Back to some of my Greek roots. I grew up with my mother making dolmathes – she made delicious ones, lemony, with a touch of cinnamon – they just rocked! Here is my version of them. My love for curry, lemon, spices, and nuts come together to create an awesome dish. I have also made a sauce to compliment the stuffing, and integrate the taste, whilst adding some moisture too. Serve with crispy roast potatoes! Enjoy!

Dolmathes: Stuffed Greek Vine Leaves [Vegan]

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Serves

4

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Ingredients

For the Stuffing Mixture
  • 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon powder
  • ½ cup of sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup of raw almonds, chopped
  • ½ cup of vegan mince of your choice
  • 1 cup of American rice  (boil, drain and set aside)
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp flat leaf parsley
  • the zest of one lemon
  • around 20-30 large vine leaves.  If not using fresh, rinse thoroughly under cold water to remove the brine taste and saltiness.  If using fresh, wash and boil for around 4 minutes or so.
For the Sauce
  • 2 tsp cornflour, mixed into a paste with a little water
  • the juice of  1½ lemons
  • 2 tsp agave nectar
  • ½ tsp curry powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • salt to taste
  • 6 tbsp olive oil (extra virgin please)
  • ¾ tsp garlic powder
  • a pinch of pepper
  • 1½ cups vegetable stock
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Preparation

For the Stuffing Mixture
  1. Start off by placing your nuts and seeds in a non-stick frying pan and dry fry them on a medium heat, stirring every so often. The idea is to ‘toast’ them so they get some colour, and their flavours are emphasized.  Do this for a few minutes (but don’t burn them please) – then set aside.
  2. Now, pour your olive oil in a separate frying pan, and fry the onion and garlic, mixing without burning.  When they have a little colour (light brown preferably), add your veggie mince, stir for a couple of minutes and then add the turmeric, cinnamon and curry powder.  Give them all a good mix, turn the heat down, and allow the flavours to merge for 2-3 minutes, stirring every now and then.
  3. Meanwhile, add your rice to the mixture and stir well.  Add the nuts and seeds, mix well again, and drop in the lemon zest too.  You may need to drizzle some olive oil, as the mixture will be quite dry at this stage.  Take off the heat, mix in the parsley, and transfer the mixture into a large bowl, and then allow to cool.
  4. At this stage you need to make the lemon and spice sauce in readiness for the dolmathes.  Here is what you are going to need.
For the Sauce
  1. Place the ingredients in a bowl, process with a whisk for a couple of minutes, and set aside.
For Stuffing the Leaves
  1. It’s time to stuff the leaves at this point.  Open a vine leaf, lie it down and place 1 teaspoon of the stuffing in the centre of it.  Now fold in the sides gently, and roll it up away from you.  Pick it up gently, and place in a large oven-proof dish in readiness for the oven.   Continue to stuff all the leaves in the same way.
  2. Now pour over the sauce, cover and place in a hot oven, at around 180ºC for 15 minutes.  Then take out and cover with foil, and place back in the oven for a further 30 minutes or so.  It’s important to make sure the leaves have tenderized and softened nicely.  Remove foil, and allow to cool for around 15 minutes if serving hot.  If serving cold, allow to cool for longer, and then refrigerate.
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