One of my all time favorite foods is stuffed grape leaves. They are tender, flavor packed rolled up grape leaves stuffed with rice and spices. It is a greek and middle eastern dish that is usually reserved for gatherings or special occasions because of the time consuming nature of making them. But I love them so much that I had to find a more do-able way to make these on a regular basis. Enter: the InstantPot. It seriously cut down on time and eased up the cooking process. You still have to do the rolling, but after that, it's just a 21 minute waiting game. And they come out SO TENDER. I have perfected my version of a stuffed grape leave about as deliciously as it can get.
Some versions use a combination of meat and rice but I much prefer the rice and veggie version. It keeps things light and bright. The meat weights down the dish and the meat flavor kind of feels overwhelming. BUT if that's your thing, go for it!
I'll admit, there is a bit of work involved in making this recipe because of the rolling, but it really is just a repetitive process and not anything complicated at all. I advice putting sometime on tv or listening to some good music to make the time go by faster. Don't let the time commitment intimidate you though, these little babies are SERIOUSLY worth the effort.
The best jar of grape leaves I have found is Orlando brand. This can be found in speciality markets, any Mediterranean grocery store will likely have it, and some Kroger stores.
Besides finding a good quality grape leave, all of the other ingredients are very simple and you probably have them all on hand:
- Olive oil
- Sweet onion
- Tomato Paste
- Salt + Pepper
Trust me, the rolling time is worth the effort.
Exhibit A 😋:
I hope you enjoy this delicious recipe. Let me know in the comments if you try it out! And tag us on Instagram with your grape leave creations!Print
6 main ingredients to make the simple and healthy stuffed grape leaves of your dreams! And all in your InstantPot!! (Alternative instructions without an Instant Pot below!)
- 1 jar of grape leaves
- 1 ¾ cups rice
- 1 small sweet onion
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- juice of 2 lemons
- 1 head parsley
- ¼ cup olive oil
- salt + pepper to taste
- optional (but highly recommended for extra flavor): 1 tablespoon of vegetable or chicken stock concentrate.
- Remove grape leaves from jar and rinse well under cool running water. Let soak in water while preparing filling.
- Rinse rice under water until the water runs mostly clear.
- In a large bowl, combine rice, chopped onion, tomato paste, juice of 1 ½ lemons, 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, and salt + pepper (I use about a teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper, but adjust to your taste). Add in optional stock if using. Mix well.
- Drain the grape leaves and prepare a work station for rolling (I like to have a cutting board for the rolling, and the InstantPot next to it so that I can place each rolled grape leave right in the pot as I go).
- Take each grape leave and lay flat on a surface, get about ½ tablespoon to a tablespoon of the mixture and place at the base of the grape leave neat the stem.
- Fold each side over and then roll upwards to make a tight wrap. Continue this process for all grape leaves.
- Arrange, packing tightly in Instant pot.
- Squeeze remaining lemon juice and drizzle at least a tablespoon of olive oil on top. The more olive oil you use, the juicer it will be, so don't be shy about adding a little extra.
- Add 1 cup of water then press the grape leaves down with hand.
- Set InstantPot to MANUAL HIGH, 16 MINUTES.
- Let steam natural release for at least 5 minutes before manually releasing.
- Enjoy with yogurt.
- These stuffed grape leaves keep well in the fridge for several days. To reheat, place back in InstantPot and set to WARM for 20 minutes. You may want to add a little water so that they aren't dried out.