Easy Lebanese Grape Leaves w/ Lamb or Lean Beef

Easy Lebanese Grape Leaves w/ Lamb or Lean Beef

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Nutritional Info
  • Servings Per Recipe: 40
  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories: 54.8
  • Total Fat: 3.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 8.3 mg
  • Sodium: 7.2 mg
  • Total Carbs: 3.8 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 0.6 g
  • Protein: 2.4 g

View full nutritional breakdown of Easy Lebanese Grape Leaves w/ Lamb or Lean Beef calories by ingredient
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A quick and less painless way to roll your own grape leaves for a light plentiful snack or appetizer! Rolling may take a while, but it's fun and worthwhile. This grape leaf recipe includes meat. A quick and less painless way to roll your own grape leaves for a light plentiful snack or appetizer! Rolling may take a while, but it's fun and worthwhile. This grape leaf recipe includes meat.
Number of Servings: 40


    40 grape leaves (usually 50 or more to a can, save the rest)
    1/2 cup lemon juice

    2 tbsp Pine Nuts
    2 cups white rice
    1lb Lamb (or lean beef)
    2 tbsp paprika
    2 tbsp mint
    3 tsp sugar
    1.5 tsp cinnamon
    2 fresh lemons



You'll need a sautee pan, a large boiling pot, a colander, a steamer, 1 large bowl, a large glass baking dish, and tons of paper towels. There are a few steps to this recipe which can be done simultaneously.


Steam 2 cups of long grain white rice in 3.5 cups of water until done. Throw the rice into the large bowl once finished.

Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Unroll the grape leaves (but do not separate) and drop them into the boiling water for about 5 minutes to wash off the brine. Drain in a colander once finished and spray with cold water.

Warm 1tbsp olive oil in a pan and add 2tbsp pine nuts. Allow to cook until lightly golden brown while enjoying the extremely pleasurable aroma. Once finished, throw the nuts into the large bowl.

Cook 1lb lamb or lean beef in shallow water until rare or medium rare. Cooking time may vary, but do not overcook! About 5 minutes on medium will usually do. The meat will cook again once the grape leaves rolled. Throw the meat into the large bowl. Save the juice.


Once the nuts, meat, and rice are finished and in the bowl, mix the contents well. Throw in 2tbsp paprika, 2tbsp mint, 3tsp sugar, 1.5tsp cinammon, and the juice of two fresh lemons. Stir and add salt and pepper to taste.


Now comes the fun part. Take the stack of boiled leaves and place them on a paper towel. Separate each leaf, gently unfolding to avoid tearing. If stems are still attached, pinch of stems carefully. Do NOT throw out leaves with holes or tears! You will need them.

Line the glass baking dish bottom with bad leaves. To roll each leaf, place a leaf in front of you with the stem side facing towards you. Take a small lump of the filling (about 1tbsp depending on the leaf) and place it at the base of the leaf (the part closest to you). Fold the sides of the leaf over the mixing and roll away from you like a burrito. Roll it firm but not tight; too tight and it will burst, too loose and it will unravel. Place the finished leaf rolls seamside down in the baking dish.

Repeat this for each roll. You should be able to make about 40 depending on your leaves. Pack the leaves in rows firmly (not too tight, not too loose). If you run out of room you can start a new layer on top of the old one. As you're doing all the rolling, preheat your own to 350 degrees.


Once all the leaves are done, cover them up in another layer of discarded leaves. Pour the juice from the cooking meat and about half a cup of lemon juice over the top layer so it seeps down onto the leaves. The juice/lemon mixture should go about halfway up the glass dish. If it does not, add water until just right.

Place something somewhat heavy overtop of the whole thing in order to keep the leaves in place. A loaf pan or small stoneware works well here. You must allow steam to escape, so do not use foil.

Bake for 20 minutes, then open the oven and pour a little more water on top and a squirt or two of lemon juice. Bake for 25 more minutes.


When you pull out the leaves, resist the awe inspiring temptation to immediately bite into them. These juicy suckers are boiling hot! Let the leaves cool in the dish without draining. Keeping the rolls wet allows them to stay juicy. Once cooled, serve immediately or refrigerate.


* Tip: Most jars come with 50-100 leaves. You should get about 40 good ones and a bunch of rubbish.
* Tip: You can use bad leaves to patch up somewhat good leaves. Tear bits of bad leaves off and use them to cover holes, tears, or cut off leaves if needed.
* Tip: Each leaf will be the size of a small sausage. You can try bigger leaves, but it's not easy!
* Tip: Lemon makes the leaf. Don't be afraid of lemon juice, sometimes I throw in an extra just for fun.
* Note: The traditional cooking method calls for rolled raw materials, and the rice and meat cook in leaf. I favor this method for ease of preparation, as the traditional method takes time to master.


Number of Servings: 40

Recipe submitted by SparkPeople user YELLA42.

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Member Ratings For This Recipe

  • Excellent! Preparation instructions were very useful. - 2/8/10

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  • The Greeks love their grapeleaves also!! I do the old fashion way by having everything raw and cooking in a low sodium beef broth with the lemon juice. Also have switched to ground turkey for the meat and brown rice for different flavor. LOVE,LOVE,LOVE my grape leaves!!!!!!!!!!!! - 2/2/10

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