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Husband Does Vegetarian Grape Leaves

grape leaves vegetarianEvery once in a while I have to give the husband a chance to create something. I’ve had this jar of grape leaves in the fridge for goodness knows how long. I guess it was due time to whip up some grape leaves. We love Middle Eastern cuisine and have a few places in the city where we splurge for the dinner platter and share it. We’re talking about mega amounts of food. Of course, we have leftovers.  We have been trying to venture out of our comfort zone when it comes to cooking. My cooking tends to be a lot of old-fashioned hand-me-down recipes. I also have an arsenal of Weight Watcher recipes and low carb recipes. The husband, well, he burns cooks whatever he decides to toss in his wok.

And when I say everything I really mean 4 to 6 different ingredients. But always, always rice.

So, imagine my surprise when he decided to make rice grape leaves.

“No meat?” I ask.

“No meat,” he replies. I look at him like there is something wrong. Quizzical. Questionable.

When he’s not looking I do a little happy dance.

I mean seriously, it won’t take but a minute for me to toss some ground beef in a pan and add some spices and get that shoved inside those suckers.

I know he’ll later regret not having meat.

We decided that we would make these vegetarian and have a meatless night. Go us.

I’m still doing a happy dance.

I was also not intending to take photos, it was my night off after-all. So I apologize for the messy look.

vegetarian grape leaves rice mix

For the grape leaves he used Krinos Imported Grape Leaves in Vinegar Brine which I had found at a clearance center I shop at.  There is about a pound of grape leaves in this jar. Husband cleaned them and boiled them in water for about 5 minutes.  He then pulled up this Stuffed Grape Leaves recipe on his phone and went to work. We used brown rice instead of long grain. We did not use any mint. Husband also loves his parsley so he increased that by another cup. (There were a few other things we didn’t do during the cooking process, but we enjoyed each and every one of those grape leaves for days to come.)

vegetarian grape leaves production

Then he had half the leaves in the kitchen with him and I had the other half in the living room with me. I was watching a movie. He wanted to cook, he should be so lucky I even helped 😉

So I had this production line of grape leaves going on my coffee table. It was pretty funny.

vegetarian grape leaves

I put two leaves opposite of each other for a bigger eat.

YUMeating Does Vegetarian Grape Leaves

Chrystal Mahan YUMeating.com
Adapted from About.com Greek Food: Stuffed Grape Leaves with Rice and Herbs
5 from 5 votes


  • 50-60 fresh grape leaves or 1 jar 16 oz/1 lb. brined grape leaves
  • 1- cup olive oil divided into 1/2 cups
  • 6 large onions minced
  • 3 cups brown rice cooked
  • 2 cups fresh parsley chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh dill chopped
  • 3 tbsp pine nuts
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • Lemon juice


  • Rinse the leaves well to remove the brine.
  • Boiled the leaves for 5 minutes to soften them, which makes them easier to roll.
  • Remove from water and set the grape leaves aside.
  • In a skillet, add 1/2 c of olive oil and the onions. Cook until onions are tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the rice, parsley, dill, pine nuts, salt and pepper. Continue cooking and stirring for another 3-4 minutes to mix flavors.
  • Remove the pan from heat and give your lemon juice bottle two to four squirts , depending on your tastes.
  • Mix.
  • Set pan aside and allow mixture to cool.
  • Place two grape leaves with stem side in on a flat work space. This will give you a larger roll and things will be much easier to work with. Don't over stuff.
  • Place a little mixture over the stems, just like you were making a burritos.
  • Fold the ends in. Then roll long ways.
  • Repeat the process.



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  1. YUM. Growing up, we had a greek neighbor that kept us in Grape leaves and other fabulous greek treats. We were so ahead of the curve on the yogurt! I think I’m going to have to run out and get the stuff to make these for NYE.

    1. These were really good. I have never purchased lamb so I am not sure I could make them the way others do. I might be ok with a pork variation. I am going to make these again for sure.

  2. 5 stars
    I don’t remember ever trying Grape Leaves. I am an omnivore so I probably would add a bit of hamburger to this recipe to make a more complete meal (for me at least)

    1. Ground pork and lamb are usually how they are made. I am sure you could use any meat. It really is about the seasoning when it comes to Mediterranean food.

    1. Usually you find them at Mediterranean type restaurants as an appetizer or side. They also come with lamb meat. If you buy the leaves dry it is my understanding you lightly boil them for a minute to soften them up.

  3. That’s fun that your husband made them. My husband would keep asking where dinner was if I gave him no meat. -_- I’m a vegetarian (have been since I was a kid) and would love meatless night. Even one would make me happy. 😉

    1. I was not a strict vegan but was mostly meat free right before I met hubs. I had moved 1600 miles away and went through a divorce. I was living with my mom who was trying to recover from just losing both her parents. We had some tough times and weren’t sure where our food was going to come from. We were blessed often by an aunt who has her own cows slaughtered. She would always have some items in the freezer that had to be ‘cleaned out’ before the new meat could come it. I wasn’t happy to be eating meat, but I needed food.

  4. I love Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food. There aren’t that many places to get it in our area, though. Looks like these stuffed grape leaves were delicious!

  5. This looks delicious! I am always on the hunt for good vegetarian/vegan recipes. My daughter is a gluten-free vegan which can make dinner time a bit challenging.

  6. I’ve never tried grape leaves. I’d do a happy dance too if my dh let me make a meatless meal. I’ve tried for years and all I get are groans. lol

  7. This is interesting, never heard of eating grape leaves. I probably won’t try this, but will share with friends who I know will be interested in this.

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