Final stuffed grape leaves lined up on a long plate

Lebanese Stuffed Grape Leaves (Warak Enab)

These Lebanese Stuffed Grape Leaves (Warak Enab) are made with a spiced ground beef and rice mixture - a delicious Mediterranean dish commonly served as an appetizer!
5 from 6 votes
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Prep Time: 1 hr 15 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr 15 mins
Total Time: 2 hrs 30 mins
Servings: 60 Grape Leaves
Calories: 45kcal
Author: Yumna Jawad

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for drizzling between layers
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt plus more for seasoning layers
  • 2 teaspoons AllSpice
  • 1 1/2 cups short grain rice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 jar grape leaves about 60-70 in brine
  • 2 medium Yukon gold potatoes sliced
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

Instructions

Prepare Stuffing (Hashweh)

  • Heat a large pan with olive oil, and cook ground beef until browned. Season with salt and AllSpice.
  • Add uncooked rice to the ground beef, then cinnamon and mix well until everything is incorporated.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Grape Leaves Preparation

  • Drain grape vine leaves and soak them in a large bowl of water.
  • Gently separate and wash the leaves individually. 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.

Stuff, Wrap and Cook

  • 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. Repeat until all the stuffing has been used and place the wrapped grape leaves in a tray.
  • Line the bottom of a large pot with tomatoes and/or potatoes and season with salt and pepper. 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.
  • Place small round plate on top of grape leaves in the pot to hold them down and prevent floating while they are cooking.
  • Add 5-6 cups of 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.
  • 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 cool uncovered for 30 minutes. Transfer to a dish and enjoy warm!

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.
Substitutes: For best results, follow the recipe as is. However if you prefer to use ground lamb instead of ground beef, that works as well!
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

Serving: 10g | Calories: 45kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 25mg | Potassium: 49mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 15IU | Vitamin C: 1.1mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 0.5mg