Author Notes: I love stuffed grape leaves. My Grandma taught ESL and had many Middle Eastern students. She made these for them (and us!) all the time. In her attempt to make them feel at home, she created a dish that makes me think of home.
Dolmas are one of my favorites, but I don't always have it in me to carry out the production that is stuffing, wrapping and steaming them. I invented this salad as a shortcut way to get the extraordinary flavor of grape leaves that I often crave in an easy-yet-satisfying salad.
Because the base of the salad is rice, it travels well and can be kept at room temperature for prolonged periods of time, unlike salads that are just veggies or greens. - Anitalectric
Food52 Review: This is a well-written recipe. Anitalectric has made it very clear. It does present a challenge for small town living though: Where do you find grape leaves? After two dead ends, I finally I was lucky enough to locate some. The grape leaves have a characteristic taste, a particular tang that enhances this recipe. Lemon juice picks up the acidity, feta plays off the salty brine. I first served it warm, with a tangy cucumber salad which brought out the creaminess of the pilaf. The next day at lunch, I tried it at room temp. Next time I'll chop the grape leaves much finer and maybe use less; and I’ll add a nice crunchy vegetable that is fresh and in season, since the sugar snap peas I got were not though the green looks so good; and cut back on the black pepper. This is truly a solid recipe with plenty of room to play.
- susan g
- 1 cup white or brown rice
- 1 cup chopped grape leaves from a jar
- 1 cup sugar snap peas, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped dill leaves
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
- 1/4 cup (optional) crumbled feta
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- Prepare rice as instructed on package. While cooking, place chopped grape leaves in a sieve and rinse under running water to remove excess salt. Squeeze out excess moisture and add to the simmering pot of rice (without stirring).
- Toast pine nuts over low heat for 5 minutes, turning occasionally until they are golden and aromatic.
- Stir the cooked pot of rice to combine with the grape leaves. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add all remaining ingredients except for pine nuts. Adjust seasoning if necessary.
- Garnish with toasted pine nuts and serve warm, cold, or at room temperature.