Stuffed Grape Leaves Casserole Recipe | Vegetarian Times Skip to main content

Stuffed Grape Leaves Casserole

If you like stuffed grape leaves, you’ll love this casserole, which has all the flavors of the bite-size appetizers without all the rolling. You don’t have to parboil jarred grape leaves, but a quick dip in boiling water tenderizes them and removes some of their saltiness.



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30 jarred or fresh grape leaves
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2 Tbs. olive oil, plus more for brushing top of casserole and casserole dish
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1 large onion, finely diced (2 cups)
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1 cup brown rice
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2 cups low-sodium tomato juice or vegetable juice
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1 cup chopped unsalted, hulled pistachios
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1 cup chopped fresh parsley
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1 cup chopped fresh mint
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1 cup raisins or dried currants
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¼ cup lemon juice
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1 lemon, sliced, for garnish


1. Dip grape leaves in large pot of boiling water 2 minutes. Drain, and set aside.

2. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, and sauté 7 to 10 minutes, or until beginning to brown. Add rice and 21/2 cups water, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 30 to 40 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, and stir in tomato juice, pistachios, parsley, mint, raisins, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. (Mixture will be very wet.)

3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush 2-qt. baking dish with olive oil. Pat grape leaves dry. Line bottom and sides of baking dish with grape leaves, allowing leaves to hang over sides. Spread half of rice mixture over grape leaves. Top rice with more grape leaves, then top with remaining rice mixture. Cover casserole with remaining grape leaves, and seal by folding over grape leaves around edges. Brush top with olive oil. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, or until grape leaves on top darken and casserole looks firm and dry.

4. Dip knife in cold water. Cut straight down with tip of knife to make 8 servings, then remove servings with spatula. Garnish with lemon slices, and drizzle with pomegranate molasses (if using).

Nutrition Information: 

8 g
Total Fat: 
15 g
Saturated Fat: 
2 g
48 g
0 mg
408 mg
6 g
17 g
Serves 8

Comments on this Recipe

Loved the idea, but the filling I thought was much too sweet. Also the grape leaves were difficult to cut, they ended up coming all out in one piece on the fork. Maybe my jarred leaves were tougher than others and I should have boiled them longer. Will not be making this one again.

I have had some challenges with my heart and urinary. I am quite thin, though I am very energetic. I love fish and vegetables. Please help me with recipes to exclude meats

Is there another nut that we can use such as walnuts instead of pistachios? They are too expensive for my weekly budget.

You could mix the pistachios with Pine nuts. But both are pricey depending on the deal you get. I happen to be Greek and love this recipe. You also could omit the nuts and it'll still be wonderful. I am a heart patient too and love this recipe. I added fresh dill with the mint and parsley, cumin, black pepper and a little red pepper for zing. I also doubled the mixture to make a substantial casserole to last longer and so it was denser. Be generous with your fresh can't overdo. Walnuts would not add a nice flavor to this dish but you could try it.

I finally made this last night and it turned out good. I think if I were to make it I would turn it more into a Middle Eastern dish. I added raw almonds instead of pistachios and added garlic for more flavor. It's not a strong, intense flavor but works nicely for cold winter nights. Next time we will double the spices like Erenne.

I really liked this. I look forward to tweaking it to my personal preferences, but it's a keeper. I'd like more grape leaf flavor, so will try doubling the layers. And I may leave out the sweet ingredients and make it more tomato-y. Thanks for this recipe!

i have a hard time believing this only has 2 grams of fat with a cup of nuts and olive oil.

Made this with spinach leaves. Was perfect!

Could use some adjustments. I would strongly suggest leaving the raisins out all together- they make the filling too sweet to be able to enjoy, and just ends up hindering all the other good flavors going on. I ended up picking all of them out as I ate. I used jarred leaves, and boiled them 7 minutes until they ripped easily, but that didn't seem to be quite enough for easy cutting. I would suggest perhaps 10 minutes. I also boiled the rice with a few chicken buyon cubes for extra flavor, which I think helped but it is covered up by the after taste of the raisins. I think I'll try this one again, without the raisins next time, and perhaps some garlic along with the onions.

We just LOVED this exactly as it is here. We followed the directions on the cutting and it popped out of the casserole dish perfectly.

This u should try

So good!!!!


Delish! I love dolmas but they are so time consuming to prepare. I made this dish for a girls' hangout day (lunch and Twilight - sorry we love it!) I prepared the filling the night before. As I was preparing the dish I realized at 10:00 I forgot to buy pistachios!!! I improvised with toasting some almond slivers with olive oil and garlic salt. Like some comments my leaves were a little on the tough side. I will boil them longer next time and maybe give them a quick steaming. Wonderful dish that can be played around with!


This is a great recipe! I'm less about cultural authenticity and more about flavor, so of course other nuts make sense both from the standpoint of flavor and/or what do I need to use from my kitchen to maintain a pantry of fresh ingredients I also added French lentils to boost the protein. After all, lentils are little sponges that soak up whatever flavors are around them. Many vegetarian recipes do not stand up well to freezing making this recipe a real treasure. And finally, since I have become a vegan of the "Forks Over Knives" variety, this recipe works because I can eliminate the 2 T. oil for the onions by steaming them instead and then add the onion water to cook the rice. The oil for brushing top of casserole and casserole dish is negligible.

Thank you for posting this on the Website. I made it with the magazine in hand, and then lost that copy! I've returned to the website to find this recipe, but it wasn't available. Everyone loved it in my family. I used grape leaves from my garden and discovered one variety is tastier than the other. I did not use raisins, since my children don't like them, and the recipe was perfect.

I usually make stuffed grape leaves so a casserole sounded like less work. I was pleasantly surrpised how similar it tasted!!!!! II didn't use raisins or nuts and thoight it was not needed. I substituted some things that I usually make with my stuffed grape leaves: 1 can of tomato sauce, more lemon 3/4 cup, 7 spices seasoning (about 1 Tbs purchased from middle eastern store)and garlic. Great alternative and will make this again!!!

Made this tonight. Flavor of the filling was excellent, especially adding the pistachio as it gave is just the right texture. The only problem I had was with the grape leaves - I bought jarred and boiled for a bit. But, baking them caused the ones on the top to be crispy and the family didn't really care for that. I think next time, I will use the same filling but just wrap the leaves and then simmer in some vegetable broth for an hour.

Any way to do this without oil.

This tasted really good, but was a lot of work and the leaves on top looked like kale chips when it was done. Not sure if I'd make again or not...

Made it today, with raisins, spinach, lentils and 3/4 glass of lemon juice recommended by someone who wrote a comment ( which was definitely too much so I would use half a cup as the original recipe said) and it would turn out lovely if not too much lemon juice, still i recommend, great recipe

And i used 1/2 cup pistachio and half a cup pine nuts, cooked grape leaves for 10 min under cover and left them afterwards to soak in this water until i needed them. I didn't pat them dry, just drained them and they were heavenly tender and the top ones crispy:-)

I followed recipe to a T, except I didn't have pistachios so I omitted. I was pleasantly surprised at the flavor I got from this. Besides being slightly labor intensive, it was fairly easy to make. I would consider making again.

Looks good. . .enjoy!!

And what to serve with it for company?

Omg! I can't wait to try this yumminess! Looks so good, and relatively healthy too!

Yummo this idea

When I recently thought of this (after rolling dozens and dozens of dolmas, I thought "I'm a genius!" I then immediately thought "I bet others have already been doing this." and started searching. I plan to try a variant of this next time I make them and hope this will make it a more frequent meal(my fiance loves them but they are too much work to make often.) Thanks for giving me hope that this will work out!