Stuffed Grape Leaves Casserole

Today I am fasting and Mr. Seasonal Vegan chefed it up in the kitchen with a recipe from the Jan/Feb 2012 Vegetarian Times mag. It was a recipe that I really wanted to make and I had to enjoy it from a distance. I was the one who asked him to choose a recipe from the book to share on Seasonal Vegan. To my delight and envy, he selected the stuffed grape leaves casserole.

It has been my goal to cook at least one recipe from Vegetarian Times if I am going to justify keeping my subscription. Ironically the person who turned me on to Vegetarian Times would get the magazine, look at the recipes and then bring the magazine to me to cook something! It was hilarious. So I vowed not to do the same and I have not been disappointed.

There are actually a few from the current magazine that I want to try out. Post fast I will make it a point to go back and make the stuffed grape leaves casserole and also try the others like the mac-and-cheese style cauliflower, the pistachio-crusted eggplant (will wait for summer when eggplants are in season) and a few of the soups.

He made half the recipe since it was a solo dinner and his first response was that it was sweet (due to the raisons) but he really liked it. He did not count the grape leaves and said that he would have added more. Also, he used water instead of tomato or vegetable juice and did not add the ½ cup parsley because we were out. Finally, he forgot the lemon but added it later commenting that it was not needed but gave the dish an added zing.

He served the casserole with a simple beet green salad with olives and Brazilian nut parmesan (I Am Grateful recipe) and mushrooms sautéed with cilantro.

I had water and lived vicariously through his enjoyment of this winter vegan meal!

Stuffed Grape Leaves Casserole

Ingredients:

15 jarred grape leaves1 tbs oil1/2 large onion, finely diced1/2 cup brown rice
2 1/4 cup water 1/2 cup unsalted hulled pistachios, chopped1/2 cup chopped mint1/2 cup raisins
1/8 cup lemon juicelemon slice for garnishoil to brush top of casserolelove

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Dip grape leaves in large pot of boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Heat oil in a saucepan on medium heat and add onion. Sauté for 7 to 10 minutes or until they begin to brown.

Add rice and 1 ¼ cups water and bring to boil. Cover and reduce heat to med-low. Cook for 30 to 40 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup water, pistachios, mint, raisons, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Brush 1 ½-qt baking dish with oil. Pat grape leaves dry and line bottom and sides of the dish with grape leaves, allowing leaves to hang over the sides. Spread half the rice mixture over the grape leaves. Top the rice with more grape leaves and then add the remaining rice mixture. Cover the casserole with the remaining grape leaves and seal by folding over the grape leaves that are on the edges.

Brush top with olive oil and bake for 30 minutes covered and an additional 10 minutes uncovered. You want the grape leaves on top to darken and the casserole to look firm and dry.

Dip knife in cold water and cut straight down with tip of knife and remove servings with spatula.

Garnish with lemon and VT suggested drizzling with pomegranate molasses (which we did not have).

The recipe did not disappoint! Let us know what you tried in the recent Vegetarian Times issue and how you liked it!

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