Cauliflower Rice Stuffed Grapeleaves
I’m amused when I think about how many cultural Jewish foods involve stuffing. From stuffed cabbage, eggplant, zucchini, onion and peppers, these vegetable bases are most often filled with ground meat and rice mixture which Sephardic Jews call “hashu”. Of course, I love any dish that revolves around a veggie. It’s a great way to encourage people to try new vegetables when its mixed with easy-to-please ingredients like meat and rice.
But what if you want to avoid the added carbohydrate or, like the holiday of Passover for some cultures, cannot eat rice? Welcome cauliflower rice into the mix! I’m the first to admit that the only thing rice-like about this veggie is the shape. However, it comes out really good when used as stuffing in and of itself or mixed with the meat filling.
And who could forget the sauce? Here’s where cultural and personal taste preferences come in. From tomato-based toppings for a stuffed cabbage to a tamarind paste with either a lemon or sweet (or both!) flavor, the sauce part is where one dish can really differ from the next. I’m sharing my favorite sauce recipe for practically anything “stuffed” but here I used it on top of grapeleaves stuffed with cauliflower. There’s also a grape stuffed grape leave (or “yebrah”) recipe in my first book LIVING A REAL LIFE WITH REAL FOOD.
Syrian-Style Sauce for Stuffed Veggies
A sauce recipe that can be used on top of any stuffed veggie dish.
12-24 stuffed grapeleaves, onions, cabbage, or zucchini
1/2 cup Tarmahinidi (aka Oot or Tamarind Paste; if none is available use prune butter, but it will make the recipe much sweeter)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup water (or more to cover)
6 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp salt
Place the stuffed veggies in a pot. Combine the ingredients to make the sauce in a jar and shake to thoroughly mix. Pour the sauce over the veggies (it should just about cover the top, if not add water). Cover and allow to cook on a low-medium flame for about 1 hour.