When I was growing up, we used to go to this buffet restaurant that had all kinds of Mediterranean and Greek food. Feta this, baklava that. Gawd, was it good. They also had these small rectangular box-shaped green things. <I’m using hand gestures here to show you what they looked like. Got it?> 🙂
It turned out these green things were stuffed grape leaves. Sometimes the insides were different, but they were always pretty tasty. As it turned out, I grew up, married a Greek, and kapow. I could have Greek food just about any time I wanted. No buffet needed. The stuffed leaves are called dolmades and sadly they’re usually stuffed with tasty goodness that will expand your waistline. Not to mention the whole try finding grape leaves at your local Walmart bit.
Good luck finding grape leaves anywhere actually. I was sad, but in walked kale leaves to save the dolmade day. Stuffing healthier things inside kale leaves really improves these babies and lets you eat quite a few in one sitting. I dipped mine in balsamic vinaigrette, but you could also use Caesar dressing or tatziki instead.
Stuffed Kale Dolmades
- 10 large kale leaves
- 1/2 cup uncooked red quinoa
- 1 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
- 16 oz grilled chicken breast
Wash your kale leaves and dry them well. Remove the stems from the bottom and leave just the leaf part. Place them on a microwave safe plate and microwave them for about 2 minutes until they soften a little bit. You want them to be pliable but not mush.
Cook the quinoa according to the package directions. When the quinoa is done, stir in the lemon pepper and fluff it with a fork. Slice your chicken breast into small pieces. I went slightly smaller than bite sized so I could get them stuff into the leaves.
Mix the chicken pieces into the quinoa and you’re ready to stuff. Spread a kale leaf out and put some of the chicken mixture in the middle. Tuck the sides in a bit and then roll the leaf up around the filling. You do this tricky move just like you’d roll a burrito. I have two shown in the pic above along with an open one to show you what the filling looks like.
Repeat with the remaining leaves and filling to make 10 dolmades. Dip in balsamic dressing or other dressing of choice. Easy as can be and no never ending hunt for grape leaves needed. You can also use any color quinoa that you’d like. I had red and thought it would look pretty in the green frilly leaves.
Have you ever tried dolmades? What would you dip yours in?