First, I will list the steps of how to put together the filling, and then show step-by-step photos of how to stuff the grape leaves:
Open the jar of grape leaves, unroll the bunch of leaves, and rinse under running water to remove most of the packaging liquid.
For the filling: In a bowl, add 2 cups of rice (uncooked), 1 lb. of ground meat, 2 thinly-diced onions, salt and pepper, and mix well using a large fork to make sure all ingredients are well integrated.
On a large plate or cutting board, take one grape leaf and place on it about 1 teaspoon of the filling, as shown below:
Then, fold the bottom two sides of the grape leave up:
Fold the right and left sides of the grape leave towards the middle, overlapping one side over the other and pulling in a bit to make sure it’s tightly folded in:
Start rolling the grape leaf upward tightly to close it off:
And there you have it – a nicely wrapped grape leaf…
As you’re wrapping, watch for torn leaves that are unsuitable for stuffing and place them in the bottom of the pot that you will be using to cook the grape leaves.
When you have stuffed and wrapped all the grape leaves, pile them in a circle in the pot:
Pour 2-3 cups of chicken or meat broth (or water if you prefer) to cover at least three-fourth of the pile of grape leaves in the pot. You can also mix the chicken/meat broth with water in whatever proportion to dilute for a lighter version of the dish and add 2-3 cups of the diluted mix, but you will likely notice a slight difference in taste.
Leave on medium-high heat for a few minutes until the broth starts to boil, then lower the heat to medium-low and cook for about 35 minutes until the meat and rice are fully cooked.
. Squeeze the juice of one lemon on top and enjoy either hot or cold, alongside tzatziki yogurt sauce if you like:
Stuffed grape leaves may take some time to wrap (took me about half an hour to prepare the filling and an hour to wrap 90 pieces), but it is definitely worth it! I made this dish alongside the Egyptian Stuffed Peppers & Zucchini for some friends and they loved it!
Have you ever tried to make stuffed grape leaves or veggies? What kind of filling did you use?
Hi Brenda! Thanks for the comment Wow – this is the first time I hear about the meat being cooked with the other ingredients before mixing it with the uncooked rice! I’ll have to try it with the red sauce sometime – sounds like a delicious variation! Please post the recipe/pictures on your blog … I’d love to see! Hope you’re enjoying DC summer!
-Hey Debby, thanks so much for the detailed recipe for the Lebanese Stuffed Grape Leaves. It’s pretty cool to see how similar dishes are made with slight differences and distinctions in different Middle Eastern cultures. And I love the homemade yogurt recipe! I really can’t wait to try it! I will let you know how it turns out. Thanks again!
Hi there Tracy! Thanks for your encouraging comment! It’s exciting to read about motivated individuals like you who have made the journey from running 5Ks to marathons – I never cease to be impressed. I remember struggling to finish a mile only a few weeks ago. Now I can do 3.5! It’s amazing what the body can be trained to do.