I can’t really say this is an easy recipe similar to so many other recipes on my blog, I do like to go with easy and tasty since most people don’t have the time to put into making food that can take a longer time to prepare. So, maybe it is not that hard but somehow time-consuming. However, it is absolutely delicious and something you can do every once in a while because it is definitely worth it. And it is one of the most favorable dishes in Palestine amongst all other dishes, if I may say.
But yes rolling leaves can take time.
I grew up with grapevines in our backyard, my dad planted them so we can pick fresh leaves for this particular recipe including enjoying the fresh grapes during the season. So, yes my mom would hand pick them, and store them in the freezer so we can have them throughout the year. However, here in the US, the fresh ones are hard to find, unless you plant some in your backyard but you can find them in jars at any Mediterranean grocery store. Are they the same, absolutely not, are they good, definitely yes? I cook them in a way that turns them so soft and juicy, and lucky for you that I’m sharing my recipe.
Grape leaves are made both ways with meat and vegan, I really love the vegan version, which is usually stuffed with rice and vegetables and the meat version is stuffed with meat, rice, and some spices. However, I like to use burglar with my vegan one. Bulgur “is a cereal food made from whole wheat partially boiled then dried”. Bulgur comes in a few different sizes; the very fine one is usually used in Tabouleh. For this recipe, I use number 3 or 4 which is a better substitute for rice.
So here is how to make vegan grape leaves, yalangi. Gently take the grape leaves out of the jar, make sure not to rip them as they’re squeezed tightly inside the jar, rinse them well first with hot water to clean up all salt and any residue. Set aside.
Wash bulgur, rinse from water and place in a bowl. Chop finely: tomatoes, onions, crush garlic and add to the burglar. Then add salt, olive oil and lemon, mix all well with the burglar. This will be the stuffing that goes inside the leaves. Some people add chickpeas and parsley as well to the mix, but I prefer this combination.
Separate leaves from each other and use about ½ of a tablespoon to fill in each leave, bring the leave from each side to close then roll towards the end. More videos are available on the highlight on my Instagram account @palestineinadish. Once rolled place each grape leaves in the cooking pot lining them next to each other for one layer, then on a second layer on top, keep repeating the process until all leaves are rolled.
Once all is done, place pot on the stove on high heat, pour about 1 cup of boiled water and some salt on top of leaves and let it boil for 10 minutes then turn the heat on low, cover the pot and let it simmer. Halfway through cooking, or about half an hour after, pour ½ a cup of olive oil and half a cup of freshly squeezed lemon over the leaves, put the lid back on and continue to simmer for another hour on low heat. You can test it by taking one leave from the top to make sure it’s fully cooked.
Once done, flip the pot over a large plate, enjoy with a side of salad or plain yogurt.
This recipe is enough for 4 to 5 people.Print
- 1.2 cups of bulgur (uncooked) type #3 or 4
- 3–4 tomatoes finely chopped
- 1/2 sweet onion finely chopped
- 3–4 garlic cloves crushed
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 3/4 cup of lemon juice
- 1 cup of boiled water
- Open grape leaves jar and gently take leaves out, rinse well cleaning them from all residue. Place leaves in a strainer.
- In a large bowl, place bulgur after rinsing, and add tomatoes, onions, garlic, salt, ¼ of a cup lemon and ¼ of a cup olive oil. Mix everything well together.
- Separate leaves from each other and use about ½ of a tablespoon to fill in each leaf, bring leaves from each side to close then roll towards the end. More videos are available on story/highlight on my Instagram account @palestineinadish. Once rolled, place each grape leaves in a cooking pot lining them next to each other for one layer, then on a second layer on top, keep repeating the process until all leaves are rolled.
- Once done, place the pot on the stove, sprinkle some salt, pour 1 cup of boiled water, let it boil on high heat for 10 minutes, then cover the pot and turn the heat on low.
- Let it cook for about half an hour, then pour the rest of the lemon juice and olive oil (which is about a ½ a cup of each) over the pot, put the lid back on and continue to simmer on low heat for another hour.