A Mediterranean classic made vegan and gluten-free. Rice stuffed dolmades full of fresh herbs, roasted eggplant, olives, spices, and aromatic basmati rice! A fantastic appetizer, side, or main dish!
Stuffed foods are fun foods! Mediterranean foods are also always a winner. The bright, fresh, popping flavors that always accompany a Mediterranean dish are always welcome in my mouth! Since I’d never had dolmades (stuffed grape leaves) before and never made them myself, that journey was happily taken on a few months ago. When I finally was able to find some plain (unstuffed) grape leaves in the grocery, after so much searching, I was more than excited! Finally, this Mediterranean delicacy would be mine!
Dolmades may be stuffed with rice and meat, but obviously I kept this vegan. I decided to bulk it up more and compliment the white basmati rice with some roasted eggplant, olives, tons of fresh herbs, and spices of course! They were so good! If you don’t mind being super delicate with the folding of the leaves, that it! Those thin little grape leaves are so fragile! But they did hold up to the hearty filling once I got into the swing of rolling and folding. The trick is to just use 1 tablespoon of filling (sometimes 2 tablespoons if the leaf is bigger) and lightly fold in the sides and then roll. Place then tightly packed in the pan, really snug, and they’ll be good to go for a quick steam on the stove!
Now, when ever I make or eat or even see a Mediterranean dish, my mind instantly reverts back to 6th grade ancient history class. I love history actually and ancient history is my favorite! Ya’ll know I’m a history nerd, even when it comes to food. I’ve never disliked any history class I’ve even taken. Math? Now that’s a different story! But the reason I always think of that particular year of history has to do with spelling the word Mediterranean. I think this was the first year our school got Smart Boards (or our version was called Prometheus). One of those fancy modern “over-head” projectors for all you oldies.
We were to go up individually and label certain areas on a map. One of which was the Mediterranean Sea. But of course, our teacher was randomly picking us (this was not voluntary). Now, I’m a horrid speller and Mediterranean was out of the question! It still angers me to spell it and I had to triple check this post just for that word! As the parts on the map dwindled and I had still not been called up to label a section, I began to freak. I was going to look like an idiot (mind you, this was 6th grade). There were two parts left at this point. The Mediterranean Sea and Greece. O, the Greek Gods must have been on my side and I was called up next, quickly filled in Greece and slide back in my seat, mission accomplished and my red face could not go back to normal!
O the poor kid who had to spell Mediterranean! She had no idea either and it took her like 50 tries! My teacher took piety and helped her spell it out and gave her the hint that one of the letters was doubled. I never knew if the d, the t, or the r was doubled, but from that day forward, I knew it was the r and I knew how to spell it correctly every time. The PANIC of the Mediterranean! It’s actually kind of fun to spell once you know it! Mediterranean, Mediterranean, Mediterranean. Well at least typing it throughout this post! It just flies on the keyboard!
Vegan Rice Stuffed Dolmades
- 2 Cups Cooked White Basmati Rice
- 1 Packed Cup Roasted Eggplant Flesh*
- ½ Cup Sliced Black Olives(rinsed)
- ½ Tsp Minced Garlic
- 2 TB Fresh Chopped Cilantro
- 2 TB Fresh Chopped Parsley
- 1 TB Fresh Chopped Mint
- ½ Tsp Onion Powder
- ½ Tsp Smoked Paprika
- ¼ Tsp Black Pepper
- ¼ Tsp Coriander
- ¼ Tsp Cinnamon
- About 26 Grape Leaves*
- In a large food processor, place all the filling ingredients (except the cooked rice and grape leaves) in. Blend and pulse until you get a salsa-like texture. Then remove the blade of the processor (or place the mixture in a large bowl) and mix in the cooked rice.
- On a smooth surface, lay out once grape leaf, add about 1-2 tablespoons of the rice mixture to the center bottom by the stem. Fold in the sides and then roll the leaf to create a tight log. Place seam-side down in a large pan and continue with the rest of the leaves, packing them tightly next to each other in the pan. You may make more or less than 26 depending on the size and amount of mixture you have.
- Now place ¼ cup of water in the bottom of the pan and steam over low heat on the stove for 5-7 minutes, covered.
You may end up with more mixture for more leaves or less.
And you can kick me now if you want. I’ve already kicked myself. I took no photos of these babies broken open so you could see the glorious rice and veggie filling :/ Don’t ask me why…the world may never know. I guess that just means you have all the more reason to make these and see for yourself the delicious insides! They’d make a perfect fancy appetizer, side dish, or even the main dish or a light Mediterranean meal! Easy to make, fancy “showoff” food is always good to have up your sleeve! Guests = impressed!
So tell me:
+ Tell me about one of those “red-faced, sweating, omg, freaking-out” school moments!
+ Have you ever had/made dolmades? You should!
———————————————-Stay connected: Facebook: Strength and Sunshine Twitter: @RebeccaGF666 Instagram: rebeccagf666 Pinterest: RebeccaGF666 Bloglovin’: Strength and Sunshine Google+: Rebecca Pytell