I like mine with yogurt on the side.


  • Grape leaves
  • Ground lamb
  • Rice
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Cinnamon
  • Tomato paste
  • These are the essentials. Options follow:


This is very easy to do and hard to screw up. For our family of two, it will make enough to last for lunches and dinner.

Mix the lamb with raw rice in a ratio of 2 (meat) to 1 (rice). Season with salt, pepper and cinnamon and don't be afraid of the cinnamon. Optional additions are a generous handful of fresh, minced parsley and/or a chopped tomato. I like both.
Rinse the grape leaves (assuming they're in brine. If you're lucky enough to have them fresh--ah!). Remove the largest part of the center leaf vein. Many of the leaves that come in jars are large enough to cut in half. Find the way that's best for you. Put about 1 tsp. of mixture onto each leaf and roll like a burrito, i.e., wrap up the sides, turn up the bottom, and continue to roll until its similar to a little cigarette. Tuck each one neatly into a heavy pot. Place them close together so they won't fall apart. Continue until you have lost patience. Do this with the radio on because it's a tedious task!
You should have at least 50 of these guys, and this is using about a pound of meat. Any leftover meat mixture can be frozen or added in a little aluminum foil package to the cooking pot. Make a thin sauce by stirring a spoonful of tomato paste into some warm water. Cover the stuffed grape leaves with this thin sauce. I make mine thicker then my Lebanese friends do. Place a saucer on top of the leaves, so they won't float. Simmer for 30 minutes or so until the leaves are tender and the rice is cooked. Serve hot or cold.

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Submitted 6/13/05.
Source: Alisa Norvelle
Submitted By: Eileen Werth