Lebanese Stuffed Grape Leaf Rolls

Lebanese Grape Leaf Rolls, a taste of Dier Mimas

Lebanese grape leaf rolls, also known as dolma or simply stuffed grape leaves. You’ll love this recipe and story about Lebanese family and food.

[…watch my video on how to roll grapeleaves HERE!…]

There is one thing I’ve always thought was a given about grape leaves: that fresh is best. In other words, that leaves picked when they’ve just unfurled from the vine in the spring and eaten immediately make the finest little stuffed rolls.

Or so I thought, until I met my father’s cousin May, and therefore my cousin May, in Lebanon recently. May spoke to me of my father’s family village of Dier Mimas, a place I’ve held in my lifelong imagination. She had heard we would not be traveling to the village, and she wanted to know why. My response pained me, as it did her, but I thought it best to simply out with it: I want to go there very badly, but we don’t think it’s safe. The village is at the southernmost point of Lebanon, on the Israeli border. Safe! It’s fine! May said. Then Aunt Augette, a commanding beauty of a matriarchal woman, chimed in and saved me: No, it is not safe, and they should not travel there. Period. The End.

We spoke then of the thousands of grape leaves May picks in her home village every year. They live in Beirut now, as many do, and travel to their villages every weekend to relax and see the family. May preserves the leaves of Dier Mimas not by freezing them, but by jarring them in water and salt.

May told me she prefers to jar her leaves because they retain a nice color and have great flavor. Then she offered to make some for us so we could taste her pride and joy. Then she offered to send a jar home with me. Good manners would have refused but I couldn’t help myself from saying yes on every count. And the look on her face reminded me that good manners, Lebanese-style, is to accept the invitation of family and food, to eat, to enjoy, and to recognize the gift of the cook that you have been given.

And what a gift it was. We had decided on this dinner just the night before, but here was a spread that would take most of us days to prepare: kibbeh nayeh (yes, we ate it raw more than once in Lebanon; it was spicy and delicious), kebab with toum sauce, tabbouleh, hummus, labne, and a massive platter of Dier Mimas grape leaves. She’d made 300 tiny rolls that day. Also plates of green plums and kumquats (such color!), Lebanese wine and arak graced the table. Oh, and little pizzas, I can’t forget the pizzas! Then desserts of all sorts filled the table, including the Lebanese ice cream I’d been hoping to taste all week. But even my sweet tooth couldn’t help but be dazzled instead by the fava beans that were handed to each person straight from a brown bag from the market. We plucked them from their pods, popped the beans from their skins, salted them, and ate. What a contrast to the precious eating of favas that takes place in San Francisco restaurants all spring. It was the finest palate cleanser I’ve ever had.

I was in the kitchen before dinner and May showed me her stuff, her way of kneading the kibbeh, her way of combining the tabbouleh with all of its components prepared and waiting for this moment in the refrigerator, and her way of demonstrating that here in her kitchen was the epicenter of the family. Her gorgeous children and husband buzzed all around her, teasing and laughing. You like my home? May asked with a smile in her broken English. Oh yes, I like your home. In walked more cousins and more, and the elders whose faces I knew even though I had never seen them before. One of these women, Aunt Miriam, wore a black and cream silk blouse and first thing she said, showing off her blouse, was: Hilda bought me this! It looked just like a blouse Aunt Hilda would buy, and that gifting probably took place 25 years ago.

Aunt Miriam and the others of that generation there with us that night—they are nieces of my grandmother. My father’s mother, Nabeha. Who I never met because she died when she was only 49, when my father was only 20. Who I’ve heard so much about and written so much about that I begin to be unsure of what I’ve made up and what is actually true about her and about Dier Mimas. I asked Aunt Miriam and Aunt Augette at dinner that night in Lebanon: you remember my grandmother, Nabeha? Of course! they said. And we loved her! She was wonderful!

Of course! I said. It was all too much, and at the same time, not enough. I wanted to trace their faces onto my fingertips and record the sound of their words in my ears. I wanted to go to Dier Mimas, and taste it all. Next time, I said, we will go to Dier Mimas.

My tears flowed freely that night, as they had the night before when I sat at dinner next to Mirna, another young cousin of this clan who spent so much time with my brother Chris and his wife Ruth when they were in Lebanon six years ago adopting little John. Mirna kept Ruth close during what turned into days of war. Mirna took risks for Ruth without another thought (just as Ruth took risks for John without hesitation), driving her through the bombed city to get her and the baby to the military boats so they could leave. I asked Mirna, was that the area just over there on the coast of Beirut where you took Ruth? And here we were looking at a photo of the baby who is no longer a baby but a beautiful little boy whose mother escaped a war, but not the cancer that took her from him.

