Grain Free Stuffed Grape Leaves Recipe- Auto-Immune Paleo Freindly, Allergy Friendly

I am having a guest over who told me that it's been hard for her lately, since she can't really eat out. Reason being that she is on a very strict diet, that there are many things she (hopefully temporarily) can't eat, until she is healed.  This diet essentially is a cross between the auto-immune Paleo diet, no cruciferous diet, GAPS diet, and a few other things thrown in (like no onions or garlic).
I mentioned to some people that I was trying to come up with a menu plan that she could eat, and people wanted to know why I was willing to drive myself crazy coming up with things- "she should bring her own food if there are so many things she can't eat", but honestly- I know what it's like to not be able to eat out easily because of a restricted diet, so I wanted to be able to treat her.
I have to say though that it was a big challenge to me to cook this way, because my usual staples that I rely on for flavor were out (onion, garlic, tomatoes, soy sauce, and cumin) so I had to get very creative and came up with a lot of tasty dishes.

My guest had mentioned to me that she really loves stuffed grape leaves, and she misses them, since they are heavy on the onions and rice. So I thought, as a treat, that I'd figure out a recipe for stuffed grape leaves- that she could eat!
This is what I came up with.
It's not the typical stuffed grape leaf recipe, but it's very yummy. And auto-immune Paleo friendly, so it should be suitable to people on most diets- though not vegans, obviously. I used grated zucchini in it, also to stretch the beef, and to make it less dry, as I find ground beef dishes without grains or potatoes end up being.

I used jarred grape leaves (that I got free), purely out of laziness- since grape leaves are in season now and available for me to forage about a 2 minute walk from my front door... Since the canned leaves are salty, the amount of salt I put in this recipe was perfect as is. If you use fresh grape leaves, I suggest adding a teaspoon of salt to the water before cooking.

If you want a more standard stuffed grape leaf recipe- check out this vegan one.

Grain Free Stuffed Grape Leaves Recipe- Auto-Immune Paleo Friendly

10 dried apricots
1 1/3 cups grated zucchini (1 medium/large zucchini)
1 1/2 cups ground beef
1 tablespoon fresh mint chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 teaspoon salt
Grape leaves (I didn't count how many I used, but I'm guessing somewhere between 20 and 30)
4 cups water
Lemon- optional

1. Grate the zucchini on the very small part of the grater (if you have multiple sizes).

2. Chop up your mint small.

3. Cut up your dried apricots into small pieces.

4. Mix the apricots, zucchini, beef, mint, cinnamon, allspice, and salt until uniform.

5. Line the bottom of your pan with a few open grape leaves.

6. Lay your grape leaves flat, fill with filling, and roll them up into a cigar shape. Fill the bottom of a pan with your grape leave cigars, then make another layer. I had enough filling to make exactly 2 layers.

7. Lay a plate on top of your stuffed grape leaves to weigh them down so they don't float up and unroll.

8. If using fresh grape leaves, mix a teaspoon of salt with  your water. If using canned, no need to add salt. Pour 4 cups of water into the pot, covering the plate.

9. Bring to a boil. Once at a rolling boil, cook for 5 more minutes, then turn off flame.

10. Strain, then serve cold. Sprinkle with lemon juice before serving, if desired.


If you had to cook without onions or garlic, nightshades, soy sauce, or cumin (among other things), would you be at a loss what to make? Do you tend to cook special meals for guests on special diets or just one or two dishes that they could eat, or expect them to bring along their own foods?
Do you know anyone om the AIP diet? 
Have you ever had any stuffed grape leaves before? Does this look like a recipe you'd try?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


Thank you for leaving a comment on your blog. Comments are moderated- please be patient to allow time for them to go through. Opposing opinions are permitted, discussion and disagreements are encouraged, but nasty comments for the sole purpose of being nasty without constructive criticisms will be deleted.
Just a note- I take my privacy seriously, and comments giving away my location or religion are automatically deleted too.

  1. Is 5 minutes really long enough to cook the beef mince?

    1. Keep in mind that its just 5 minutes at a rolling boil, but its cooking as it is coming to a boil as well. I wasnt sure if 5 minutes would be enough, so I opened one up and checked after 5 minutes and it was perfect, so....

  2. You're an awesome hostess for going out of your way to make a special dish for your guest!

  3. I would totally TRY to accommodate my guest. Isn't that what hospitality is all about? These look fabulous and with a Greek mother-in-law, I have definitely had my share of stuffed grape leaves! I really like that you made a grain free version as I am eating mainly grain free. I definitely will try this recipe!

  4. That sounds like a wonderful dish.

Previous Post Next Post