Grape Leaves

This Lebanese stuffed grape leaves recipe holds a special place in my heart, stemming from the rich tapestry of my heritage. Growing up in a large Lebanese family, grape leaves were not just a dish; they were a testament to our culture, traditions, and the bond we shared. Each leaf, meticulously stuffed and rolled, carried with it stories of my ancestors, tales of our homeland, and the laughter of family gatherings. Every bite is a flavorful journey back to my childhood, where I was surrounded by the love and warmth of my family. The dish represents more than just the delightful combination of ingredients; it's a culinary embrace, reminding me of where I come from and the cherished memories intricately woven into our family fabric.  This recipe might come across as intimidating at first glance, but it's genuinely straightforward once you dive in. I encourage you to give it a shot. I'm confident you'll adore it, and those lucky enough to taste this creation will feel the same.

Serving size: 10+ people
Time: 1 ½ hours


  • 1 large jar grape leaves, rinsed
  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • ½ pound ground beef
  • ½ pound ground lamb
  • 2 teaspoon [Not So] SIMPLE SPICE
  • 1 teaspoon Allspice
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • Juice of 1 large lemon


  1. In a shallow pan, lay out the grape leaves and rinse with water.  Be careful to not tear them apart.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the uncooked rice, beef, lamb, and spices.  
  3. Lay a grape leaf flat on a cutting board with the shiny side down and the stem facing you.
  4. Place a small amount of the filling (about 1 tablespoon) in the center of the leaf, just above where the stem used to be.
  5. Fold the bottom of the leaf up over the filling, then fold in the sides and roll, similar to rolling a burrito. Make sure to not roll too tightly  since the rice will expand when it’s cooked.
  6. Repeat with the remaining grape leaves and filling. 
  7. In a large stock pot, lay out the leftover unstuffed grape leaves to prevent the filled grape leaves from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Alternatively you can use a skimmer basket.
  8. Arrange the stuffed leaves in a stock pot in layers, seam-side down, packed closely together. Cover with a plate that fits all the way into the pan to keep them submerged and prevent them from unraveling while cooking.
  9. Squeeze lemon juice over the plate and cover with water.  
  10. Bring to a boil then simmer for about an hour.  Check the pot often because you may have to add water as it boils down.
  11. Once cooked, carefully remove the grape leaves from the pot using tongs. Serve them warm or at room temperature.  Pairs well with a side of yogurt/Lebnah or lemon wedges.