Can you blame me for the tears of both joy and sorrow?

Or for taking home the jar of grape leaves from the soil of an unreachable Dier Mimas?

Or for writing this blog, which we all know by now is becoming a love letter to history, to family, to food, to that which we know because we taste it, and do not know because we have never been there.

Lebanese Grape Leaf Rolls
The method is the same whether you are using fresh or jarred grape leaves, except the fresh leaves need not be soaked in cold water. To make smaller rolls, cut jarred leaves in half.

80-100 grape leaves, medium size
1 cup long grain rice
1 pound ground beef (90% lean) or lamb
½ cup butter, melted
½ tablespoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 lamb or pork neck bones, 2 bone-in pork chops, or 6 chicken wings (optional)
3 large grape leaves
2 lemons

Rinse the leaves thoroughly and soak in cold water for 15 minutes. Line a heavy, deep pan with meat bones if using, then 3 grape leaves. (Line the pan with just the leaves if no meat is being used).

For the filling:
In a medium-size bowl, combine rice, ground beef or lamb, butter, salt, pepper, and cinnamon. Mix well with your hands.

Prepare a dutch oven by lining the bottom with lamb or pork bones, pork chops, or chicken wings. Spread 3 large leaves over the top of the meat.

To stuff and roll the leaves:
Place grape leaves facing vein-side up on work surface with the wide stem-end of the leaf toward you. Drop 1 heaping teaspoon of filling across that stem edge of the leaf, shaping like a finger, leaving enough leaf on either side of the meat for rolling. Don’t roll the leaves too tightly—allow room for rice filling to expand. Fold each side of leaf over the meat like an envelope and roll securely, away from you.

Arrange stuffed leaves in rows in a heavy, deep pan, alternating the direction of each layer of rows. Slice the lemon crosswise into several ¼-inch slices and lay the lemon slices over the rolls. Place a plate face down over the top layer to prevent the rolls from floating.

Fill pot with warm water up to the plate. Cover and bring slowly to a boil. After about 20 minutes, add the juice of one lemon to the cooking water. Some prefer much more lemon than this, or none at all; adjust as you please. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30-40 minutes, for a total cooking time of about one hour, until rice is tender.

Serve with cooked lemon slices as a garnish and labne.

Find a PDF of this recipe here.


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  1. Janet Moore on May 24, 2012 at 10:40 AM

    What a beautiful story. It also brought tears to my eyes. My mom took her mom to Lebanon many years ago. The pictures and stories were abundant. I have always wanted to go…maybe one year I will make the trip. It is on my bucket list. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Sofia Perez on May 24, 2012 at 10:57 AM

    Just for the family stories alone, this blog entry is wonderful, but then you give us a recipe for the stuffed grape leaves, and you just about send me over the moon. I live in a very Greek neighborhood in NYC (locally, it used to be called “Little Athens”), so I’ve always had dolmades, and it’s one of my favorite dishes, from any type of cuisine, period. So now I am obligated to make your recipe!!! I cannot wait…

  3. Jerry Wakeen on May 24, 2012 at 11:02 AM

    Delightful story, thanks for sharing.
    I will send this one off to my family tree list also, I am sure it will tug at their hearts as it did mine.
    I too always wanted to visit Lebanon but my wife worries about safety.
    But I am sure the present residents know where to and where not to go.
    You made it back with your jar of grape leaves, so you were well taken care of.

    A while back someone sent me an aerial shot of Blat, where our relatives came from, a small village nestled in the hills. Quite different than what you might imagine. I think that was the foreign equivalent of Google.

    Our local expert in Wisconsin (Lebanese restaurant owner) likes his rolls very small with modest amounts of stuffing, pork and chicken boiled to get the stock, lemon on top at the end, all very good, yours looked wonderful also.

    I like cabbage rolls too, made an inch thick and about 6 inches long, with a tomato juice cooking stock, we always got them before they were done, mom would complain but we maintained they were done (even though the rice was still crunchy).

    Thanks Maureen much for your trip and stories.

    • Reinventing Nadine on May 27, 2012 at 12:49 AM

      In Lebanon grape leaves are never ever stuffed with pork..it is either a vegetarian or meet mixture.

