Vegan Stuffed Vine Leaves

These vegan stuffed vine leaves are incredibly delicious and full of vibrant flavours. This recipe uses authentic ingredients producing truly scrummy results. The densely packed rice, onion, garlic and olives absorbs the zesty lemon juice giving them a sharp taste that is offset with the addition of fresh mint and parsley. All of this is then accompanied by the salty grape leave that combines the lot resulting in a delicious mouthful of textures and tastes that’s incredibly moreish! Plus this recipe has a step-by-step guide that is easy for you to recreate at home. So what are you waiting for? Give this recipe a whirl and let me know you thoughts in the comments below and with the #veggievagabonds on social media.

We love to eat out, it’s one of our favourite pass times in fact. It’s a chance to explore new cuisines and cultures, so wherever we wander you can almost guarantee indulging in some sort of culinary delight is bound to be included. Vine leaves are something that for a while we only every brought and never made our own. As my confidence in the kitchen grew I started to explore and discovered that stuffed vine leaves are actually pretty easy to make! Ever since I started making my own Josh can’t get enough of them so much so he doesn’t buy them anymore on account of mine just tasting so much better – praise indeed! Especially as Josh has a well-travelled pallet and is my second harshest critic (his mum being the first who will always tell me honestly if something needs more seasoning or is too dry which is the kind of truthfulness I love). So whenever I whip up a batch of these vegan stuffed vine leaves I have to make heaps as they never last long.

Vegan Stuffed Vine Leaves

There’s some controversy over where stuffed vine leaves originated from. Some claim they originally came from Turkey, whereas others claim they came from Greece. Greek mythology tells tales of all special and traditional food first being served on top of Mount Olympus, the mountain of the Gods, which is where stuffed vine leaves are first said to of been served. Although some Greeks will acknowledge that stuffed vine leaves are common throughout the Middle East and Turkey, they believe it’s because historically they brought them to the region. Greek tales tell a story of how food being scarce at the time of Alexander the Great so the Thebans cut what little meat and vegetables they had in tiny pieces and rolled them up in grape leaves.

These stuffed vine leaves go great with some lavash and hummus

Stuffed vine leaves, also called “dolma” means “to be stuffed” in Turkish which also gives weight to the argument that they originated in Turkey. There are also records of stuffed vine leaves in Perisa that can be traced back as far as the 16th century. Mīrzā ʿAlī-Akbar Khan Āšpaz-bāšī, chef to the court of Nāṣer-al-Dīn Shah recorded dolma’s as a Persian food and had recipes of stuffing grape leaves, cabbage leaves along with other vegetables.

Vegan Stuffed Vine Leaves
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Although there origin might be up for debate, recipes seem to have common components across the board consisting of grape leaves, rice, onion, mint, parsley, lemon and either some sort of minced meat, vegetables, nuts or pulses. I’ve gone down the veggie route when creating these vegan stuffed vine leaves and have used authentic ingredients when doing so.

I was dubious at first about making stuffed vine leaves but this recipe has step-by-step instructions and doesn’t require any intricate ingredients. I’ve never been very exact with my cooking and often tend to just freestyle so feel free to do the same. Whenever I make this recipe I tend to just go with it so don’t worry about getting everything perfect. The aim of the ethical eating recipes is to make good, vegan food accessible free from cruelty and intricate methods.

Vegan Stuffed Vine Leaves

These vegan stuffed vine leaves are so delicious and bursting with flavour. This recipe uses authentic ingredients and I haven’t had to substitute anything as veggie stuffed vine leaves are just naturally vegan so these babies are the real deal. The addition of fresh lemon juice gives these vine leaves a zesty taste, whilst fresh mint and parsley gives them a refreshing lift. These flavours perfectly compliment the salty leaves and the densely packed rice, onion, garlic and olives. Perfectly seasoned and full of texture to sink your teeth in to! But don’t take my word for it, give this recipe a whirl yourself and let me know what you think in the comments below and with the #veggievagabonds on social media!

Vegan Stuffed Vine Leaves Recipe

Ingredients:
1 medium red onion
5 cloves of garlic
1 and a half cups of white rice
The juice of half a lemon
2 handfuls of black olives
1 handful of fresh mint
1 handful or fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
About 15-20 vine leaves
Olive oil
Coconut oil for frying – or use an oil of your choice. I just always use coconut oil.

