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Greek Vegan Domaldes Recipe

Judy and Yaiyia (Toney) discussing grape leaves at The Raincatcher’s Garden

You remember Yiayia aka Toney Davrados.  Yiayia is Greek for Grandmother and as any Greek Grandma would-she showed us how to make dolmades at our fabulous July  Grape Lecture and Lunch Event.

Now she has offered us the vegan version:

Yiayia’s Greek Dolmades Vegan Style

*Stuffed Grape Leaves with Rice and Herbs

Stuffed Grape Leaves (Greek Dolmades) are often served as part of a mezé (appetizer) plate.  Too often they come from a can and are not fresh. Fresh Greek Dolmades are far superior to the canned.  These can either be a main dish or an appetizer, depending on your appetite. These small bundles of rice and herbs wrapped in grape leaves are a favorite dish in Greece.

Toney surverys our grape leaves to show us leaves that are smooth on the back make better dolmades.

If you have never tried fresh Greek Dolmades, now is the time. They are very easy to make and so delicious!

*Fresh vine leaves: Blanch tender vine leaves for 2-3 seconds in boiling, salted water. Remove them with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl full of very cold water. Place in  colander to drain off water. Use a small sharp knife to remove any stems or tough veins they may have.

*When using bottled Grape Leaves:  To prepare bottled grape leaves, rinse well under cold water to remove the brine.  Place them in a colander (back side up) to drain and hold until ready to use


  • 60-70 tender vine leaves
  • 2 bunches fresh green onions, sliced in to very thin rounds
  • 1 large onion or 2 smaller ones, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cup rice
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch dill, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch mint, finely chopped
  • grated zest of 2 lemons
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • juice from 1 1/2 – 2 lemons

Preparing  filling:

Place a pan over medium to high heat.

Add the green onion, onion and garlic along with ½ the olive oil .

Sauté for 10-15 minutes, until they soften, caramelize nicely and shrink in volume.

Add the rice and sauté for 2-5 minutes.

Add the 1 ½ cup water and stir. Lower heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, until the rice soaks up the water.

When ready, remove from heat and set it aside to rest for at least 10 minutes.

Add the parsley, dill, mint, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.

To assemble:

Spread 4-5 vine leaves, and lemon juice on the bottom of a 22 cm pot. Use any ripped or broken vine leaves.

Place a vine leaf in the palm of your hand or on a cutting board (veins facing up and shiny side down).

Add 1 tablespoon of filling in the center, fold the sides of the vine leaf inward and roll to complete. Review the process here.

Transfer to the pot, placing the stuffed vine leaves in a row, one next to the other.

Repeat the same process for all the vine leaves.

When the first layer has been added, continue with a second and third, if needed until they are all done.

Add the remaining olive oil, and cover the stuffed vine leaves with a plate. This is done so that they don’t fall apart while cooking.

Add the warm or hot water, until they are completely covered.

Simmer for about 40-50 minutes until the rice is done and the vine leaves are tender.

When ready, remove from heat and set them aside to cool in the pot.

Let them cool for a bit, in the pot. They can be served warm or cold and should be enjoyed all on their own!

*Perfect sauce for dolmades

Serve the stuffed vine leaves with yogurt, dill, mint, olive oil and freshly ground pepper.

  • 8oz Yiayia’s Greek strained yogurt
  • 1tsp dill finely chopped
  • 1tsp mint finely chopped
  • 1tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • Fresh ground pepper

Linda Alexander and Ann Lamb

Video by Starla Willis

Soups And Cornbread With Veggies

Broccoli Cornbread

Broccoli Veggie Cornbread 

½ stick butter or margarine, melted

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 pkg Jiffy Cornbread Mix

½ pkg (10 oz) frozen chopped broccoli, cooked (about 1 cup)

½ cup small curd cottage cheese

½ cup canned creamed corn

Grated onion or chopped green onion, if desired 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Chop cooked broccoli a bit smaller. In a large bowl melt butter in microwave. Add chopped broccoli, cottage cheese, corn, onion and beaten eggs. Mix till combined. Stir in cornbread mix.

Pour into greased 8 x 8 Pyrex for thicker squares or 7 x 11 Pyrex for less thick squares. Bake about 35 minutes or until toothpick in center comes out clean. 

Patti,Dallas County Master Gardener Class 2012

 Spicy Refried Bean Soup

1 can (15oz) fat-free, spicy refried beans

1 can (15 oz) whole kernel corn, drained

1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can (14.5 oz) vegetable broth

2 cans (10oz) Rotel tomatoes with green chilies

1 cup water

Mix all ingredients in a large pan.  Heat on medium until it comes to a boil.

 Reduce heat and simmer 8-10 minutes.  Serve with tortilla chips.

Makes 2 quarts.  Less than 120 calories per 8oz. serving.

