I created these stuffed vine leaves after tasting the cooked version. Seeing as anything cooked can be made better raw, I just had to come up with this alternative, which, I have to say really fills a gap. This recipe will make 16+ rolls depending on the size of your vine leaves and how much mixture you put in. Eating 2 is usually enough for me in one sitting!
I have found a sushi rolling mat (pictured) very useful in rolling nice tight leaves, and as for the leaves themselves...
You can pickle your own, which involves finding fresh ones - I found some organic ones on ebay! You'll then need to soak them in salt water and lemon juice. I've found at least 48 hours is needed to get them to turn a slightly darker green and become more pliable.
You also have the option of buying ones in a jar that are already pickled. It depends how you feel about this but you should look for ones that have only used water, salt and lemon juice (citric acid). Obviously the lemon juice and salt are not going to be as pure as the kind you'd use yourself, but it makes the whole recipe a lot more user-friendly. You have a choice!
To the recipe...
Stuffed Vine Leaves with Mint Cashew Aioli
Makes 16+ stuffed vine leaves
Time: 30 mins (once you've got the hang of rolling the things)
Ease rating: ***
Equipment: Knife, Food Processor
What you'll need to do ahead of time: Pickle the vine leaves, soak the sun-dried tomatoes.
For the vine leaves
3c cauliflower or parsnip
1/2c olive oil
1 clove garlic
1/2c pine nuts
3t lemon zest
2T lemon juice
1t sea salt
5 Spring onions
1c sun-dried tomatoes, soaked for 2+ hours, then chopped into thin strips
2c tightly packed fresh mint, minced
1/2c raisins, roughly chopped
Pickled vine leaves.
- Pulse the cauliflower/parsnip in a food processor until it has a rice-like consistency. Transfer to a large bowl.
- In a high power blender blend the olive oil, garlic, pine nuts, lemon zest, cinnamon, lemon juice, sea salt and spring onions until creamy. Add this mixture to the rice and mix well.
- Add the sun-dried tomatoes, mint and raisins to the mixture and mix again.
- Now take one vine leaf at a time and place it stem-side up on a chopping board or sushi rolling mat if you prefer. Place between 1 and 2 tablespoons worth on the mixture on the leaf, depending on the size of the leaf.
- Roll up the leaf from the bottom first and tuck in the side bits after the first roll. I find it helps to brush olive oil on to the leaf at this point to help it stick. Once the sides are in, finish rolling upwards to make a neat little package. You may not get this first time but keep practicing and have fun with it.
- Continue until all the mixture is used.
For the mint cashew Aioli
1T lemon juice
1t lemon zest
5 cloves of garlic
1/3c tightly packed mint
- Place all ingredients except the mint in a high power blender until creamy.
- Add the mint to the blender and pulse in so to leave mint visible in the Aioli.
- Serve with stuffed vine leaves.
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