12 August 2012


 August 12, 2012

Originally Posted April 7, 2012
Another great Costco find was these Vegetarian Stuffed Grape Leaves from Frankly Fresh.  Not only are these gluten-free but also dairy-free as well.  Now, if you are thinking of those small, tightly wrapped grape leaves that you’ll typically find in tins – which I love, don’t get me wrong – these are a cut above and have a a really unique flavor, not to mention they are huge.

The complex stuffing contains: rice; onion; tomato; bell pepper; parsley; cilantro; dill; and mint.  The ingredients are perfectly balanced and complimented by extra virgin olive oil and a hint of lemon juice that gives the grape leaves just a slight acid kick.  Throw in a hint a tomato paste and dash of garlic powder to add another flavor dimension to these and you have, what in my opinion, are the most unique-tasting grape leave I have come across – and believe me, they are addictive.

Each package contains twenty over-sized grape leaves and come in a re-sealable container making it a practical option to keep in the refrigerator and use as an easy side or main course.  I highly recommend giving these grape leaves a try.  Their Web site appears to be undergoing a revision so you will have to check back to view their product portfolio.

Update August 12, 2012: I have since tried these grape leaves two additional times since a package I bought from Costco was moldy when opened.  Unfortunately, both of those went moldy almost immediately after opening.  Both of those had expiration dates well after their purchase date.  I am not certain why this is happening all of a sudden but I have received e-mails and comments that it is happening to other people as well.

40 responses on “Frankly Fresh Stuffed Grape Leaves

  1. Larry says:

    Hi Mike,
    I picked this up at our local Costco. Looks great but has no instructions. Are they eaten cold? Or can they be microwaved?

    • Gluten Free Mike says:

      These are typically eaten cold though I have had fresh made stuffed grape leaves served warm with a lemon sauce. Very Greek.

    • mj says:

      Delicious!!! Can they be frozen????

    • milena says:

      You can serve them cold or warm. We also add Greek yogurt with them. You can also freeze them to keep longer

  2. Joan Bangora says:

    What is the best way to serve the stuffed grape leaves?
    Do you eat them cold or heated?

    Thank you!

  3. Kent says:

    Whats the best way to warm this up?

  4. angela doyle says:

    I agree that they are great, but just purchased a package at Costco with best by 8/20/12 date, opened them yesterday, and they were molded-had to throw them out

    • Gluten Free Mike says:

      Hi Angela,
      I had a similar thing happen. Purchased a container (with an August best by date) put them in the fridge and when I finally opened them noticed one was slightly molded. The next day it was all bets off and more mold. I am not sure what happened. I am going to Costco tomorrow and will be trying them again. If this happens again, I’ll be reaching out to the company. It’s a shame because these are so delicious. I’ll keep you posted.

  5. John says:

    I bought these at Costco here in Tucson more than two weeks ago. This morning, they are still fresh without mold and absolutely delicious!

  6. Sandra says:

    While the filling is quite tasty, the grape leaves used for this product are the toughest I have ever tasted and tender grapes leaves are not hard to find. I am Greek and grew up with homemade dolmathes so I know whereof I speak 😉 I bought them at Costco also and no problem with mold.

    For those inquiring about how to serve, they must be kept refrigerated, but are best served at room temperature to allow the oils to soften and the flavors to emerge. Warm with lemon sauce is specific to areas of Greece and is delicious, but not necessary.

    If this company can get it together and use better quality leaves this could be an excellent product.

    • Sandy Doyle-Jones says:

      I had the Same experience with my last box. The leaves were tough and veins were horrible to eat. What a terrible idea to serve these at a party!!!

      • Gluten Free Mike says:

        I would have been completely miffed if I opened the package prior to a party to find they had gone off. I think it all stems from the lack of liquid in the actual package because the smaller imported Greek varieties are packed more densely with additional liquid and properly sealed. I just do not understand why this brand needs to be so hit or miss — particularly when you can only buy them in bulk. Not a risk I will take anymore.

  7. Jeri says:

    I just bought a package at Costco and they are delicious! Sad to hear they mold quickly…so far, mine haven’t but only been open 2 days. I wonder – has anyone tried freezing after opening, and then thawing as needed? The Frankly Fresh website only lists hummus products – strange.


  8. Ann says:

    I froze mine as soon as I brought them home. Now I want to serve them and find no instructions. How stupid is that???

    • Gluten Free Mike says:

      Hi Ann,
      If you defrost them let me know how they turn out. I wondered about freezing them but never have. I have actually given up on these because I once again purchased a package and they lasted under a week once again before going moldy. I just cannot eat that many in such a short period of time so these are clearly not for me. I am going to go back to the variety that comes in tins or jars — they are smaller and more tender and are packed in liquid which I think helps improve their shelf-life.

  9. Amy says:

    What is your favorite brand in the can? I was going to buy these but they are no longer available in my Costco and would like to try them in the can. Thx!

    • Gluten Free Mike says:

      I am really not that fussy when it comes to the can or jar varieties — though I do try to go with imported varieties ( usually Greece or Turkey). Palirria is a brand that comes to mind but I have not really had any that I did not like. They will be packed in oil making them different than the Frankly Fresh but should be more tender because of this.

      • John says:

        The toughness is dependent on what stage the grape leaves were picked. The package I got from Costco is tough too. 2/3 is going to the freezer.

  10. San says:

    I bought these at Costco and the first batch was delicious! So I bought some more a month later and this batch used stale rice (you can totally taste the difference). I bought some for the 3rd time and it was mixed (some fresh rice and some not-so-fresh rice). I bought some again yesterday and this time around, the rice was stale and it tasted funny and although I didn’t get totally sick, I had a really bad stomach ache. I will return them today as I don’t want to take any chances. I plan on calling the company tomorrow to let them know of my disappointment and to let them know that as a consumer, I can tell the difference when they use fresh ingredients vs. old ingredients.