“Heat” can be adjusted by using less Rotel tomatoes

Sarah, 2006

Mediterranean Lentil Ragoût

Olive oil cooking spray

1 large onion, finely chopped

5 cloves garlic finely minced

1 jalapeño pepper, finely minced

1 large fennel bulb, sliced thin

1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 1/2 cups orange juice

1 1/3 cups lentils, picked over and rinsed

1 Tablespoon dried basil

1 Tablespoon dried oregano

1/4 cup tomato paste

1/3 cup mint leaves, chopped, divided use

6 cups cooked rice, quinoa or bulgur

Parmesan cheese (optional)

1. spray a heavy skillet with cooking spray; place over low heat and sauté onion, garlic, jalapeño and fennel, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. (if vegetables start to stick or brown, cover skillet.)

2. Add tomatoes, orange juice, lentils, basil, oregano and tomato paste. Increase heat and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 40 to 50 minutes, or until lentils are tender. (add up to 1/2 cup water or orange juice if ragout gets too thick.)

3. Stir in mint leaves, reserving 2 tablespoons for garnish.  Serve lentil stew over rice, quinoa or bulgur. Garnish with Parmesan cheese, if using, and remaining chopped mint.

Serves 6, approximately 449 calories per serving

Recipe from The Phytopia Cookbook by Barbara Gollman and Kim Pierce


Homegrown, Veggies, Fruits and Herbs

I have a visual image of Master Gardener and nutritionist Barbara Gollman at Kroger: Red hair flying, trim figure running behind a cart, zipping down the frozen food isle flinging packs of frozen veggies into the cart for one of her wonderful soups. 

Barbara, Dallas County Master Gardener Teaches Value of Vegetables

Barbara intrigued a large group of Master Gardeners Tuesday with her talk on the nutritional benefit of vegetables, fruits, and herbs.  Turns out that Mom was correct when she urged us to eat our vegetables.  Carrots, oranges, sweet potatoes, and other fruits and vegetables are full of phytochemicals, substances in plants that have the potential to slow aging, boost immunity, prevent disease, and strengthen our hearts and circulation. 

Cabbage, Broccoli Field Road, Dallas, Texas

Barbara suggests that we eat watermelon and tomatoes, plants that are packed with lycopene, a nutrient which helps prevent macular degeneration.  Pinto beans are rich in fiber, which can prevent cancer and heart disease, and flavonoids, which can curb the oxidation of LDL cholesterol and prevent blood clotting.  Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage are high in calcium.  Nuts are filled with Vitamin E, one of the most potent fat-soluble antioxidants. Berries, greens, winter squash—-well, you get the idea.  

Barbara said that new research has shown the health benefits of herbs. Who knew? Turns out that 1 teaspoon of oregano = ¾ cup of brussel sprouts in antioxidants.  

Barbara dries her herbs in the microwave after her husband’s reaction to using his closet as an herb drying rack. Remove the leaves from the stems of the herbs and spread on paper towels.  Put two paper towels on top of the herbs.  Pop in the microwave and zap for one minute.  (If the leaves are charred, try again and use a shorter amount of time. If the leaves aren’t crisp, microwave longer in 15-second increments.)  Remove from the microwave and air dry on the kitchen counter for a few days.  Store in a labeled glass jar.  

Are home grown vegetables better for you than those found in the grocery? Barbara says some research showed up to a 15 percent increase in nutrients in homegrown and organic vegetables.  Some other studies didn’t find an increase in nutrients. 

Many thanks go to Barbara for her research and common sense approach to healthy eating.  Let’s just put it this way: on the way home I stopped at Whole Foods and bought spinach, broccoli, and almonds for dinner.   


Recipes served in the class will follow.

Arugula-Pear-Blue Cheese Salad

Arugula, Pears, Pecans, Blue Cheese For Salad

1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp peach or pear preserves

1/2 cup Champagne vinegar

1 shallot, sliced

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper 

1/2 cup olive oil 

8 cups loosely packed arugula

2 Bartlett pears, cut into 6 wedges each

4 oz. blue cheese, crumbled

1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts or pecans 

Process 1/4 cup preserves and next 5 ingredients in a food processor 30 seconds to 1 minute or until smooth.  With processor running, pour oil through food chute in a slow steady stream, processing until smooth.  Transfer to a 2-cup measuring cup or small bowl, and stir in remaining 2 Tbsp peach preserves. 

Place arugula in a large serving bowl.  Top with pears, blue cheese, and pecans.  Drizzle with vinaigrette. 

