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Large plate of rolled vegetarian stuffed grape leaves
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4.98 from 238 votes

Vegetarian Stuffed Grape Leaves

These Vegetarian Stuffed Grape Leaves are a Mediterranean classic recipe made with short grain rice, parsley, tomatoes and onions - my favorite appetizer!
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Mediterranean
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 369kcal
Author Yumna Jawad


  • 1 jar grape leaves about 60-70 in brine
  • 2 cups short grain rice
  • 1 large tomato finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 bunch parsley finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 bunch green onions finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • ¼ green pepper finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper or to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¾ cup olive oil divided
  • 1 large tomato sliced
  • ¾ cup lemon juice


Prep Grape Leaves & Stuffing

  • Remove the grape leaves from the jar, and soak them in a large bowl of boiling hot water for a few minutes. Drain the grape leaves in a colander and stack them on a plate.
  • Combine the rice, tomatoes, parsley, green onions, green peppers, garlic and crushed red pepper. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle 1/4 cup of the olive oil over the mixture. Toss well to combine.

Stuff & Wrap Grape Leaves

  • 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.
  • Carefully fold in the sides and roll it like you would when making a wrap. Repeat until all the stuffing has been used and place the wrapped grape leaves on a tray while wrapping. It will make about 60 rolls.

Cook the Stuffed Grape Leaves.

  • Line the bottom of a large pot with tomatoes and season with salt/pepper.
  • Neatly arrange the stuffed and rolled grape leaves in rows, alternating directions, to completely cover the circumference of the pot. Make sure to tightly pack them in the pot to prevent them from floating up and unwrapping during cooking.
  • Drizzle each layer with some of the remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Place a plate upside down on top of the grape leaves in the pot. Next use something to weigh it down (a second plate works well or a bowl full of water). This will hold down the grape leaves in place, and prevent floating while they are cooking.
  • Add enough water (about 5-6 cups) 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.
  • Add the lemon juice on top of the grape leaves, then cook on low heat for an additional 45 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and let rest for 30 minutes. Transfer to a dish and enjoy warm or at room temperature.



Storage: Store any leftover grape leaves in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Any leftover stuffing can be cooked alone or used to make stuffed vegetables like, peppers, zucchini, and eggplant.
Equipment: If you have a pressure cooker, the grape leaves can be made with that. Just pack the rolled grape leaves in the pressure cooker, add the water, close and cook for 15 to 20 minutes at the first pressure mark.
Make Ahead Tip: You can wash the grape leaves from the brine in advance. You can also make the stuffing, roll the grape leaves and freeze the uncooked grape leaves in a single layer. Then when they're frozen, transfer to an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge and then cook as usual.
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.
Substitutes: For best results, follow the recipe as is. However here are frequently asked substitution questions
  • You can use ground lamb instead of ground beef or a mixture of both.
  • Avoid using brown rice. If you use brown rice, you have to increase the cooking time by 30 minutes, which may result is overcooking the grape leaves. I have not tried it but heard of poor outcomes.
Make Ahead Tips: You can make the hashweh stuffing up to 2 days in advance. You 
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.


Calories: 369kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 14mg | Potassium: 94mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 347IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 2mg