Middle Eastern-style lamb and rice stuffed vine leaves

    2 hours

    This is an Arabic stuffed vine leaf recipe, handed down by my grandmother from Aleppo, Syria. The stuffing is a little labour-intensive, but it's worth it.

    61 people made this

    Makes: 32 

    • 195g uncooked white rice
    • 900g minced lamb
    • 4 (227g) packets Cypressa vine leaves, drained and rinsed
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 1 tablespoon ground allspice
    • 6 cloves garlic, sliced
    • 250ml lemon juice
    • 2 kalamata olives

    Prep:45min  ›  Cook:1hr15min  ›  Ready in:2hr 

    1. Soak rice in cold water and drain. In a large bowl, mix together the minced lamb, rice, allspice, salt and pepper until well blended. Place about 1 tablespoon of the meat mixture onto the centre of each leaf. Fold the leaf over once, turn in the edges on each side, then roll the leaf closed.
    2. 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 flavouring, if desired. Place a plate on top of the rolls to keep them under water.
    3. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Taste the rice for doneness. Vine leaves taste even better after sitting for several hours. Serve and enjoy.


    Do not stack the rolled vine 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.

    Vine leaves

    Found in Indian/Southern Asian, Middle-Eastern, speciality stores or online. You can also get vine leaves in jars, if you buy these, adjust the amount you use accordingly.

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    Reviews in English (46)


    loved this recipe. I made a change to the amount of meat. I used 300gms of lamb. It was delicious  -  23 Apr 2013


    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!  -  28 May 2005  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)


    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!  -  09 Dec 2007  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)