I usually make these with meat, but I tried two veggie recipes this week that really worked. One is savory-sweet, while the other is just plain savory. *Both* times I meant to take a picture of the finished product with the dipping sauce, these delicious little rice envelopes disappeared too fast for me to remember! Stuffed grape leaves, popular in Greek, Turkish, and eastern European cuisine, are a perfect finger food for parties. Or you could just, you know, eat them all yourself.
Stuffed Grape Leaves!
You can buy jarred grape leaves at lots of specialty stores, or in supermarkets with aisles for international foods. Or grab them online!
Wash your leaves in cold water to get the brine off.
Toss the butter or oil, onions, and spices together.
Cook everything until the onions begin to go translucent.
Add the rice and cook it dry for a few minutes.
Now just cook it like rice, with water and stock.
Lay your leaves out vein-side up.
Place a tablespoon-sized bit of rice at the bottom of the leaf, in the center.
Roll the bottom up…
…then fold one side over…
…and the other…
…and roll the whole thing all the way to the end!
Place your leaves in a glass dish.
Pour a mixture of boiling water, olive oil, and lemon juice over the leaves.
Place a plate or some other heavy-ish weight on top. Bake until the water boils off, or drain it off when you’re tired of waiting.
So good it deserves a definite article. Also, so easy! Based on Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s recipe (but much faster), it’s sure to become your go-to dip and spread.
Canned chickpeas in the pot with baking soda.
Stir them so the skins come off
Boil those bebehs!
Skim any foam that forms off the top
Try to lift any skins that float to the top out of the pot
Put the boiled chickpeas in a colander, and run it under hot water to try and get more of the skins off
Into the processor they go!
Garlic, fresh from the press!
Tahini paste, lemon juice, and salt
Ice water for the final touch
Smooth and creamy
Looks great in my mason jar!
What can’t one do with labneh, the soft, creamy, yogurty cheese of the Middle East? Some things you can definitely do: Dip your veggies in it. Spread it on bread. Use it as a “dressing” on a salad of spinach, red onion, and tapenade. Dunk your over-easy eggs in it. Here’s how to make labneh the easy way.
Looks great in my jar!
On a spinach salad with olive oil, red onion, and sundried tomato paste
Strain the whey off the yogurt into a bowl
Use a good yogurt that you like on its own
The labneh emerges!
Tahini (sesame paste) is healthy and easy to use, and goes well with lots of other foods as a dip, dressing, or spread.
Tahini paste before water is added to thin it
Israeli salad with tahini and olive oil