Brown Rice Grape Leaf Salad

  • Yield servings

The best flavors and textures of a good dolma- a Mediterranean stuffed grape leaf mezze-combine in a salad that is more fun to make and eat than the individually stuffed appetizer.



1 cup brown rice
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, if needed
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
1/2 cup currants
1/2 cup dry-roasted shelled pistachios or toasted pine nuts
1/3 cup finely chopped, rinsed, and drained brined grape leaves
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
2 tablespoons minced fresh mint
6 cups arugula or mixed greens
1 1/3 cups plain Greek yogurt
-- lemon wedges


If using uncooked rice: Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a heavy medium saucepan.  Add the rice and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.  Return the water to a boil and reduce heat to a very low.  Cover and simmer until the rice is tender and the water is absorbed, about 40 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes.  Transfer the rice to a bowl and stir in 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon lemon juice and let cool to room temperatures. 

If using packaged rice: Place the rice in a large microwave-safe bowl.  Add 1 tablespoon water. Cover and microwave on high 1 minute or until rice softens.  Mix in 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon lemon juice.

Stir the currants, nuts, chopped grape leaves, green onions, feta, cilantro, dill, and mint into the cooled rice.

In a separate large bowl, toss the arugula with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon lemon juice.  Season the greens to taste with salt.  Divide the greens among 4 plates and top with the rice salad, dividing evenly.  Spoon a dollop of yogurt alongside the salad; garnish with lemon wedges, and serve.

Reprinted with permission from Salad for Dinner by Jeanne Kelley, Rizzoli International Publications, Inc.