Grape Leaves Stuffed with Pine Nuts and Spiced Rice

In Egypt, cooks stuff this spiced rice mixture into all kinds of vegetables, like zucchini.


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  • Servings: Makes 2 dozen stuffed grape leaves

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  • 30 jarred brined grape leaves, drained
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • One 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup short grain rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped mint
  • Salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

How to make this recipe

  1. Soak the grape leaves in a large bowl of warm water for 20 minutes.

  2. In a large skillet, toast the pine nuts over moderate heat until golden, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl.

  3. In the same skillet, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and parsley. Add the rice and cook, stirring, until it begins to turn white, 5 minutes. Scrape the mixture into the bowl with the pine nuts. Stir in the cinnamon, cumin, orange zest and mint and season with salt. Let cool slightly.

  4. Drain the grape leaves and pat dry. Snip off the stems. Spread 4 leaves on a work surface. Form a 1-tablespoon-size log of the rice filling at the stem end. Fold the sides over the filling, then tightly roll up the leaves to form cylinders, tucking in the sides as you go. Repeat with 20 more grape leaves and the remaining filling.

  5. Line a saucepan with 3 grape leaves. Arrange the stuffed grape leaves in the saucepan in 2 layers. Drizzle with the oil. Top with the remaining 3 grape leaves and a small plate. Add enough water to cover the stuffed grape leaves and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until the rice is tender, 45 minutes. Turn off the heat and let cool in the saucepan. Arrange the grape leaves on a platter and serve warm or at room temperature.

Photo © Petrina Tinslay Published February 2012

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