Elizabeth  From Southern Living Magazine 


Wild Arugula, Upper Left Corner

Some Herbs behave and have benign reputations.  Others like Arugula, are said to be  pushy, narcissistic  snobs.  Pushy, yes, if you don’t like bold peppery flavor, don’t try Arugula on your sandwich or in your salad. There’s a reason Arugula is also known as Rocket or Roquette!  And Arugula likes itself enough to fling its seeds all over the garden so maybe it is narcissistic.  Like much in life, though, the snob label isn’t fair. Arugula is pricey at approximately $6 a pound in the grocery store and it is true that it’s peppery leaves are appreciated by the white wine crowd, but any gardener can  plant arugula easily in a sunny spot and enjoy it in all the recipes we are going to provide. 

Transplants can be bought now and planted in your Dallas area gardens.Wait a few weeks to plant by seed.  I asked some of my favorite Dallas County Master Gardeners about Arugula and here is what they said. Ann


It’s pronounced ah-ROO-guh-lah!


mmmm I like it so much I have trouble getting it to the kitchen uneaten.  With pears, I’d say Bosc pears and pear flavored white balsamic vinegar for dressing. Deirdre

We enjoyed an Arugula-Pear-Blue Cheese Salad as part of Christmas dinner.  Place arugula in a large serving bowl.  Top with Bartlett pears, cut in six wedges, crumbles of a good blue cheese, and toasted pecans or walnuts. Drizzle with a vinaigrette made with olive oil, Champagne vinegar, a shallot, and Dijon mustard. Elizabeth  

Here is an Arugula Salad that I have been making for many years.  Makes a fresh and flavorful addition to almost any meal. 

Arugula, Tomato and Avocado Salad 

8 cups loosely packed arugula, torn into bite-size pieces

16 ounces plum tomatoes, chopped

4 stalks canned hearts of palm, sliced

2 avocados, peeled, pitted and chopped

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 (12-ounce) wedge Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted 

Combine the arugula, tomatoes, hearts of palm and avocados in a large bowl.  Whisk the olive oil and lemon juice in a small bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add to the salad and toss to coat.  Shave strips of the Parmesan cheese over the salad using a vegetable peeler.  Sprinkle with the pine nuts.  

Yield: 4 servings, or more  Linda 

Wild Arugula Left, Regular Arugula Right


Arugula is something everyone should grow. There are two kinds: the regular that goes in the cool times and the rustic or wild arugula that loves the heat.  Both are aggressive in self seeding so people need to be aware, but well worth it.  Using it in sandwiches alone is worth growing–no need to have the most expensive mustard anymore–arugula has a complex mustardy nutty taste that elevates a sandwich. The cool season, regular arugula has such lovely flowers–completely edible and bees love them too.  I was just outside and my arugula is starting to bloom and it was covered in honey bees. Susan 

Prosciutto Wrapped Greens: Whisk 3 Tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar, 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard in a bowl and season with salt and pepper, add 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and toss with arugula to coat the greens lightly. Squeeze the greens together. Cover with thin slices of prosciutto and roll into a log.  Cut the log into 2 inch pieces on the diagonal. Delish! Martha 


Arugula pesto is a tangy twist. Make it just as you would a regular basil pesto.  You can substitute toasted walnuts or pecans for the pine nuts. Annette 


I mostly eat it raw in salads, but when I have an abundance I do it much like Kale or Swiss Chard and put it literally in most anything: a stir fry, stuffed peppers, in any sauce, in soups. We LOVE arugula, especially the heirloom kind that reseeds itself. Steve 

My sentiments on arugula echo those you already have—I love it, too (but my husband doesn’t, so I have to sneak a bit into milder salad greens.)  From a gardening standpoint, it’s one of the easiest greens to grow—I think its germination rate must be 110%, so it’s great for gardeners without much experience growing plants from seed.  The younger tender leaves have the best flavor for fresh use.  As the plant begins to bloom, the larger leaves can be tough.  However, the edible flowers are delightful in salads, dips, and spread or sprinkled on creamy soups.  And toss a handful of leaves into Tuscan bean soup—divine!  Ditto the pear salad idea.  We’re having a family celebration tonight with a composed salad starter of roasted pears with blue cheese, walnuts, and craisins on a bed of arugula with a light lemon scented vinaigrette.  Marian 

I have used Arugula and cooked with it instead of spinach!  It worked fine and had a good taste.  We just have to be creative! Andria 


I don’t usually grow arugula because it’s high in vitamin K and I cannot eat it.  I have grown it for my daughter; she loves it juiced and raw in salads. Paula 

Arugula is a popular aromatic green with a mild nutty flavor and slight peppery bite. It is delicious in salads and may also be used in soups, pasta and vegetarian dishes.
Wild Arugula, also known as Rocket, is more peppery and adds a nice spicy flavor to salads. Wild arugula leaves are more serrated and peppery than regular arugula.
Arugula has more vitamin C, calcium and beta carotene than most other salad greens.

Eat Your Greens!

