I know that stuffed grape leaves are more commonly identified with the distinctive name of dolmades, but since this recipe strays from the traditional “meat and rice” filling, meatless it is for all you vegetarians out there. The filling is an adjustment from my textured vegetable protein burgers with a looser texture due to less gluten flour. Accompanied with a chickpea, tomato, olive and cucumber salad, this makes a light and colorful pre-summer lunch. What’s even better about these is that they also qualify as a vegan dish if served with a soy yogurt dressing instead of the full-fat Total® greek yoghurt version shown here.
Recipe for approximately 4 dozen stuffed grape leaves
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup textured vegetable protein flakes
1/2 cup brown rice
2 tablespoons yeast flakes (opt.)
1 small onion
1 clove garlic
1½ cups gluten flour
2 tablespoons oregano, dried
1/2 teaspoon each of salt and black pepper
1/2 cup fresh peas
1 jar grape leaves in brine, drained and separated
2 cups greek yogurt
1 cup fresh mint leaves
Olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, salt and pepper
Bring the broth to a boil. Turn off the heat and add the TVP, brown rice and yeast flakes; set aside to cool. In the meantime, blend the onion and garlic in a food processor until very finely chopped. When the soy protein mixture has cooled, add it (liquid included) to the processor and pulse to combine.
Next add the gluten flour, oregano, salt and pepper to the mixture. Pulse to blend. Scrape into a bowl and stir in the peas by hand. Begin stuffing the grape leaves, placing about a spoonful of filling in the bottom center of each leaf and folding as shown in the steps. (Click image for a larger view). Arrange the rolls in a deep pot (line the bottom with broken, unusable grape leaves). Cover with an inverted plate to keep them in place, and add enough water so that they are completely submerged. Bring the water to a boil; lower to a simmer and cook, covered, for 50 minutes. Take a bite test to see if rice is done. Depending on the type of brown rice used (I used brown arborio rice), you may need to cook them a little longer until done.
For the yogurt sauce: using an immersion blender, prepare a mint pesto with a large handful of fresh mint and some olive oil. Stir into the yogurt along with a generous squeeze of lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.