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Mediterranean Stuffed Grape Leaves with Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce

This recipe is for all the foodies out there! Grape leaves are common in Greek, Vietnamese, Turkish and Romanian cuisines. Despite being very low in energy — 1 cup contains only 13 calories — grape leaves provide a rich source of essential nutrients.

Mediterranean Stuffed Grape Leaves with Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce
This recipe is for all the foodies out there! Grape leaves are common in Greek, Vietnamese, Turkish and Romanian cuisines. Despite being very low in energy — 1 cup contains only 13 calories — grape leaves provide a rich source of essential nutrients.
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 pound fresh grape leaves
  2. 1 tablespoon salt
  3. 2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
For the filling
  1. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  3. 3 garlic cloves, minced
  4. 1/4 cup pine nuts
  5. 1/4 cup finely diced red bell pepper
  6. 1/4 pound ground lamb
  7. 1 1/2 cups uncooked short grain brown rice
  8. 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
  9. 1/4 cup dried currants (you can use dried cranberries if you can’t find currants)
  10. 1/2 teaspoon baharat (see recipe below for homemade version)
  11. Salt to taste
For the marinating sauce
  1. 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  2. 2 cups boiling water
  3. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  4. 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  5. Salt and fresh ground pepper
Equipment
  1. Large pot
  2. Large skillet
  3. Medium bowl
Instructions
  1. 1. Soak the Grape Leaves: Soak the grape leaves in a large pot filled with boiling water and one tablespoon salt for five minutes. Remove from water and strain. Set aside. Note: If you use canned grape leaves, rinse them with hot water twice and then twice again in cold water in order to get all the vinegar out.
  2. 2. Cook the Onions: Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and add the onion. Cook over medium heat for about 7 minutes, or until the onion is soft and translucent, but not browned. You can add the red bell pepper just before the onions are done.
  3. 3. Add Garlic and Pine Nuts: Add the garlic and pine nuts and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  4. 4. Add the Lamb: Raise heat to high, add the ground lamb and cook just until meat is browned. Add uncooked rice, and stir 1-2 minutes to combine. (The rice will cook when the grape leaves are steamed.)
  5. 5. Remove from Heat and Season: Remove from heat, add mint leaves, currants, and baharat. Season with salt and adjust seasoning according to taste.
  6. 6. Roll the Grape Leaves: Place a leaf, shiny side down (veiny side up) on a clean working space. Place about one teaspoon of filling in the center of the leaf, fold in the sides of the leaf, and roll from the bottom to the top. Make sure to create a very tight roll.
  7. 7. Place Rolled Grape Leaves in Pot: Line a large pot with a layer of sliced tomatoes. Place the prepared leaves tightly on top of the tomatoes in concentric circles, leaving no gaps between them. Repeat with until you run out of grape leaves, or the pot is full. When you finish one layer, start a second layer. (There is no need to put another layer of tomatoes on.)
  8. 8. Add Garlic and Marinating Sauce: Evenly sprinkle the sliced garlic over the grape leaves. Mix together the marinating sauce ingredients and pour over the grape leaves.
  9. 8. Place a Plate Over the Leaves and Cook: Place a plate over the leaves, cover the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Serve warm or cold with cucumber yogurt (recipe below).
Viance Nutrition http://blog.viance.com/
Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce
Makes two cups
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Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt, preferably from goat’s milk
  2. 2-3 small cucumbers cut into small cubes
  3. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  4. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  5. Salt
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the yogurt, cucumbers and garlic. Season with salt, top with olive oil and serve.
Viance Nutrition http://blog.viance.com/
Baharat Spice
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Ingredients
  1. 2 tablespoons fresh ground black pepper
  2. 2 tablespoons paprika
  3. 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  4. 1 tablespoons ground coriander
  5. 1 tablespoons ground cloves
  6. 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  7. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  8. 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients together and store in an air-tight container.
Viance Nutrition http://blog.viance.com/

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Viance Nutrition

Hi! I'm Walt Landi the founder and CEO of Viance Nutrition. Welcome to our Blog. I maintain this Blog as a free resource for anyone wishing to improve their health. Your comments and feedback are always welcomed and you can email me direct at walt@viance.com if you have any suggestions. Thanks. Ps. Spread the word and check out our products at viance.com. :)

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