glycemic load is important, especially for diabetics, since it measures the effect of food on blood-sugar levels. A daily total glycemic load target for the average, healthy adult is 100 or less, making grape leaves a healthy choice.
Individuals with diabetes or metabolic syndrome should aim for a lower number.
For general health and wellness, grape leaves are a good source of nutrients, including vitamins C, E, A, K and B6, plus niacin, iron, fiber, riboflavin, folate, calcium, magnesium, copper and manganese.
A single heart-healthy serving, or one cup of grape leaves, has no fat or cholesterol and is very low in sodium and sugar.
Grape leaves are mildly anti-inflammatory based on a rating system that estimates the inflammatory potential of foods and food combinations. Chronic inflammation is may cause certain illnesses and diseases, such as heart disease, many types of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
Other diseases that are a result of inflammation include arthritis and many gastrointestinal diseases, such as Crohn’s disease. While lifestyle and genetics contribute to chronic inflammation, maintaining a diet that is healthy and low in inflammatory foods is the best strategy for containing it and reducing long-term disease risks.
Nutritional Information Per Serving
Total Fat: 8g
Saturated Fat: 0.9g
Total Carbohydrates: 14.6g
Dietary Fiber: 2.6g
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