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Kale and Quinoa Dolmades With Yogurt Dipping Sauce

In her new book Cooking & Eating Wisdom for Better Health (Balboa Press), Maria Benardis revisits her Greek roots and shares the simple splendor of Mediterranean food philosophy. This dish is her modern twist on the quintessentially Greek dish, dolmades. Instead of grapevine leaves, she has used another ancient Greek ingredient: kale.

The ancient Greeks loved to stuff items of food, and one of their favorites was to mash foods into a paste and to wrap it in leaves or breads,” she says. “I believe kale was one of these ingredients. I have also used quinoa instead of rice or bulgur as is the tradition. You could use cooked white or brown rice instead of quinoa.” Makes 10 large dolmades.

For dolmades mixture

  • 10 large curly kale leaves, washed well and stems removed
  • 1⁄4 C spring onions (scallions), finely chopped
  • 1⁄2 C uncooked quinoa
  • 1⁄2 C fresh zucchini, grated
  • 1⁄2 C carrot, grated
  • 1⁄4 C fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 T fresh dill, chopped
  • 2 T sunflower seeds
  • sea salt and cracked pepper, to taste

For dressing

  • 1⁄4 C extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 t ground cumin

For yogurt dipping sauce

  • 1 C Greek-style yogurt
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • juice of 1⁄2 lemon
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Recipe Key: C = Cup | T = Tablespoon | t = teaspoon | g = gram

Cook quinoa according to packet instructions. Set aside and let cool down. Transfer to bowl.

Place kale leaves in steamer, and steam them for 5 minutes until they soften. Transfer them to a plate, and allow them to cool to room temperature.

Add remaining ingredients for dolmades to quinoa, and mix well.

Place all ingredients for dressing in small bowl, and whisk. Add dressing to quinoa mixture, and mix well.

Lay each kale leaf on flat surface, and spoon generous amount of mixture on end where stem begins. Fold sides of kale leaf over filling, and then roll leaf all the way up, starting at stem end, to form neat parcel. When you have finished making all dolmades, arrange them on a serving platter.

Place all ingredients for yogurt dipping sauce in bowl, and mix well. Place dipping sauce on side of platter, and serve.

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