Best Ways to Use Grape Leaves in Greek Cooking

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Grapes grow plentifully throughout Greece and are also common throughout the world. This means that there are plenty of grape leaves for those who love cooking Greek food no matter where you are in the world! For those who will be picking their grape leaves fresh, it is best to do so in the early summer because this is when the leaves are at their most tender. If grape leaves aren’t available to pick, you can also find jarred grape leaves to use.

There are several recipes that involve grape leaves in Greek cuisine. These are some of the most popular that you can find. Although stuffed grape leaves, also known as dolmades, are the most popular, there are other ways you can work with these leaves.

Here’s a look at some of the best recipes that Greek cooking has to offer that involves grape leaves:

Stuffed Grape Leaves (With Meat)

One of the most common ways to prepare stuffed grape leaves is to prepare a mixture of rice, meat (usually lamb or beef) herbs like parsley, oregano, or spearmint, and onions. However, there are a lot of variations to this type of recipe, and that all depends on a variety of factors, such as personal preferences and availability of ingredients. However, this is by far one of the most popular ways to make stuffed grape leaves.

Meatless Stuffed Grape Leaves 

You don’t always need to make stuffed grape leaves with meat! You can easily make a flavorful, vegetarian version that just uses rice and other ingredients. A common Greek way to prepare stuffed grape leaves is to mix rice with olive oil, onions, and herbs and use that mixture to stuff inside the leaves. It has a slightly different texture than the ones that involve meat but the dish is no less flavorful.

Baked Fish in Grape Leaves

Did you know that you can actually wrap seafood in grape leaves before cooking? One of the common problems with cooking fish is that it is prone to drying out, especially if the fish doesn’t have a lot of natural oils. Wrapping the in grape leaves locks in valuable moisture.

Green Beans in Grape Leaves

Grape leaves can also enhance vegetable dishes. These green beans are wrapped in grape leaves. The leaves impart a delicious flavor onto the beans and at the same time, it keeps the beans moist. Be sure to serve these green beans with plenty of lemon!

Cheese Stuffed Grape Leaves

Did you know that you can actually stuff grape leaves with a mixture of different cheeses? This recipe works best if you use a meltable cheese like mozzarella. We have found that a mixture of mozzarella, selected for its meltability, and feta cheese, which gives it a nice tang, is a great combination. For even better results, use imported feta made from sheep or goat milk.

Keep in mind that exact recipes for these dishes involving grape leaves do vary depending on the region of Greece the recipe originated, the ingredients available, and even personal preferences. When following any of these recipes, consider making changes and substitutions depending on your preferences.

PLEASE NOTE: Greek recipes can be slightly different based on a variety of reasons, such as the region of Greece that the recipe is being made in. If you have seen this Greek recipe made another way, please send us an email to greekboston@worldwidegreeks.com and we will evaluate your suggestion. Thanks!

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