Andalucian Stuffed Vine Leaves with Spinach, Raisins and Almonds

4 Sep

I’ve been watching these grapes drying on the vine and turning into raisins. Every day I walk past them and wonder if they are going to pick them today or whether they are just leaving them to rot.

There’s a traditional Andaluz dish called Espinacas con Pasas y Almendras which is Spinach with Raisins & Almonds. I wanted to use this as a filling for stuffed vine leaves because it is similar to the Greek/Middle Eastern filling except they usually contain rice. I wanted to do and Andalucian version but I couldn’t find vine leaves anywhere, they just don’t sell them.

So I decided to pick some and use them, well I got The Washer Up to pick them actually. I read about how to prepare them here. Basically you just wash them, blanch them for a few minutes in boiling water, drain them, leave them to dry and then store them in the fridge or freezer.

Or you could just buy them in a jar and rinse them before using.

When you’ve made the filling you pile a heaped teaspoon onto the vine leaf at the bottom where the stalk has been removed. Then you fold the bottom leaves up over the filling, fold the sides in and roll up like a spring roll.

I only cooked mine for 15 minutes because my filling didn’t contain rice. Most recipes I looked at were cooked over a low heat for about 45 minutes to cook the rice. This is much quicker.

This makes quite a lot of filling and I didn’t have that many vine leaves (as I had picked them off somebody elses vine) so I used the rest of the filling to make some empanadas which were lovely too. You can buy ready to use round empanada sheets or make you own pastry from my recipe here.

Just pile  a heaped tablespoon of the filling on one side of the circle, fold the other side over to make a semi-circle and seal the edges with a fork. Brush with olive oil or beaten egg and cook at 200 C for 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of your pastry.

Andalucian Stuffed Vine Leaves with Spinach, Raisins & Almonds

makes 24-36 stuffed vine leaves, vegetarian, gluten-free

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 500 gr frozen spinach, defrosted and drained
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded & finely chopped (optional)
  • 75 gr whole toasted almonds, roughly chopped
  • 50 gr raisins
  • freshly grated nutmeg (about 1/4 tsp)
  • a handful of fresh parsley, chopped plus extra for garnish
  • salt & black pepper
  • 50 gr manchego cheese, grated (or crumbled feta)
  •  a squeeze of lemon juice
  • vine leaves (rinsed if in brine) see how to prepare vine leaves here

Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat, add the onions and a pinch of salt and cook for about 5 minutes until softened and translucent. Add the garlic and chilli and cook for another minute.

Add in the nuts, spinach, raisins and nutmeg, season with salt & pepper and cook for another few minutes. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and the grated cheese. Taste for seasoning and drain away any excess liquid from the spinach. transfer to a bowl to cool.

Lay out your rinsed or blanched vine leaves (cut away any stalks) on a clean surface veiny side up. Pile a heaped teaspoon of the filling onto the bottom part of the leaf where the stalk was (see picture above) then fold the bottom leaves up and over the filling. Fold both sides of the leaf in and over the filling, then roll it up like a mini spring roll.

Place all the rolled vine leaves seam side down in a saucepan, squash them together so there’s no gaps. Drizzle with olive oil and then cover with water to about and inch over the vine leaves. Cover them with a heatproof plate (to stop them floating up), bring to the boil then lower the heat to a simmer, cover with lid and cook for about 15 minutes (if your filling doesn’t contain uncooked rice). Keep an eye on them though and try not to burn the bottom of the pan. I may or may not have done this!

Remove with tongs to a plate and leave to cool.

Serve at room temperature sprinkled with fresh parsley and a Greek yoghurt dip. I just mixed some Greek yoghurt with chopped fresh parsley, lemon juice and salt and pepper.

Things That Made Me Smile Today…….

My beautiful, if slightly mental cats……

The gorgeous and terribly aloof Anouschka. Also known as Moomin Mamma (If you don’t know what a Moomin is, they have big staring eyes).

The beautiful Biba, bonkers but very attentive….

And the baby Tallulah, looks evil, scared of everything but loves to be loved….

This is her favourite spot….

14 Responses to “Andalucian Stuffed Vine Leaves with Spinach, Raisins and Almonds”

  1. Savorique September 4, 2011 at 9:42 pm #

    This Andalucian version of stuffed vine leaves is stunning!! Thanks for sharing this. I’m going to send this post over to a friend in NY who makes amazing Middle Eastern stuffed vine leaves along with stuffed zucchinis (with rice).

  2. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide September 4, 2011 at 9:50 pm #

    Wow, those cats have some bright eyes! I love all of these recipes! Great photos as always. If I ever forget to say that, I’m still thinking it.

  3. Clarkie @ Beloved Green September 5, 2011 at 4:40 am #

    Okay, these are beautiful kitties!
    I love the presentation with these vine leaves, I can just imagine how it tastes!

  4. tony ward September 5, 2011 at 8:21 am #

    Now this is a teaser !!! Next time we are at a wine estate do I eat the vines OR drink the wines ???

    Love the pic’s of ‘the girls’, still running the roost I guess. I’m thinking Brigitte Bardot in the kitchen ? ! xx

  5. Angie's Recipes September 5, 2011 at 10:06 am #

    wow those stuffed wine leaves look splendid and the pastries would be really great with some soup.

    Cute kitties! Tallulah looks so much like my coco.

  6. Medeja September 5, 2011 at 12:02 pm #

    Oh I adore cats! They are so cute!

    And recipe is very interesting, I don’t think I have ever tried something like that. You always have such interesting recipes!

  7. thefooddoctor September 5, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

    You have some super cute cats..my daughter has been nagging to get one forever now..
    and I loved you vine leaves stuffing…I only know rice ones, with meat and with tomato, green onions and herbs..now I have a new recipe to try

    Breath taking pictures as always

  8. Beth Michelle September 5, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

    Wow, these are just beautiful Natalie! Love the photos of your cats, those blue eyes are gorgeous!

  9. chicaandaluza September 5, 2011 at 4:31 pm #

    Stunning recipe again Natalie (and the photos of course). Will have to tell my mum about this as she has prepared some vine leaves too – can you believe it from my dad´s vine in his back garden in London?! Gorgeous kitties🙂

  10. typefashion September 7, 2011 at 2:36 am #

    The recipe sounds awesome ! I am trying to be more vegie ! so great to see good recipes🙂

    xoxo

    http://www.typefashion.wordpress.com

  11. tiffany September 8, 2011 at 1:58 am #

    This looks super tasty! I love that they do not contain rice… much lighter (which is code word for I can eat more of them!)

  12. Caroline September 9, 2011 at 7:53 pm #

    Great recipes! All look/sound delicious. Your cats are absolutely adorable. Those eyes!!

  13. Smallpeace September 9, 2011 at 9:26 pm #

    Have to say, I love me an “evil” tabby who “loves to be loved.” We’ve got one of our own, plus a little apricot and blue Sphynx who looks a bit like Biba. Worlds collide. Cheers.

  14. peasepudding September 15, 2011 at 12:00 am #

    I love stuffed vine leaves but have always been too lazy to make them. With all the vineyards in our region I might have to do a midnight forage! I love the pics of your cats, we have two calico and white cats.

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