Koupepia (stuffed vine leaves) – Κουπέπια

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Continuing with the greek/cypriot theme (although i should probably call it the cinnamon theme – I’ve just realised everything I’ve published so far, has cinnamon in it, savoury or sweet. Can you tell that i like it a liiittle bit? Anyway it works, so its going in!) today we have koupepia, aka. stuffed vine leaves. Stuffed vine leaves are a classic among greeks as well as the middle east, although both cultures make them very differently. Here i’m going with a classic greek-cypriot recipe, made plant-based. I’m not even going to say “they taste like real koupepia” because they just ARE real koupepia! No difference here.

When i made this recipe, i also made a soy-free version, substituting the mince for chopped mushrooms. Ryan preferred the mushroom version, me the original mince version, purely for authenticity reasons. The mince one just tastes alot like the authentic Cypriot version and hence why I’ve published this one. The mushroom is also delicious, so if you’re interested in that one, drop a comment and i’ll reveal it to you – ta da!

egan koupepia - greek stuffed vine leaves, meat free

If you’re doing this recipe abroad, and you’ve never heard of vine leaves before, then this also works really nicely with Swiss Chard leaves. This specific recipe makes 40 koupepia, which, yes, sounds like alot. But honestly because they’re so light, one person can easily eat 8 (unless you’re my eating-monster husband and then you’ll eat 15 in one go – 15 i tell you!). If you’re cooking for one or two people, then simply half the ingredients.

Serving suggestion: Oven chips, slices of lemon and a fresh salad

DSC01025 (2)-horz



Steph's Koubebia-01


Koupepia – Stuffed Vine Leaves

[wpurp-searchable-recipe]Koupepia – Stuffed Vine Leaves – – – [/wpurp-searchable-recipe]

  • Total Time: 1h 10m


  • 50 g soy mince / 50γρ κιμάς σόγιας
  • 1 c short-grain rice / 1φλ. ρύζι
  • 40-50 vine leaves from a jar (which have been soaked in hot water for 10 minutes) / 44 αμπελλόφυλλα από κονσέρβα τα οποία έχουν μουλιάσει σε ζεστό νερό για 10 λεπτά
  • 5 tbsp. olive oil / 5κσ. ελαιόλαδο
  • 1 onion, chopped / κρεμμύδι, ψιλοκομμένο
  • 1 carrot grated / καρότο, τριμμένο
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced / σκελίδες σκόρδο, ψιλοκομμένη
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon / κ.σ. κανέλα
  • 3 1/2 tbsp. dried spearmint or mint / 3.5 κσ. αποξηραμένο δυόσμο
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped / 1.5κ.σ. φρέσκο μαιντανό, ψιλοκομμένο
  • 1/2 lemon (juice) / 1/2 λεμόνι (χυμός)
  • 750 g tinned chopped tomatoes / 750γρ ψιλοκομμένες ντομάτες κονσέρβας
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste / 2κ.σ. πάστα ντομάτας
  • 180 ml veg. stock or water / 180ml ζωμός λαχανικών ή νερό


  1. Get your rice cooking to al-dente, they’ll cook more later.
  2. Rehydrate the mince: Place soy in a bowl, cover it with about 1.5 cups of warm water and allow to stand for 10 mins. Once rehydrated, press out as much liquid as possible over a sieve. Set this aside. Your rice should be cooked by now, so drain and set aside.
  3. Your rice should be cooked by now, so drain and set aside.
  4. Heat up olive oil and fry onion for 5mins. Add in grated carrot and garlic. Give it a good stir & fry 5mins more. Add in cinnamon, dried spearmint and tomato paste. Then add the cooked rice. Cook stirring until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add in 1 can of chopped tomatoes (or 500gr) and about 100ml stock or water. Salt and Pepper generously, and allow this to come to a boil. Then reduce heat to a simmer until the liquid reduces by half, maybe 10 minutes.
  6. Add the lemon juice, 1 more tsp of dried spearmint and the soy mince (it shouldn’t be very liquidy, if it is, then just simmer a bit longer till the liquid reduces more).
  7. Rolling!: Please see photo above. Take your vine leaves and lay them facing up, i.e. the vein side facing you. Place enough mince mixture into the middle of the leaf, just above the stem (no.1), according to how big your leaf is (you’ll get different sizes). Fold the bottom tips of the leaves over the mixture (no.2) , then the sides (no.3) and then roll away from you (4). Set them aside, with the rolled seam side down so they dont open (no.5)
  8. Cooking! see photo above. Brush olive oil at the bottom of a large enough pan and lay 4 vine leaves at the bottom to cover the bottom (prevents koupepia from sticking). Then lay your koupepia in a circular fashion, [see photo, A] at the bottom of the pan, and then continuing that on a second “floor” of koupepia.
  9. Pour 1/2 a can (or 250gr) of chopped tomatoes on them with 150ml water, 1.5tsp salt and 3tbsp of olive oil. Put a heavy plate on top of them which is smaller than the diameter of your pan, and then maybe something heavy on top of that and push them down (prevents them from unrolling) (see photo, B)
  10. Heat until you hear them boiling and then reduce to a low simmer for 45 mins. When times up, turn off heat and leave them as they are for 15-20 minutes before removing top plate to they steam in their own juices
By | 2017-02-14T14:38:24+00:00 August 26th, 2016|Dinner, Greek Cypriot dishes, Lunch|0 Comments

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