Here's a new, healthy twist on these delicious and popular little Greek parcels made with preserved grape leaves. To boost the fibre and nutrient content, brown rice is used instead of the traditional white. The filling for the vine leaves is flavoured with garlic and fresh herbs, with a hint of sweetness from raisins and crunch from walnuts.
1 person made this
200 g long-grain brown rice
24 large grape leaves preserved in brine, about 115 g in total when drained
Put the rice in a saucepan and add 600 ml water. Bring to the boil. Stir, then cover with a tight-fitting lid and simmer very gently for 30–40 minutes or until the rice is tender and has absorbed all the water. Remove from the heat.
While the rice is cooking, drain the vine leaves, rinse with cold water and pat dry with paper napkins.
Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a saucepan over a moderate heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5–8 minutes or until soft. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley, mint, dill, lemon zest and raisins.
Put the walnuts in a small frying pan and toast them over a moderate heat, stirring constantly, until lightly browned and aromatic.
Add the toasted walnuts to the onion mixture. Stir in the cooked rice and add the lemon juice (you may not need all of it), and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.
Spread one of the vine leaves flat and place about 2 spoonfuls of the rice mixture in the centre. Fold over the stalk end, then fold in the sides. Roll up the leaf into a cylinder shape. Repeat with the remaining vine leaves and filling.
Place the rolls seam side down in a steamer and brush the tops with the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil. Cover and steam for 10–15 minutes or until piping hot. Serve hot or at room temperature, garnished with lemon wedges and sprigs of fresh herbs.
Brown rice has only the outer husk removed and therefore contains all the nutrients in the germ and outer layers of the grain. Raw brown rice contains 1.9 g fibre per 100 g (3½ oz) compared with 0.4 g fibre for the same weight of raw white rice. It also contains more B vitamins. * Raisins, currants and sultanas are all types of dried grapes. Although they are rich in sugars – mostly as glucose and fructos – in this recipe they are mixed with other ingredients, and so are unlikely to cause a rapid rise in blood glucose levels.
Each serving provides
Excellent source of copper. Useful source of calcium, folate, iron, vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin C, zinc.