    • Gluten Free Mike says:

      I have given up on these completely. They are just too hit or miss in my opinion and totally agree that they lack the consistency to make them a worthwhile purchase. I think the root of the problem stems from the fact that they are not packed in any significant amount of liquid which leaves them more exposed to air.

  11. Richard T. says:

    I purchased the Frankly Fresh 3 Cheese & Spinach Manicotti at Costco last week.
    The expiration is 12/09/12.
    The second night I consumed some leftovers I regretted doing so the following day.
    Do you know if they have quality control issues?

    • John says:

      The parent company Cedar Lane Foods used to have problems in the 1980’s . As I recall the health inspector shut them down for awhile.

  12. Gluten Free Mike says:

    Hi Richard. It seems to be very hit or miss with them from what others have shared with me. Some people have no problems with the products while others have nothing but. I have given up on the brand because I felt the quality just wasn’t there — but I have only had their grape leaves.

  13. gary l says:

    used to really enjoy these but the last 3 or 4 packages have been dry and i think one of them was actually a stuffed grape branch I wont be buying these any more it seems that the quality has gone down hill

  14. Ute says:

    I bought the grape leaves yesterday. Had bought them a couple times over the last 2 years. Sometimes the leaves were a little tough, next time they were fine. But I opened up the box , which has an expiration date o2/13/2012. Moldy!!!

  15. Wanda P says:

    No instructions on package baffles me. Website is just as bad. Was up to trying something new, never had stuffed grape leaves of any kind or brand. Too bad.

  16. Debra says:

    I just bought mine at Costco in Huntsville Alabama and I see mold. I will keep eye on these and update if it occurs These are awesome in flavor and cost was very reasonable.

  17. Philo says:

    I’ve purchased numerous packages in a NYC Costco and never have seen mold. That’s not to see that the product feels harder after a few days. Do all of you see a green mold on the leaves themselves or the ingredients inside the wrapping? When you purchase the product, do you check for the latest expiration date on the shelf. I’ve noticed at least three different expiration dates on the shelf for the Grape Leaves. That goes for many products at Costco so you should always check the dates of several products in different boxes before you buy.

    Someone asked the same question that I would like to know?
    Can you freeze these and then defrost them, possible in a microwave? I’m going to try to do that with a few, as I only eat one a day with my salad. Each piece is a whopping 60 calories and that’s more than 20% of the average Lean Cuisine meal!

  18. Hannah says:

    I am a vegan and my mother bought these from Costco recently. There is nothing on the package that denotes any ingredients that would not support my began dietary guidelines; however, I’m concerned because the packaging does not specifically say “vegan”, instead it says “vegetarian”. Please advise me on this. Is it safe for me as a vegan to eat? Thanks.

  19. Soraya says:

    I just had them, i put one on the microwave but they taste better cold, definitely

    • I agree. I prefer them cold though I have had warm grape leaves (freshly made) with a lemon sauce made by Greek friends.

      • Been Greek I know somethinng about Stuffed Grape Leaves.

        The Stuffed Grape Leaves from Frendly Fresh Foods, Do Not Come Any Better.

        HOW TO EAT THEM!

        They Should Be Eaten at Room Temperature…with nothing on them

        “Do Not” Freeze Them.

        Nick M. Vasilatos
        Clearwater Beach, Florida

  20. joelb says:

    We buy them at Costco, Boca Raton, Florida. The stuffed grape leaves are the best packaged ones we’ve encountered. What your readers think is mold MIGHT be a congealed whitish ingredient that is due from refrigeration.

    • Thanks for the comment Joel. I know what you are talking about but also had two packages grow mold that I purchased shortly after opening. I might give them one more try on my next visit to Costco because I really did like them.

  21. Jan says:

    I love these. I eat them with a little Roasted Garlic & Chili Aioli dipping sauce that i also got from Costco. The sauce has a bit of a kick and it goes well with the grape leaves. This is our 4th container from Costco and not mold for us. My husband DOES eat quite a few a day, though, so they don’t have time to mold ;-).

  22. Valerie Perez says:

    I have the same concern as you . I am also vegan and I don’t see any ingredients that are animal based so im guessing they are safe to eat.

  23. Diane says:

    Not sure how old the latest comments are here, but it is now March 2015 and believe it or not I just tried these for the first time at Costco. I am Armenian and grew up picking grape leaves from our vineyards, canning, and making dolma (as we call it). I agree with the Greek guy who commented that these are the REAL DEAL, as far as cold grape leaves. They taste just like the ones we made. Warm ones are different — usually they have some meat and a tomatoe-y sauce. These are meant to be served cold. The ones I got did not have mold and it has taken me over a week to eat them. The leaves weren’t too tender but weren’t tough either. Didn’t know that Cedarlane was the parent company. I’ve had their lowcarb omelettes before which I have also loved. I hope when I guy them at Costco the next time, that their quality hasn’t changed!

  24. john shahinian says:

    I miss Costco not stocking the grapes leaves. I usually eat a box of week.. They are gluten free, vegetarian and they taste good.. Please bring them back to the Altamonte store.

  25. Lynne says:

    I have made stuffed grape leaves in the past, but no longer. The Costco product is far tastier than mine will ever be, so I have resigned myself to purchasing and enjoying these delicious leaves while I no longer have to worry about labor intensive preparation!

  26. Steve says:

    Being 1/4 Lebanese, stuffed grape leaves are one of “the foods of my many peoples.” These are as good as Situ used to make! And, being a vegetarian, they are a staple for me. Eat ’em cold!


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