These stuffed nasturtium leaves are like a forager’s version of Greek dolmades. Edible nasturtium leaves have a peppery flavor. Here, they’re filled with rice and vegetables, but this recipe can be made vegetarian or with meat.
Originally contributed by Susan Chouinard in May 2016; this post has been updated.
Are Nasturtiums Edible?
Let’s start with the most important question: Are nasturtiums edible? YES! All parts of the plant are edible. The entire plant! From the edible flowers to the young seed pods which can be made into nasturtium capers (aka poor man’s capers), the peppery taste of these edible plants make a fun addition to meals.
Nasturtiums (tropaeolum majus) are annual plants that flower in bright colors and are a great addition to the vegetable garden or flower beds.
Annual nasturtium plants thrive in full sun and poor soil, making them a great way for beginning gardeners to have an easy and showy flower border or garden bed during the early summer growing season. The bright yellow, orange, and red flowers are most recognizable, but there are cultivars that come in gentler peach tones as well.
Really, it’s just a bonus that these plants have a culinary use, too!
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Read more about growing nasturtiums here.
Using the Leaves of Nasturtium
When my friend, Susan, told me about the stuffed nasturtium leaves she makes, I knew I wanted to share them here. When I saw the pictures from her “Forage and Garden Mother’s Day Brunch” (including those stuffed nasturtium leaves) her coolness factor jumped by 10. Happily, she agreed to write up the recipe for me.
Contributed by Susan Chouinard (she’s a foodie AND a web designer, folks)
I love this recipe because I can harvest the edible nasturtium leaves and flowers from my backyard, where they are abundant and hardy. These rolls are great at room temperature, so can be excellent as a make-ahead dish for picnics or potlucks. I serve them at home as an appetizer or as part of the meal.
- Seek out larger leaves to make rolling these stuffed leaves easier.
- It’s a good idea to harvest nasturtiums from an area that you’re sure is not sprayed with herbicides. (Avoid roadsides where maintenance crews may spray chemicals.)
- This is a very flexible recipe. Use your imagination and what you have on hand to create a delicious filling!
- This recipe makes enough filling for 20-25 large nasturtium leaves.
- Extra filling can be frozen or used for something else.
Other ways to Use the Nasturtium Plant
- Add the young leaves to a green salad for a little spicy flavor.
- Use the flower petals as a garnish or (again) add them to green salads.
- Chop the leaves and nasturtium stems to add to stir fries.
Purslane is another wild edible you can add to your table. Read more about it here.
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- 3 cups cooked short grain rice, (may substitute grains or other types of rice, or any combination)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 cup chopped tomato, (fresh or canned/drained)
- 1/2 pound lean ground beef or lamb, (optional)
- 1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley or mint
- 1/2 cup chopped nasturtium flowers
- 1-1/2 tablespoons capers
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 20-25 fresh nasturtium leaves - stem trimmed close to the leaf
- 3/4 cup vegetable or chicken broth
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Wash the nasturtium leaves gently in cold water and set them aside.
Making the filling
- Make the rice according to package directions and let it cool slightly before starting.
- Place the cooked rice in a large bowl - you’ll be adding the rest of the filling ingredients to the rice.
- Sauté the onions and garlic in the olive oil until softened but not browned, then add the chopped tomato and cook on medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Add this mixture to the rice and combine.
- Place the ground beef in the pan in which you cooked the onion/garlic/tomato mixture, and cook on medium heat, chopping as you go to get a fine crumbled burger.
- Once the burger is completely cooked, add it to the rice mixture, and combine.
- Now stir in the remaining ingredients - toasted pine nuts, chopped parsley, chopped nasturtium flowers, and capers. Taste, adjust with salt and pepper if needed.
Making the stuffed nasturtium leaves
- Place one of the nasturtium leaves on your work surface, stem side down.(I like to use a large plate for this.) Put a teaspoon or more of the mixture in the center of the leaf, then carefully fold the two sides partially over the rice and roll tightly towards the top of the leaf, ending with the edge tucked underneath.
- Repeat with all the leaves and pack tightly in one layer with the seam of the leaf down (so they don’t unroll), into a glass or ceramic baking dish.
- Pour chicken broth over the stuffed nasturtium leaves.
- Cover the dish tightly and bake on the center rack of your oven for 45 minutes. Check to make sure the rolls are not drying out about halfway through cooking. If they are, spoon some hot broth over them. (Don't spoon cold broth into a hot glass or ceramic baking dish, as it can cause the pan to shatter!)
- Cool slightly and serve warm, or wait longer and serve at room temperature.
- Before serving, drizzle with one tablespoon or so of olive oil, and a teaspoon or so of lemon juice. Refrigerate any remaining rolls.
This is a very flexible recipe. Use your imagination and what you have on hand to create a delicious filling! This recipe makes enough filling for 20-25 nasturtium leaves. Extra filling can be frozen or used for something else.
You can make these vegetarian, too. Instead of the meat that's called for, use cooked lentils and let vegetable broth stand in for the chicken broth.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 76Total Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 29mgCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 3g
building websites and doing marketing for her great clients, she’d probably find a way to cook for a living.Susan is a marketing person, a gardener, a self-taught cook, and a mom of two girls, now both amazing women. If she wasn’t