Method:
1. First prepare the vine leaves by submerging them in water for about 15-20 minutes. This is because the leaves are preserved in a LOT of salt so soaking them will get rid of some os this salt which can be over-powering.
2. Prepare the rice by adding 3 cups of boiling water to a pan, then adding salt. Bring the water to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cover for about 10-15 minutes until the rice has cooked.
3. Whilst the rice is cooking prepare the rest of the filling. Heat some oil in a pan on a medium-low heat. I use coconut oil when frying but feel free to use an oil of your choice.
4. Once the pan is hot add the diced red onion.
5. Once the onion starts to brown, crush and add the garlic cloves.
6. The chop the olives in the small pieces and add to the pan along with the stalks of the parsley. Stir to combine.
7. Once the rice is cooked add to the pan along with the lemon juice, parsley leaves, mint, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
8. Now it’s time to stuff and roll the vine leaves. Lay a leaf out on a flat surface and place the rice mixture at the base of the leaf trying to compact it to resemble a small densely packed sausage shape.
9. Tuck the bottom leaves and begin to roll as tightly as you can being careful not to rip the leaf.
10. Fold in any part of the leaf that stick-out as you roll.
11. Complete the process until you have used up all the filling.
12. Once you have rolled all your leaves place them in the bottom of a pan packed tightly and place a heat resistant plate on top.
13. Cover with water and leave on a low simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Then your vegan stuffed vine leaves are ready to serve! You can keep them in the fridge but are best served right away.

Vegan Stuffed Vine Leaves
Begin by soaking the vine leaves in water for about 15 – 20 minutes
Vegan Stuffed Vine Leaves
Whilst the rice cooks prepare the rest of the filling
Vegan Stuffed Vine Leaves
Combine all of the ingredients in a pan
Vegan Stuffed Vine Leaves
Begin to assemble firstly by placing some of the mixture at the base of the leaf and squishing it to form a dense small sausage shape
Vegan Stuffed Vine Leaves
Tuck in the bottom of the leaf then begin to roll
Vegan Stuffed Vine Leaves
Roll the leaf as tightly as you can without letting it rip
Vegan Stuffed Vine Leaves
Complete this process until you have used up all of the mixture
Vegan Stuffed Vine Leaves
Pack the vine leaves tightly in a pan with a heat proof plate on top. Then cover with water and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes
Vegan Stuffed Vine Leaves
Keep in the fridge or serve right away to enjoy them at their best

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12 Responses

  • Hey fellows,

    Thanks a lot for sharing this amazing recipe. Trying it out ASAP.

    I’ve just written a comprehensive article on plant-based diet, doing my best to educate people on healthier food choices. So glad we’re on the same page!

    Speaking about that, how about replacing white rice with brown (whole grain) rice in this recipe? Takes a bit more time to cook but it’s much more nutritious.

    Cheers and keep it up!

    • Hey Alex 🙂 Thanks! Please let me know what you think of the recipe?

      Your article sounds really interesting! Have you got a link for it, I would love to read it. When cooking at home I will normally use brown rice but I wanted to try and keep this recipe authentic which is why I opted for white rice. I haven’t yet tried this one with brown rice but I love improving my recipe by making the healthier so will be giving it a go!

      Thanks for the support!

      • Hey, thanks for your reply!

        Sure, I’m sending you the link as soon as it gets published.

        The recipe is awesome… And yes, the traditional ones usually include white rice. I’ve tried it out; was a bit sloppy with the wrapping but they tasted delicious 🙂 In my native cuisine, they use mushrooms and walnuts as meat substitutes when preparing similar recipes.

        Best wishes!

        • Hey Alex 🙂

          Great! Looking forward to it!

          Ah a bit sloppy, perhaps boiling them for a bit less time will stop this from happening in the future. Mushrooms and walnuts are both delicious and great as meat substitutes. What is your native cuisine can I ask? Do you often veganise traditional recipes?

          Many thanks!

          • It’s Eastern European. Serbian, to be more precise. Here folks prepare veggie variations during the religious fasts so I often borrow those recipes. When it comes to stuffing, mushrooms, walnuts, and whole grains are the basis. And baked beans are consumed a lot, it’s one of our traditional dishes.

            Thanks for asking! 🙂

          • I always love learning about new cultures and foods 🙂 Sounds delicious, also sounds like you’re quite creative in the kitchen! Have never tried Serbian food before but would definitely love to. Am hoping to travel those ways in the not too distant future so look forward to it then, any specialty recommendations?

  • this is one of the most unique and healthy food receipe i’ve ever read about, looks tasty and i will try to make this at home to see how it actually tastes like.

  • Vine leaves are absolutely the best thing ever – Next to Olives… Thats a great recipe, when i’m in one spot i’ll definitely be trying this out!

    • Hey Mohana 🙂 I was always a bit hesitant of making them as I thought they might be really complicated but they’re actually pretty straight forward & this recipe is super delicious! Don’t just take my word for it though. If you give it a spin let me know what you think!

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