Collard GreensAfter my transplant from Connecticut to the Dallas area twenty-eight years ago, I’ve tip-toed around the Southern idea of cooked “greens”, but other than cooking kale occasionally never really developed an interest.  However, in a recent search for a non-dairy source of calcium for aging bones, I found that greens such as collards are a great source of this mineral as well as other complementary vitamins K and A.  Collards are one of the cruciferous vegetables in addition to the better known and more consumed broccoli, kale, and cabbage.  These greens have great cholesterol-lowering, anti-cancer, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory benefits. 

Good for your heart, good for your bones, now how to make them good to eat!  I found a great cookbook called Greens Glorious Greens! by Johnna Albi and Catherine Walthers with great information, specific preparation and cooking directions, and great recipes for over thirty of these leafy greens—from arugula to wild greens such as chicory and dandelion.

These authors, as well as Whole Foods website, the world’s healthiest foods ,call collards a nutritional goldmine.  But one more obstacle before plunging into my exploration of greens—my Dallas-born husband who dislikes cooked greens.  So with a promise of corn muffins and BBQ chicken, I made the following recipe, which is adapted from Greens Glorious Greens! 

Collard Greens and Caramelized Onions 

12 ounces Collard greens (about 6-7 cups chopped)

1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 large onion, thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1-1/2 teaspoon agave nectar (or 2 tsp of sugar), for caramelizing the onions

salt to taste 

Chopped GreensWash collards, remove stalks, and cut leaves in half.  Stack 5 to 6 leaves together and slice into ¼ inch strips.  Set aside. 

In large, deep skillet (or cast-iron pan) heat olive oil, add onions, and sauté for 15 minutes.  Add agave (or sugar) to onion and continue to stir for 2 to 3 minute.  Add garlic and sauté for another 2-3 minutes. 

While the onions are cooking, bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a 12-inch skillet with a lid.  Add collards, cover, and cook at a good boil for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  The greens are bright green, but tender, when ready.  Drain in colander. 

Stir greens into onions and garlic.  Season with salt and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until heated through, Serves 3 to 4.

Adapted from Greens Glorious Greens, page 118. 

A great new vegetable recipe to add to my collection, and—yes—my husband did eat all his greens. 


Poached Pears With Sage-Honey Glaze

Finish a heavy meal with a lighter touch.

Poached Pear Dessert With Sage-Honey Glaze

6 cups water

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

4 pears, preferably bosc or d’Anjou

1/3 cup honey

2 tablespoons chopped sage leaves

Garnish: sage leaves, heavy cream optional

In a dutch oven or large saucepan, stir together water, sugar, and lemon juice. Bring to a a simmer.

Meanwhile, peel pears and halve them, leaving the stem intact on one half. Working from the bottom, insert an apple corer or melon baller to remove cores.

Gently place pears in sugar syrup and cook, uncovered, at a steady simmer.  Cooking time may be anywhere from 8 minutes to 30 minutes, depending on the pears’ ripeness; pears are done when they are tender and a paring knife can be inserted easily.

Meanwhile combine honey and sage leaves in a small saucepan an bring them just to a simmer over medium-low heat.  Remove from heat and let stand until pears are done.

When pears are done, remove them with a slotted spoon, draining them well, to a large plate, flat sides down.  Reheat sage honey if needed to make it liquid enough to brush onto pears;strain out sage leaves.  Brush honey over each pear (don’t brush the flat sides).  Arrange on serving plates with the stem half of each pear propped on the other half.

Serve pears garnished with sage leaves; drizzle with a little cream if desired.

Recipe and photo by Linda, adapted from DESSERTS FROM AN HERB GARDEN

Beets And Turnips From A Dallas Garden

When my husband called tonight and asked “what’s for dinner”, I said “beets”. Silence ensued. What he didn’t know was that a stampede almost took place in the garden today when we were harvesting our turnips and beets.  Our Dallas County Master Gardeners know eating your vegetables is not only good for you, it is downright tasty. 

Beets And Turnips Harvested At The Demonstration Garden

Turnips can be mashed like potatoes or used in gratins, couscous, or  frittatas.

Tokyo Cross Hybrid Turnips Grown At The Demonstration Garden

Tired of pickled beets?  Try a beet cocktail for something different.  Eat the tops of both of these vegetables for an extra nutrition boost.

Burpee Golden Beets

 Aside from the enthusiasm over our harvest, the most astonishing thing was that just six weeks ago we were planting these crops by seed.  We planted Purple Topped and White Tokyo HyBrid Turnips, Detroit Dark Red Beets and Burpee’s Golden.  We are hoping for a repeat performance when it is time to plant beets and turnips again February 1.

All the talk was of dinner when we left the garden today and I knew each pot would hold some of our harvest.  We had Beets and Beet Greens with Maple Walnuts. Now he’s talking!


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