  4. Gregory Jarous on May 24, 2012 at 11:38 AM

    This story was beautiful. Both sets of my Grandparents came from Deir Meirmas. Almost made me cry which i do easily. Thank-you

  5. Gregory Jarous on May 24, 2012 at 11:39 AM

    Actualy i ment i don’cry easily. Oh well

  6. Jody Namey Atty on May 24, 2012 at 12:40 PM

    Total agreement with all previous comments!! Beautiful, just beautiful…in so many ways!!!
    Love, Jody

  7. Scot on May 24, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    Maureen — Is that John’s beautiful hand? The boys just love the grapeleaves!! 🙂

  8. Joe Joseph on May 24, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    Another beautiful story. Thank you.

    Grape leaves are one of our family favorites. I learned to make them by helping my Dad and Mom roll them when I was a kid, and my children gathered around the kitchen counter and similarly learned from me. When my grandchiidren are old enough they will no doubt carry on. Try cooking them in chicken broth instead of water, especially if not using bones. This makes for a richer flavor. (My Dad taught me this.)

    • Leslie Massad on January 23, 2013 at 2:11 PM

      Hi …wonderful story…thank u so much for sharing …exactly how I make mine with the chicken broth …go good!!!!

  9. Greg Carpenter on May 24, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    Thanks for sharing your stories… your blog always provides a nice break in my busy day. Very evocative writing.

    And another winning recipe. I will make these for my kids… canned stuffed grape leaves and dolmas have been a guilty pleasure of ours for years. It’s time to upgrade to homemade.

  10. virginia lasher on May 24, 2012 at 8:29 PM

    Maureen you write so beautifully. I love reading your stories. God love you, you are so special. You make my day. much love, virginia

  11. Diane Spaniolo Gallagher on May 24, 2012 at 11:33 PM

    Maureen, you brought tears to my eyes. God bless you.

  12. Lana on May 26, 2012 at 6:41 PM

    Maureen, your stories could be mine, and your formidable Aunts look just like my Aunts in Serbia, surrounded by hand-tatted doilies and beautiful pastries they share with their neighbors. Our paths are so similar and my visits overseas are always filled with anguish and tears, as much as joy and laughter. But I would not change that for anything:)
    Influenced by the Orient, we also make these little rolls, but as we are land-locked, the preferred green is mostly sorrel. Throughout spring and summer months, this was a favorite meal of mine, and my girls continue the tradition, craving the rolls each year.
    Thank you for your beautiful voice that brings me into your life as if I were a member of your family.
    I don’t know if this is a big deal or not, but i nominated you for Food Stories Award. I hope the links work if you want to go and check out the site. https://foodstoriesblog.com/food-stories-award/ And here is my post about the awards: https://bibberche.com/2012/05/food-stories-award/
    Have a great holiday weekend! Sending a big wave to Michigan, which was my first harbor when I landed on the U.S. soil. Ten years have left quite an impact and I still consider myself a Michigander in a way:)

  13. Reinventing Nadine on May 27, 2012 at 12:46 AM

    Stuffed grape leaves would be my dish of choice if I ever to be on a death row. How wonderful your story to show up around May 25th liberation day. My favorite thing to eat with grape leaves stuffed with meat is my homemade yogurt which also made it healthy aperture.

  14. Asma Khoury Safadi on May 30, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    Beautiful words. I hope you will be able to visit Deirmimas soon.

  15. Roger Toomey on June 30, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    Did you know this page is listed on the Deir Mimas facebook page?

    • Maureen Abood on July 1, 2012 at 6:00 AM

      Yes, so nice, thanks Roger!

  16. Fragolina on November 8, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    hey Maureen. I like your post, and it’s a bit sad that you couldnt be able to go see our village DeirMimas. you know, we go there every 2 week-ends, and it is safe. I know that abroad the news projects a different image of the situation in Lebanon but it’s not as it seems.Hope next time you visit Lebanon, you don’t miss Deirmimas. And if I’ll be here we’ll go together.
    I saw your picture in a magazine, Taste & Flavors, distributed in Beirut cooking Festival which I visited today. It’s a nice article about your blog and your Lebanese Cuisine.
    my mother and i were guessing about your parents and grandparents. My mom is a Hourani, and my dad is a Toubia. take care. we’ll stay in touch.

  17. jeannette on March 15, 2013 at 10:27 AM


    First, I really enjoy your site! I grow grapes in my backyard and wonder if anywhere on your site you mention how to jar leaves and if so do you specify as to which kind of leaves are best for jarring?

