Rating: 4.5 stars
52 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 36
  • 4 star values: 9
  • 3 star values: 5
  • 2 star values: 1
  • 1 star values: 1

The best way to prepare delicious grape leaves, or yeb'r't in Arabic, as handed down by my grandmother from Aleppo, Syria as brought to the US in 1912.

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Ingredients

32
Original recipe yields 32 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Soak rice in cold water, and drain. In a large bowl, mix together the ground lamb, rice, allspice, salt and pepper until well blended. Place about 1 tablespoon of the meat mixture onto the center of each leaf. Fold the leaf over once, turn in the edges on each side, and then roll the leaf closed.

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  • Stack the leaf-rolls in a large pot, covering each layer with slices of garlic. Add just enough water to cover the rolls, then pour in the lemon juice. Add the olives to the pot for flavoring, if desired. Place a plate on top of the rolls to keep them under water.

  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Taste the rice for doneness. Grape leaves taste even better after sitting for several hours. Serve and enjoy.

Tip

Do not stack the rolled grape leave more than 3 or 4 layers thick in the pan. More layers can make the rolls cook unevenly; the ones on the bottom may overcook before the ones on the top are done.

Nutrition Facts

101 calories; protein 6.5g; carbohydrates 9.2g; fat 4.5g; cholesterol 19mg; sodium 902.3mg. Full Nutrition
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Reviews (45)

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
05/28/2005
I make almost the exact same recipe (from Lebanon), except I use cabbage leaves. I also bake it all in a casserole dish making sure to cover the rolls completely with water, lemon juice, sliced garlic, and some drops of margarine. It is so much easier than doing it on the stove. Salt all over. It is a tangy garlicky lemon flavor that I love! Read More
(46)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
11/10/2003
This recipe is good however not tasteful enough for my liking. Dont get me wrong its not bad but not one of my favorties. I make grape leaves slightly differently. I add onions tomatoes and garlic to the stuffing and omit the lemon jouce. Also instead of covering with water I cover them with a simple tomato sauce I make (chopped tomatoes drop of olive oil tsp tomato paste little bit of water and salt are heated till tomatoes soft. when its cooled I just blits it in a blender/food processor. The tomatoes and onions give it a richer taste. Read More
(22)
52 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 36
  • 4 star values: 9
  • 3 star values: 5
  • 2 star values: 1
  • 1 star values: 1
Rating: 5 stars
05/28/2005
I make almost the exact same recipe (from Lebanon), except I use cabbage leaves. I also bake it all in a casserole dish making sure to cover the rolls completely with water, lemon juice, sliced garlic, and some drops of margarine. It is so much easier than doing it on the stove. Salt all over. It is a tangy garlicky lemon flavor that I love! Read More
(46)
Rating: 4 stars
12/10/2007
I absolutely love this recipe. For those of you who find them a little bland please read on. I am a Syrian and my grandmother taught me this recipe. Over the years I have tweeked it a little bit to my liking. Everybody raves how these are the best grape leaves they have ever had. After many many trials and errors I find this to be the best! It is even my boyfriends favorite meal. It is a rather difficult recipe that takes alot of time and effort. Good Luck!! yelah! Read More
(35)
Rating: 5 stars
01/13/2007
Robert- thank you so MUCH! These are absolutely fantastic. They are tangy and PERFECT! I found that I didn't need all of the grape leaves though. I only needed about a jar and a half. If you can't find ground lamb meat ask your butcher to grind up a lamb roast for you or plan in advance and call some stores to see if they can order you the ground lamb. The lamb taste is essential! Look for the grape leaves in the olive aisle...they actually had them at the Safeway even though I was prepared to go to an ethnic food store for them. I will be sharing this recipe and making the dish again and again! Read More
(24)
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Rating: 3 stars
11/10/2003
This recipe is good however not tasteful enough for my liking. Dont get me wrong its not bad but not one of my favorties. I make grape leaves slightly differently. I add onions tomatoes and garlic to the stuffing and omit the lemon jouce. Also instead of covering with water I cover them with a simple tomato sauce I make (chopped tomatoes drop of olive oil tsp tomato paste little bit of water and salt are heated till tomatoes soft. when its cooled I just blits it in a blender/food processor. The tomatoes and onions give it a richer taste. Read More
(22)
Rating: 5 stars
08/17/2006
This recipe is just like one of the several ways my mother made stuffed grape leaves. She was also born in Aleppo Syria and passed away last April at the age of 93. They are yummy! And a must to make out of lamb they won't taste right with anything else. Read More
(15)
Rating: 4 stars
09/13/2010
Very close to Grandma's recipe! (She was from the southern part of Syria while I found that Aleppo is exactly north.) I was pleased with these and though I followed the recipe exactly I plan to make a couple minor adjustments next time. I'm going to halve the pepper and increase the allspice by a half-teaspoon. Instead of soaking the rice Grandma always mixed about 1/2 cup of water into the meat mixture with the dry rice. It gave some moisture for the rice to absorb without extra prep or an overly tough middle. (She preferred her lamb ground coarsely for most flavor. Short-grain rice is also the traditional rice for stuffing grape leaves.) One more TIP is to use a smaller amount of filling so that the raw amount is about the size of a short stubby pencil. The finished leaves will be the size of a child's marker. In this way they will be a lovely shape and you will use most of your jarred leaves. Finally she never added garlic but I LOVED it in these! And next time I will remember to add the olives! I served with extra lemon plain yogurt and pita bread and thought I was back in time:) Read More
(13)
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Rating: 5 stars
01/25/2007
Beast recipe I ever had for grape leaves. I added a little cinnamon and parsley to the mixture. Cooked in chcken broth along with the water and yes you must put a small plate on top to hold them down. Serve with with a sauce of yogurt pured garlic and chopped cucumber. Read More
(11)
Rating: 5 stars
06/25/2008
I've never made grape leaves before but this was easy and turned out very tasty! I added about a teaspoon each of dried dill weed and dried mint and it added a great flavor. Had to substitute ground beef for lamb I think it would have been even better with lamb. I served it with Tzatziki Sauce (Yogurt and Cucumber Dip) from this website and it was a perfect compliment. Read More
(10)
Rating: 5 stars
09/26/2011
Almost a duplicate of Sitoo's recipe straight from Beirut. Thank you for the memory lane! We use 1:1 rice/lamb (to stretch) and the lamb is deboned/minced by hand. Bones used for stock. Also go heavier on the fresh garlic scattering unpeeled whole cloves between layers. Sub h/m lamb stock for the water as well. Use a HEAVY bottom pot or put down a steamer basket to avoid scorching. Tradition says use "unusable" leaves to line pot but they still scorch and can ruin the flavor of the whole pot. Read More
(8)