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Vegetarian Grape Leaves – A guilt-free and well-known dish that can be served as an appetizer or as a main dish, vegetarian grape leaves!

It’s a wonderfully light, but satisfying meal. I made this recipe quicker by using the pressure cooker- an instant pot!

Vegetarian Grape Leaves is tangy and soaked in juices of olive oil, lemon, veggies, and spices. This dish is quite easy in terms of the level of difficulty, but it is a bit time-consuming and even tedious.


Vegetarian Stuffed Grape Leaves

A delicious savory dish of vegetarian stuffed grape leaves and decorated with lemon slices
A succulent dish that can be served as a main dish or an appetizer, Vegetarian Grape Leaves will have you craving this recipe all the time.

If you are a skeptic, just look below and see the beautiful results of my grape leaves! The rolling is a satisfying task especially when the final results of this savory dish are reaped.


What Is Vegetarian Grape Leave

Grape leaves dish is a healthy option to serve to your family. Your kids will enjoy vegetables wrapped in delicious tender grape leaves.

They are high in fiber and low in calories. It is rich in vitamins K and A with a high level of antioxidants. What a healthy savory dish!

It is one of the main dishes in Lebanese mesa. It pairs perfectly with fattoush, hummus, and fried kibbeh.


Stuffing for the Vegetarian Grape Leaves Recipe

The stuffing is comprised of veggies and rice You’re making tabouli (tabbouleh/tabbouli) but with a slight variation. In tabouli salad, you add bulgur to the veggies.

In this stuffing, you replace bulgur with rice. You finely chop onions, tomatoes, and parsley and you add the rice. Then, you add the seasonings required in the recipe. These are the basic components for the stuffing!


A Tantalizing Treat for your Taste Buds!

Grape leaves perfectly rolled and stuffed with rice and vegetables
Looks good and tastes even better!

Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker

The greatest recent invention in terms of kitchen appliances is definitely the instant pot. You can control the cooking temperatures and time, unlike the old-fashioned pressure cookers.

The instant pot has become a life-saver for lots of mothers around the world. Instead of waiting hours and hours for a meal to be ready in the oven or on the stovetop, it takes minutes or max an hour or so.


The instant pot has also taken the place of other appliances such as the rice cooker.

The Vegetarian Grape Leaves recipe, though a little time-consuming in preparation, needs a mere 18 minutes cook time in the instant pot. Stove-top grape leaves would need at least an hour and a half on low heat and about an hour on medium heat. That’s a lot of time saved!


What Are Grape Leaves

Grape leaves are the leaves of what is called the grapevine plant. Yes, you read right! These are literally the leaves right off the vines that hold grapes.

They are most popularly known for their use in this dish, otherwise called dolma, Yalanji, or stuffed grape leaves. But, they do have other edible uses.

They can be cut up and used in soups, can be used raw as wrap (similar to lettuce), or in place of bread.


Grape leaves are usually brined, pickled, and canned or jarred. I usually purchase from a few different brands like Orlando California which you can find at Walmart, Amazon or local middle eastern markets! Another brand I use is by Al Afi.

You can pick your own grape leaves! Some ways to store grape leaves include dry pickling. They are intricately folded and packed tightly into airtight containers.

You can also store freshly picked leaves in freezer bags and freeze them raw or boil them for about fifteen minutes, and then freeze them. Remove them a few hours before use to thaw out.


A Bundle of Perfectly Cooked and Seasoned Rice with Veggies Wrapped in Savory Vine Leaves!

Vine leaves filled with vegetables and rice are easily cooked in the instant pot and ready in 18 minutes.
If you are a skeptic, just look above and see the beautiful results of my grape leaves! When rolling grape leaves. The rolling is a satisfying task especially when the final results of this savory dish are reaped.

How to Stuff and Roll Grape Leaves

I can’t say there’s one special or specific technique for rolling. The one included in the steps of the recipe is great and simple.

It’s important to know that the leaf must be rolled tightly so that it doesn’t come apart while cooking. It also makes for a nicer presentation when they’re tightly rolled.

Furthermore, it’s essential you ensure that the rough side (or raised side) is facing up and the smooth side is what shows after rolling.


Another important thing to know is that you shouldn’t overdo the stuffing. This will cause your grape leaves to fall apart. If the rice is plenty and it expands from the broth, it can tear your leaf and leave you with a mushy mess.

Also, after you fold the sides of the leaf over the stuffing, make sure you slightly pull the leaf toward you as your roll. This ensures a tighter grip of the leaf over the stuffing.

It’s worth noting that you can also use a grape leaf roller if you feel nervous about rolling the perfect grape leaf. Though my personal experience is that hand-rolled are just prettier and yummier!


To Make Things Clear, Check these Images!


Put the chopped vegetables and rice in a bowl and season them.
A bowl of chopped vegetables and rice ready to be mixed and seasoned to stuff the grape leaves

Mix the ingredients well until veggies and rice are well incorporated.
A bowl of stuffing made of rice and chopped vegetables to fill in dolma

Lay the grape leaf with the rough side facing up.
A grape leaf with rough side facing up ready to be filled with veggies and rice

Fill in each leaf about a tablespoon of the stuffing mix.
Set a teaspoon of vegan stuffing on the grape leaf.