    Jeannette Khoury
    Montreal, Canada

    • Maureen Abood on March 15, 2013 at 11:18 AM

      Thank you Jeanette! I haven’t jarred my own leaves (we always freeze them) but that’s a great idea…. The only leaves we use for this dish are wild grape leaves, not cultivated leaves from grapes (the wild ones don’t bear fruit).

      • marion estephan on October 4, 2013 at 5:04 PM

        Maureen, I had never never heard of wild grape leaves before my daughter married into a Syrian family.I grew up in a Lebanese community in Pa. and always had leaves from fruit bearing vines.When I make for my family I stuff about 800 to 900 each time.Then i try to freeze enough to make it a couple of times during the winter.I would never be able to have room to jar them.Just wanted to let you know I love your posts.

        • Maureen Abood on October 6, 2013 at 2:02 PM

          Wow, thank you Marion–I’m very interested to know this about your fruit-bearing vines and leaves!

  18. marion estephan on October 4, 2013 at 10:50 AM

    Dear Maureen,
    I just found your website and I am in love with it.I am an American born Lebanese married to a Lebanese
    born American.I love reading about your family.I was so glad to see that you make your stuffed grape leaves in lemon just as I do.I can’t find many people that do it that way.I have a large grape vine and am constantly stuffing leaves for my large family.I try to stuff as as many as my freezer will hold and then just freeze the leaves and then by adding a little extra olive oil they cook up delicious in the winter.My in-laws were from Kferksghab in North Lebanon and the love of food and family also binds us together.

    • Maureen Abood on October 6, 2013 at 2:03 PM

      Thanks so much Marion–your grape leaves sound wonderful!

  19. Rania Squillo on October 5, 2013 at 11:06 PM

    Hi Ms. Abood,

    I’ve made this dish three times & each time my family says “it’s exactly like grandma’s.” You don’t know happy I am when I hear that because my mom passed away in 2000 & unfortunately I was not at all interested in learning to cook back then. I stumbled on this recipe one night when my sister wasn’t around & I wanted to attempt to make this. I kept thinking to myself no way! Like I’m really gonna find a recipe when I googled Lebanese stuffed grape leaves. Since then, I just wanna jump in my car & drive all the way to Michigan every time I read a new story or look at the postcards from Up North!! I love the stories & the pics. Keep them coming!!! Oh & the recipes are so easy to follow & delicious.


    • Maureen Abood on October 6, 2013 at 1:48 PM

      Thank you so very much for your wonderful words, Rania! Your mama would be proud of you.

  20. Tom Gebora on November 26, 2013 at 9:39 AM

    Hi Maureen,
    You need to be playing baseball; you just hit another homerun. Thank you for the great piece and recipies. Any information on the baby coosa? I’m still looking.

    Tom G.

    • Maureen Abood on November 26, 2013 at 2:53 PM

      Thank you Tom! That baby coosa question remains!

      • george g on May 17, 2014 at 5:48 PM

        What about the baby cousa? I have a grandma I can ask 🙂 might be a late reply but maybe you are still wondering 🙂 have a good one

        • Maureen Abood on May 19, 2014 at 9:44 AM

          George! Were you looking for a recipe for pickled baby coosa, or where to buy some already made?

  21. Nora Trabilsy on February 18, 2014 at 8:36 AM

    Loved your story. Have a similar one when my husband and I visited Sydney Australia to meet the children of my mother’s half brother. He was left in Lebanon as a child when his father died and mother had no where else to go as he was considered property of the husband’s family. She came to the U.S. and had two little girls, dying when they were very young. She never saw her son again, he never saw his mother and my mother and her sister never met their brother. When our families found each other my mother and their father had passed. When I stepped off of the plane, 100 years of longing were fulfilled. I met loving cousins and saw in them the faces of my past. I can only assume that my mother and her brother had a hand in this once they were together in heaven. We remain close and they have also travelled to Michigan for my daughter’s wedding. Our next journey is to go to Lebanon to see my family’s home. Thank you for sharing your memories.

    • Maureen Abood on February 20, 2014 at 10:29 PM

      That’s just amazing and so touching, Nora. We are kindred spirits then. Thank you for writing and please stay in touch.

