Lebanese Stuffed Grape Leaves (Warak Enab)

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These Lebanese Stuffed Grape Leaves (Warak Arish) are made with a spiced ground beef and rice mixture - a delicious Mediterranean dish commonly served as an appetizer!

  • Author: Yumna Jawad
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Lebanese Stuffed Grape Leaves (Warak Enab)

This is my all-time favorite Lebanese dish that I grew up eating and actually grew up helping my mom make! I speak arabic and we call it “warak enab.” I may not have learned to cook until after I was married, but I learned to roll Stuffed Grape Leaves when I was probably only 12 years old! And can I say, I think I’m pretty good at rolling! 

Rolling the grape leaves can be very tedious, which is why I usually only make this dish a few times a year. And if I ever ask my mom or mother-in-law to make it for me, I always offer to help with the rolling…it kinda becomes a “Warak-And-Roll” party…haha!

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How to make stuffed grape leaves

The first part is the hashweh. Hashweh is an arabic word for stuffing. There are many variations of the hashweh, but the two popular ones are these meat and rice with spices and the the vegetarian version with no meat.  This recipe is made with grape vines leaves (warak arish/anab), rice, ground beef, 7 spice seasoning and lemon juice.

To make the meat stuffed grape leaves, I use a non-stick skillet to brown some ground beef. Then I add the seasoning and uncooked rice. That basically makes up the hashweh [the rice will cook while the grape leaves cook]. And then the rolling starts. The best way to do it is to lay a grape leaf flat on a cutting board, place a tablespoon of the stuffing in middle of the leaf, and carefully fold in the sides and roll it like you would when making a wrap. 

Pretty soon you’ll end up with the rolls looking like this, and the tedious part is over!

These Lebanese Stuffed Grape Leaves are made with a spiced ground beef and rice mixture - a delicious Mediterranean dish commonly served as an appetizer!

Next I use a deep pot for cooking the warak enab. I start by layering the pot with olive oil, sliced tomatoes and/or potatoes. Then I add the stuffed and rolled grape leaves over them and repeat the delicious layers. Adding the tomatoes is a great tip to ensure that the warak enab don’t touch the bottom of the pot, which can result is charred grape leaves. It’s also very popular to place a lamb rack on the bottom of the pot.

These Lebanese Stuffed Grape Leaves are made with a spiced ground beef and rice mixture - a delicious Mediterranean dish commonly served as an appetizer!

Here is the pot of the warak enab all rolled up and ready to be cooked! Then it’s cooking time until the stuffed grape leaves are tender, juicy and utterly tantalizing! Trust me, you will be eating them straight from the pot while they’re still piping hot!

These Lebanese Stuffed Grape Leaves are made with a spiced ground beef and rice mixture - a delicious Mediterranean dish commonly served as an appetizer!

This dish is very popular in several Mediterranean countries and in the Middle East. There are some varieties in the ingredients and the technique depending on the region of the recipe, but it’s essential stuffed grape leaves.

The Greek call it Dolmades.

The Turks call it Dolma.

The Lebanese call Warak Enab/Arish.

I call it YUMMY!

These Lebanese Stuffed Grape Leaves are made with a spiced ground beef and rice mixture - a delicious Mediterranean dish commonly served as an appetizer!

If you make this healthy-ish feelgood Lebanese Stuffed Grape Leaves recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!

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4.6 from 5 votes
These Lebanese Stuffed Grape Leaves are made with a spiced ground beef and rice mixture - a delicious Mediterranean dish commonly served as an appetizer!
Lebanese Stuffed Grape Leaves (Warak Arish)
Prep Time
1 min
Cook Time
1 min
Total Time
2 mins
 
These Lebanese Stuffed Grape Leaves (Warak Arish) are made with a spiced ground beef and rice mixture - a delicious Mediterranean dish commonly served as an appetizer!
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: arabic food, Lebanese, Lebanese Grape Leaves, Stuffed Grape Leaves
Servings: 60 Grape Leaves
Calories: 47 kcal
Author: Yumna Jawad
Ingredients
  • 1 jar grape leaves about 60-70 in brine
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 cups short grain rice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil divided (plus more for drizzling between layers)
  • 1 tsp salt divided (plus more for seasoning layers)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper plus more for seasoning layers
  • 1 tbsp AllSpice seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • Juice of 2 large lemons
  • Zaatar for seasoning the layers optional
Instructions
Grape Leaves Preparation
  1. Drain grape vine leaves and soak them in a large bowl of water.
  2. Gently separate and wash the leaves, stack them on a plate and set them aside. It is best to cover them with a damp cloth so they don't dry out, until you are ready to start rolling them.
Stuffing Preparation
  1. Cook ground beef with 1 tbsp olive oil and ½ tsp of salt and drain out water
  2. Add rice to the ground beef along with the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil and ½ tsp of salt, AllSpice seasoning, cinnamon and black pepper, and mix well.
  3. To stuff and roll the grape leaves, lay a grape leaf flat on a cutting board, scoop out a heaping teaspoon of the rice mixture into the center of the grape leaf, and carefully fold in the sides and roll it like you would when making a wrap.
  4. The trick is to roll it tightly enough so that it doesn't unravel while cooking, but not too tightly since the rice needs room to expand as it cooks.
Putting it All Together
  1. Place all the wrapped grape leaves in a tray.
  2. Line the bottom of a large pot with tomatoes and/or potatoes and season with salt/pepper to taste in addition to zaatar (if you desire)
  3. Neatly arrange the stuffed and rolled grape leaves in rows, alternating directions, to completely cover the circumference of the pot. Drizzle each layer with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Place small round plate on top of grape leaves in the pot to hold them down and prevent floating while they are cooking.
  5. Add enough boiling water to completely cover the grape leaves and the plate, then cover the pot and cook on Medium heat for 30 minutes, until most of the water is absorbed and the rice is cooked.
  6. Add the lemon juice on top of the grape leaves, then cook on low heat for an additional 45 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat and let cool uncovered. Transfer to a dish and enjoy warm!
Recipe Notes

Recipe: There are so many variations of this grape leaves recipe depending on the region adapted from. There is no absolute one way to make this dish, but this was the recipe passed down from my Lebanese parents and it's one that I've made and enjoyed for many many years.

Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container. They will last about 3-4 days in the fridge.

Make Ahead Tips: You can make the hashweh stuffing up to 2 days in advance. You can also wash the grape leaves from the brine in advance to minimize last minute work.

Sourcing: You can find jars of grape leaves at Middle Eastern markets, natural-foods stores or even in large supermarkets, often located with other Middle Eastern ingredients. You can also buy on amazon.com. These are my favorite brands: Orlando or Cortas.

Equipment: If you have a pressure cooker, the grape leaves can be made with that. Just pack them rolled grape leaves in the pressure cooker, add the water, close and cook for 15 to 20 minutes at the first pressure mark.

Nutrition: Please note that the nutrition label provided is an estimate only. It will vary based on the specific ingredients used.

Nutrition Facts
Lebanese Stuffed Grape Leaves (Warak Arish)
Amount Per Serving (10 g)
Calories 47 Calories from Fat 18
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 3%
Cholesterol 5mg 2%
Sodium 43mg 2%
Potassium 25mg 1%
Total Carbohydrates 5g 2%
Protein 1g 2%
Vitamin A 0.3%
Calcium 0.2%
Iron 2.4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
These Lebanese Stuffed Grape Leaves are made with a spiced ground beef and rice mixture - a delicious Mediterranean dish commonly served as an appetizer! | Lebanese Recipes | Appetziers | Healthy Snacks | #beef #grapeleaves #lebanesefood #feelgoodfoodie

Comments

  • Reply
    Margarita
    November 14, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    Could you please make a vegan variation of this amazing recipe? Shucran!

  • Reply
    Sarah
    October 27, 2018 at 10:03 am

    Im surprised there is not parsley used in the recipe. I thought that was a must. Do you think it would ruin the flavor if I added parsley?

    • Reply
      Yumna Jawad
      October 27, 2018 at 3:23 pm

      Yup, traditionally the parsley is in the vegetarian grape leaves. I know there are many variations though of grape leaves. I don’t think parsley would ruin it if you wanted to add it!

  • Reply
    afnan
    October 20, 2018 at 5:12 am

    استخدمه وافعله دائما ولاكن بعد الطهي يصبح لونه اسود وبعد مايبرد

    • Reply
      Yumna Jawad
      October 21, 2018 at 6:48 pm

      السبب هو نوع ورق العنب.

  • Reply
    Theresa
    October 7, 2018 at 8:23 pm

    Different recipe from the grape leaves I was raised on and make. My seasonings are basically rice (Uncle Ben’s is preferred) salt, pepper, mint and garlic powder. Never put allspice, cinnamon, etc…. I guess it’s different regions of Lebanon that spice differently.

    • Reply
      Yumna Jawad
      October 9, 2018 at 6:42 am

      Hi Theresa – Yeah, it seems that there may be some variations of the recipe, but essentially the basic recipe is similar with the ground beef, rice and seasoning of your choice. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  • Reply
    cindy hvizdos
    September 26, 2018 at 11:25 am

    when my hubby and I went to Samreny’s in east liberty, Pittsburgh, pa. don’t know if spelling is correct but they have been closed for a long time now . I miss there food so much. hubby n I went on our first date there and every anniversary for years. I thought the grape leaves had lamb and rice in it and every thing was so lemony. the rice n pignolias was so fluffy not greasy or sticky ,what was on it? , so good. I have tried to make there food many times I am close but .would love to buy a good lebanese cook book

    • Reply
      Yumna Jawad
      September 27, 2018 at 6:46 pm

      Hi Cindy – I’m sorry I’m not sure what you’re referring to. Hopefully one day I’ll have a Lebanese cookbook to share!

  • Reply
    jr18
    June 14, 2018 at 7:28 am

    I have fresh grape leaves. Do i use them as it is?

    • Reply
      Yumna Jawad
      June 14, 2018 at 7:48 am

      Oh that’s awesome! I would recommend soaking the leaves in hot water for 15 minutes so they soften. This will make it easier to roll them without them breaking. Enjoy!

  • Reply
    Ava
    May 20, 2018 at 7:53 pm

    These are even BETTER if you have your own fresh leaves (not the one picked in brine). Fresh leaves melt in your mouth!! For holidays growing up, we always had these with Laban as well as kibbe and fatayer on the side. My mom made the fresh bread. Never any turkey and dressing for me growing up! Today, I make the turkey and dressing biut always have a pot of grapeleaves on the side.

    • Reply
      Yumna Jawad
      May 20, 2018 at 9:20 pm

      Yes, for sure! This is one of my favorite meals of all time!

  • Reply
    Heather P.
    April 21, 2018 at 11:25 pm

    Can I roll these the night before and store in the fridge until I’m ready to cook them?

    • Reply
      Yumna Jawad
      April 22, 2018 at 7:38 pm

      Hi Heather, yes absolutely! That’s pretty much what I usually do. I roll them at night (while watching TV) and then cook them the next day! Enjoy!

  • Reply
    Uma
    January 19, 2018 at 8:44 pm

    Made this for family last week! It was fantastic!

    • Reply
      Yumna Jawad
      January 19, 2018 at 8:49 pm

      Awesome! So glad to hear that!

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