Whenever I do a Whole 30, the “grab and go” options are the key to my success. One of my favorite grab and go options are stuffed grape leaves. These can be made ahead, and last throughout the week as a great addition to salads or kept as a good high protein snack throughout the day.
While I normally like to stuff my grape leaves with lamb, ground lamb isn’t always readily available or on sale. My husband and I did a big cost-co run a few weeks ago, and got some excellent organic ground beef that we had stored in the freezer. Since I am a bit “hamburgered” out from the recent 4th of July holiday, I wanted to use the beef for something different, and thought I’d try putting them in my grape leaves.
Non-paleo grape leaves are typically stuffed with rice, and occasionally meat. Obviously, I don’t use rice, but i do like to add something to lighten up the meat and add some nice acidity. This time, I thought I would do that by adding in some chopped up artichoke hearts, olives and capers. The artichokes not only add in some extra veggies, but are a great source of fiber as well as vitamin C and K. To keep this healthy, I used frozen artichoke hearts as opposed to canned ones, that typically come with all sorts of other “stuff” in it. The frozen artichoke hearts are far more affordable than the fresh, and involve a LOT less work to get them prepped.
The trickiest part of this dish is rolling the grape leaves. To do this, I pull a roll of the leaves from the jar and lay them out flat. Some of the leaves will be large enough to use on your own (slightly larger than your hand), but others may need to be laid out with a second leaf on top to create a secure surface. Once you have spooned the mixture on to the center of the leaf or leaves, roll it like a burrito, tucking in the ends. I have found the rolls are a bit more secure after having been refrigerated, but they can also be enjoyed immediately.
I am working on another recipe for grape leaves using lamb that I will publish soon, but in the meantime, enjoy this version!!
- 1.5 lb ground beef
- 1/2 a large yellow onion
- 4 oz frozen artichoke hearts (thawed and chopped)
- 1/4 cup pitted Kalamata Olives (chopped)
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 2 tbsp capers
- 1 tsp ghee
- 1 jar grape leaves
- Heat up the ghee in a pan over medium heat. When it has melted, and pan is coated, add in the onions and garlic, and cook until fragrant and onions are translucent (about 3-5 minutes). Add artichoke hearts, cumin and paprika to the mixture, and cook for another 2-3 minutes while stirring.
- Add the ground beef to the pan, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Continue cooking until meat has browned and has broken up. Add in the olives and capers and cook for 3 more minutes. Remove from heat and let cool (about 15 minutes).
- Lay out the grape leaves on a flat surface. If the leaf is too small, or does not have a lot of good surface area, you can double up. Spoon a small amount of the beef mixture onto the center of the grape leaves, and roll it up like a burrito. Repeat until all of the beef mixture has been used (will make about 3 dozen). Serve immediately, or refrigerate to enjoy later.
These are great to throw into salads, but I also like eating them alone and dipping them in paleo tartar sauce as a quick protein filled snack. Can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.