Roll the grape leaf over the stuffing.
Roll the grape leaf over the stuffing

Fold the left and right edges of the leaf inward.
Roll the grape leaf over the stuffing and fold the right and left edges inward

Continue rolling the leaf tightly.
Grape Leaves tightly stuffed over the stuffing

This the final rolled leaf. Beautiful!
A grape leaf perfectly rolled over the stuffing and ready to be stacked in the pot

Now, stack the stuffed grape leaves in the instant pot.
Instant pot filled with perfectly rolled grape leaves ready to be on fire

Pour the broth left from the stuffing and the olive oil broth you prepared over the leaves.
Olive oil broth is poured over the grape leaves.

After 18 minutes in the instant pot, you will get these beautiful stuffed grape leaves with all the juices infused in each bite!
A dish if juicy grape leaves stuffed with rice and veggies and decorated with lemon slices
Bon Appetit!

How to Layer Grape Leaves and Veggies in Instant Pot

A creative way to cook this Vegetarian Grape Leaves recipe is to layer it. What do I mean you ask? Simple! Get some more yummy veggies and the added extra vitamins and nutrients.

You can layer the bottom of the pot with potatoes cut into round chip form. This also helps the grape leaves from sticking if you’re cooking in a regular pot over stove-top heat. Plus, the potatoes soaked in the succulent lemony broth are to die for!


On top of the potatoes obviously goes a layer or two of the dolma or stuffed grape leaves. Then, you can add a layer of carrots, thinly sliced length-wise.

After that, you layer with dolma and continue with every two layers of grape leaves a layer of either potatoes or carrots or mix them together.


Tips and Tricks

You have to wrap the grape leaves tightly after you put the stuffing. But, do not roll it too tight because the rice needs to expand as it cooks.

If not available, you can switch out dried mint for fresh mint.

You can also substitute red or white onions with scallions. They are fresh green onions that add much flavor to your dish.

Instead of seven spices, you can use black pepper.


You can use rice of your choice. But the vegetarian stuffing for grape leaves works great with short-grain rice.

If you don’t have curly parsley, flat-leaf parsley will do just fine.

Lay about 6 leaves at once and place filling on each and roll one by one for quicker results.⁣

If you have extra room in your pot, have extra stuffing, and some zucchini on hand, then try the following. Core your zucchini, stuff it with the vegetarian stuffing and line your pot with it.

It’s so delicious. What a great way to add even more veggies and flavors to an already flavorful dish.

To cook over the stovetop, follow the same steps but add 1 cup of water to the broth. Bring to a low boil, then cover and simmer them for 45 minutes.  


One of my Favorite Appetizers! Try it Now!

A healthy appetizer of vegetarian grape leaves
What a healthy savory dish suitable for your delicious rich menu!

Ingredients for Vegetarian Grape Leaves


Grape Leaves and Stuffing

  • pickled grape leaves
  • chopped onions
  • diced tomatoes 
  • chopped curly parsley 
  • salt
  • dried mint
  • lemon juice or citric acid
  • olive oil
  • short grain rice
  • seven spices (all spice) – or black pepper

Broth

  • seven spices (all spice)⁣ – or black pepper
  • salt
  • lemon juice or citric acid
  • olive oil

How to prepare vegetarian grape leaves

Start by soaking grape leaves in water for 15 minutes, then place in a strainer. ⁣

Meanwhile, mix the stuffing ingredients. Then, place them in another strainer and over a bowl to collect the juice.  Taste it and adjust the salt if needed.⁣

Now, get a grape leaf and cut the stem off. Lay it flat on a hard surface, rough side facing up.  Fill with about ½ tablespoon of stuffing.⁣

Fold from the right side of the leaf, then the left side, and begin tightly rolling. Arrange the leaves in the pot. ⁣

Once finished, strain the juice of the rice mixture and add over the rolled leaves in the pot. ⁣

In a bowl, add the “broth mixture” ingredients listed above. Then, mix, taste, and pour over the rolled leaves placed in the pot. ⁣

Set pressure cooker on rice mode for 18 minutes.


Frequently Asked Questions

Are Grape Leaves Vegan?

Although there are many variations of grape leaves from different countries, vegetarian grape leaves are vegan yes! The stuffing consists of ingredients like rice, onions, tomatoes and parsley with spices and lemon.

Can you freeze grapeleaves?

You can freeze them yes! Gently tie up a group of the “pre-cooked” grape leaves then wrap with parchment paper. Place in a zip lock bag and freeze! I have tried this method and it works perfectly 🙂 Great question

Can I use fresh grape leaves that I pick from my garden?

What a great idea! Freshly picked grape leaves have an extra flavor. Choose medium-size leaves. Since they are still fresh and hard to fold, you have to soak them in hot water for a few minutes before you use the. This way it will be easier for you to roll them over the stuffing.


