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Stuffed Grape Leaf Wreath Salad

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Photo of Stuffed Grape Leaf Wreath Salad

Stuffed Grape Leaf Wreath Salad

Photo © About.com, Inc.

A fabulous presentation dish that's easy to make, and perfect for the holidays or other special occasion, this Grape Leaf Wreath salad looks as good as it tastes. The filling is a classic combination of rice and lentils with a vinaigrette dressing and feta cheese, and the grape leaves can be used straight from the jar.

The salad needs to refrigerate overnight, so plan ahead.

Watch recipe in video, prepared by Chef John Mitzewich.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of long rain white rice
  • 1 cup of brown lentils
  • sea salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • .
  • FOR THE SALAD DRESSING
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 cup of lemon juice
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh oregano
  • sea salt to taste, about 1/2 teaspoon
  • .
  • 1 jar of grape leaves in brine (15 oz. jar)
  • 4 ounces of feta cheese, crumbled

Preparation:

Cook the rice as per package directions. Simmer the lentils until tender, for about 35 minutes, and drain well.

Combine hot rice and lentils in a mixing bowl and toss well to combine thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and set aside to cool a little.

Make the dressing: Whisk all dressing ingredients together.

While the rice and lentil mixture is still warm, add in 1/2 cup of dressing, toss well, and set aside.

Remove grape leaves from the jar and unroll. Select whole undamaged leaves, and use them to line a bundt pan. Start on the bottom and lay the leaves up the sides and middle, overlapping leaves to cover all exposed areas of the pan (see photo for guidance).

Notes:

  1. The salty brine in which the leaves are packed goes well with the rice and lentils, but if you're watching your salt intake, or if it tastes too salty, rinse the leaves before using, and pat with paper towels to remove excess moisture.
  2. The jar of leaves will contain about 50-60 leaves, depending on the leaf size, so even if some are torn or damaged, there will be enough for the recipe.

Add another 1/2 cup of dressing to the salad and toss to distribute. Add feta cheese. (If the salad is hotter than lukewarm, wait until it cools a little more before adding the cheese.)

Reserve 1 cup of the filling, and spoon the rest evenly into the grape leaf-lined bundt pan. It will fill it about halfway. Add a few more grape leaves on top, bring in the leaves from the sides and tuck in. Press gently to level it out.

Place plastic wrap on top of the leaves and weight down with several lemons, eggs, or small oranges - nothing too heavy (see photo for guidance), and refrigerate overnight.

To unmold, remove weights and plastic wrap, and place a serving plate over the mold. Invert. If any leaves stick out, just tuck them in.

Spoon the reserved cup of filling into the center of the wreath, and garnish decoratively, if desired. In the photo, Chef Mitzewich chose fresh oregano leaves and a tomato rose.

Serve with any remaining dressing on the side.

Related Video
Stuffed Grape Leaf Wreath

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