Make Ahead

Grilled Grape Leaves Stuffed with Lemony Goat Cheese

June 10, 2010
4 Ratings
  • Serves approximately 20 2-bite grape leaves
Author Notes

I developed a version of this recipe last year when looking to create a dish using ingredients from my sister's vineyard, Black Ankle Vineyards. After seeing all the work that it takes to produce a bottle of wine, I couldn't bring myself to cook with it. So I used the leaves. If you can find fresh leaves, use ones that are organic or have not been sprayed, and use the newer, birghter green leaves which will be more tender. If you can't get fresh, jarred ones will certainly do. The result is a zingy appetizer with a creamy center and a bit of char from the grill. - Margy@hidethecheese —Margy@hidethecheese

Test Kitchen Notes

I jumped at the chance to make this recipe since I live in the middle of 40 acres of grapevines. Actually I used some fresh young leaves from my vineyard and a jar of Mezzetta grape leaves (don't forgetta Mezzetta!) to compare. Results were very similar in taste and texture. The recipe itself was tasty. The filling was a nice texture; creamy and crunchy at the same time, and the lemon zest and thyme and nuts added nice flavors. Grilling the grape leaf-wrapped packages gave them a unique look and added an earthy flavor... a brilliant idea. My guests loved them. I served them with some plain Greek yoghurt. I will make this regularly as an hors d'oeuvre. - dymnyno —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 20 fresh grape leaves (or jarred leaves)
  • 1 cup mild, creamy chevre
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped thyme (or rosemary), or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a few splashes of olive oil, if needed, plus more for brushing
  1. If you are using fresh grape leaves, bring a pot of water to boil. Add salt and the grape leaves one at a time. Turn off the water and let the grape leaves sit in the pot, covered, for 8 to 10 minutes. The best way to test whether they are done it to scoop out a leaf, tear off a corner, and taste it. The leaf will be done when it is easy to chew. When the leaves are tender, drain them into a colander, and run cold water on top to cool them.
  2. Carefully remove the leaves one at a time from the colander and lay them out flat on a dry kitchen towel. Briefly press another towel on top of the grape leaves to dry them, then remove it and let the leaves air dry.
  3. Meanwhile, make the filling. Mix together the goat cheese, rice, thyme (or rosemary), and pine nuts. Taste and add salt and pepper. If the filling seems a bit dry, add a few splashes of olive oil and mix again.
  4. Lay a grape leaf with the vein side up on a cutting board and remove any stem from below the leaf (do not remove the central vein of the leaf itself). Add about 1 tablespoon of the filling towards the bottom of the leaf. Fold up the bottom and the sides and then tuck down the top. It may seem like it won't stay together, but just tuck in all the ends, and they will hold well. Repeat this process until you have used all your leaves and filling. Brush both sides of each grape leaf with olive oil.
  5. Heat the grill to medium-high heat. Arrange the stuffed grape leaves on the grill with the seam side down and cook until they are slightly charred, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn and cook on the other side. Serve whole or sliced diagonally in half.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Analida Braeger
    Analida Braeger
  • dymnyno
  • fiveandspice
  • Margy@hidethecheese

8 Reviews

Analida B. January 15, 2018
I love grape leaves and the addition of the rosemary is fantastic!
I have never grilled grape leaves but it sound like a really nice way to make them. I have a recipe for steamed grape leaves or Turkish dolmas that I love here:
dymnyno June 19, 2010
Margy, I assumed that you meant thyme and that is what I used. It turned out delicious.
fiveandspice June 18, 2010
Hi Margy, I just noticed your recipe doesn't include the thyme! Isn't it funny how easy it is to forget to write in ingredients even though they're there in your head :). Anyways, I can easily guesstimate for testing the recipe, but I wanted to know if you have a quantity that you suggest, based on your experience making the recipe. (Also, I'm so jealous you have a sister that has a vineyard.)
Margy@hidethecheese June 18, 2010
Oh no!!! That's what I get for doing this late at night. It's about 1 teaspoon of thyme.
fiveandspice June 18, 2010
It happens! Everything gets a little goofy late at night.
dymnyno June 18, 2010
Actually, since the contest is supposed to incorporate the elements ,lemon, thyme and grilling, should it be thyme instead of rosemary?
Margy@hidethecheese June 18, 2010
What a goof!! Yes, it should be thyme, but a bit more, about a teaspoon. So sorry!
dymnyno June 18, 2010
You do not mention rosemary in your ingredients but you do in step 3. How much rosemary?