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5 from 7 votes

Vegetarian Grape Leaves

By: Lama
A juicy vegetarian dish made in the instant pot that will fill you up, but leaves you wanting more.
Prep Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Servings: 18 servings

Equipment

  • Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker

Ingredients 

Grape Leaves and Stuffing

  • 1 jar pickled grape leaves
  • 1 ½ cups short grain rice
  • 3 medium tomatoes, finely diced
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch curly parsley, finely, chopped
  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon seven spices (all spice), or use black pepper instead (also very delicious)
  • ½ tablespoon dried mint
  • cup olive oil
  • 1 large lemon juice, or 1 teaspoon citric acid

Broth

  • teaspoon seven spices (all spice)⁣, or black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt, to taste
  • ½ cup lemon juice, or 1/4 teaspoon of citric acid
  • cup olive oil

Instructions 

  • Soak grape leaves in water for 15 minutes, then place in strainer. ⁣
  • Mix together the washed and drained short-grain rice, dices tomatoes, onion, chopped parsley, olive oil, salt, seven spices, mint, and lemon. Taste it and adjust the salt if needed.⁣
  • Be sure to save the juice of the rice and veggies mixture since you will use it to cook the grape leaves. You can place the rice and veggies in a strainer over a bowl to collect the juice or once you are finished rolling the grape strain the juice over the rolled grape leaves in the pot.
  • First, cut the small stem off the grape leaf then lay it flat on a hard surface, rough side facing up.  Fill with about ½ tablespoon of stuffing.⁣
  • Fold over the grape leaf to cover the stuffing and roll in once tightly.
  • Then, fold in from the left and right and continue rolling tightly. Place it in the instant pot or you can place it on a regular stovetop to cook over the stove. ⁣
  • Once finished, strain the juice of the rice mixture and add over the rolled leaves in the pot. ⁣
  • In a bowl, add the “broth mixture” ingredients listed above then mix, taste, and pour over the rolled leaves placed in the pot. ⁣
  • Set pressure cooker on brown rice mode for 18 minutes high.
  • Serve and enjoy.

Video

Notes

Note 1: You have to wrap the grape leaves tightly after you put the stuffing. But, do not roll it too tight because the rice needs to expand as it cooks.
Note 2: If not available, you can switch out dried mint for fresh mint.
Note 3: You can also substitute red or white onions with scallions
Note 4: Instead of seven spices, you can use black pepper, or use both.
Note 5: You can use rice of your choice. But the vegetarian stuffing for grape leaves works great with short-grain rice.
Note 6: If you don’t have curly parsley, flat-leaf parsley will do just fine.
Note 7: Lay about 6 leaves at once and place filling on each and roll one by one for quicker results.⁣
Note 8: If you have extra room in your pot, have extra stuffing, and some zucchini on hand, then try the following. Core your zucchini, stuff it with the vegetarian stuffing and line your pot with it.
Note 9: To cook over the stovetop, follow the same steps but add 1 cup of water to the broth. Bring to a low boil, then cover and simmer them for 45 minutes.  
Check out these steps to perfectly prepare the vegetarian grape leaves.
Prepare the stuffing of well-seasoned rice and chopped veggies.
Put the stuffing on the rough side of the leaf and start rolling.
Tightly roll the leaf over the stuffing, but not too tight!
Stack them in the pot and pour the broth over the pot.
Bon Appetit!

Nutrition

Calories: 140kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 327mg | Potassium: 99mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 443IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 1mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

About Lama

I'm Lama, welcome to my blog where you will find simple and diverse recipes your entire family will enjoy. I am honored to connect with you through the recipes I prepare!

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Recipe Rating




15 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I never realize that I could make grape leaves using an instant pot! I tried them for the first time and they came out perfect thanks.

  2. 5 stars
    I’m looking forward to trying this vegetarian grape leaves recipe. I’ve always wanted to learn how to make it

    1. Hi Sue! The rice for grape leaves should be raw and not precooked 🙂 please let me know if you have any other questions.

      1. Thanks for the quick response. I’ve always sauteed onions and par-cooked the rice before stuffing. Can’t wait to make them in the IP.

  3. 5 stars
    Looks delicious, reminds me of what my Mum used to cook for my Turkish father, but it took ages and wasn’t vegetarian. I’m thinking of giving it a try in my Instant Pot but I only have basmati rice – can that be used instead of short grain?

    1. Typically short grain rice is the best option, although long grain will work it won’t fill the grape leaf as well as the short grain will. Short grain also soaks up flavor better than long grain in recipes that call for stuffing like this one 🙂 Hope that helps!

  4. 5 stars
    I made this recipe today!!! The grape leaves tasted phenomenal!…. I wonder if I can freeze them. If yes do you recommend freezing before or after cooking?

    1. Happy to hear! You can freeze yes! Gently tie up a group of the pre-cooked grape leaves then wrap with parchment paper. Place in a zip lock bag and freeze! I have tried this method and it works perfectly 🙂 Great question

  5. 5 stars
    I’ve always wondered how these are made…they look so delish!!! Thank you for sharing this detailed recipe. Will def try it

  6. 5 stars
    This is my first time cooking this in an instant pot, is there a reason there is no water included in the broth?

    1. Hi Summer! Because you are adding the juices that remain from the stuffing. Did you miss that in the instructions? Let me know how your grape leaves came out 🙂