  22. samy Husseini on April 4, 2014 at 2:55 PM

    Hi Maureen,
    I don’t know where to start, talking about your touchy story or your wonderful grape leaves recipe,
    however, i think you are one of the most Lebanese great story teller and cook.
    I truely enjoyed your stories and your ways of preparing Lebanese food. you are one of the kind women who has a great soul and great love of our culture and heritage.
    I told you in the pass that i do cook for my family and enjoy the creation of food from scratch. I think when we take the time to create a meal for our beloved ones, it gives us the peace of mind that our children are well fed there fore they will be strong.
    last time i visited Lebanon was 20 years ago, I went to Baalbeck my home town and to byblos my fother’s home town and spent couple weeks in Beirut at my sister’s house. I enjoyed two dishes in Lebanon, one was simple Falafel and the second one was Samaki harra (spicy fish).
    I was wondering if you have a recipe for Spicy fish the Lebanese way, i would appreciated.
    I wish you the best and wish one day to meet you as I said in my last email to you.

    • Maureen Abood on April 5, 2014 at 8:35 AM

      Samy, that is beautiful and I thank you for your wonderful words. I have a pan-seared snapper that is similar to the spicy fish in Lebanon–see it here:

  23. Linda on April 5, 2014 at 2:32 PM

    I recently purchased stuffed grape leaves (meatless) they were great. I make my own, however these (purchased) I was told has fresh tomatoes, any one know how to make these? thank you

    • Maureen Abood on April 5, 2014 at 3:32 PM

      Thanks Linda–the meatless are delicious and can be made a variety of ways. Here’s my recipe, which includes fresh tomatoes:

  24. Sean Rami Abass on April 14, 2014 at 5:25 PM

    Hi Maureen, I just read the Saveur Best Food Blog Awards. Congratulations. I’ve been planning on making Stuffed Grape leaves as I was driving yesterday, and after reading your blog decided that I must this week!
    I don’t have fresh leaves or even my favorite brand(Orlando).Ihave been taught by my Tita and Dad how to roll them. Grandma likes them too small compared to my father’s instructions. A little more filling. I have not tried a lamb or goat bone yet. I noticed no tomatoes(sliced on top instead of lemons). peeled garlic cloves to pack around the rolls, or cumin. 1/2 cup of lemon juice in the water makes it perfect for me. My wife, Fabiola and I love to eat the grape leaves that are from the bottom of the pot. I also like the tomatoes. I miss those times sitting down with dad(Rami),Grandma(Nadia) and my brother and sister(Brook and Nadia). Thanks again for Your sharing, Sean

    • Maureen Abood on April 15, 2014 at 7:21 AM

      Wonderful Sean–I love hearing about your family and their way in the kitchen! Thank you, and enjoy the grape leaves!

  25. valerie Solomon on May 11, 2014 at 4:54 PM

    Thank you for this…I made these for the first time in many years…I was just a wee one….

    • Maureen Abood on May 13, 2014 at 8:53 PM

      How special Valerie!

  26. Aminah ( ghazaleh) on August 5, 2014 at 12:01 AM

    My Beautiful family from Latakia use lamb mince, long grain rice, allspice and salt&pepper, garlic optionally a little finely chopped parsley and mint and you can add onion very very finely diced for extra flavour.. We saute ingredients with mince in samneh (ghee) or butter until the meat is browned then we let it cool( this is our filling) once cooled we stuff and roll the vine leaves which would be fresh blanched in salt water or prepared brined out of jar … We then put sear a few lamb shanks or neck or any lamb bone cuts.. Put a few to line bottom of a large pot.. Then place and stack stuffed leaves around the pot like a circle starting from outside toward in.. Placing a few whole garlic bulbs in the skin throughout ( this adds flavor and tastes fabulous when ready to serve) melting in ur mouth) then once u reach close to the top ( leaving room for a few more lamb bones) we place a few more lamb bone cuts on top… And cover with desired amount of lemon juice and water to cover then place a plate to keep in place and lid of pan.. Get temperature to the boil then put on low temp for 2-3 hrs.. Until rice in rolls is cooked .. Then serve squeezing a bit more lemon juice…Laban ( yoghurt) fresh Arabic bread and a salad ( tabbouleh) is great! 😉 you can alternatively stuff with a bourghol and herb mix or the above mix minus the meat.. Enjoy. Help the Syrian people during their sad and disastrous
    crisis.. And find a well known sponsor/ organisation to support and donate to for our people;) remember Allah kareem .. 😉

  27. Liz on August 14, 2014 at 6:38 PM

    Hi, is the 1 cup of long grain rice supposed to be cooked when you roll it in the leaves?

    • Maureen Abood on August 16, 2014 at 9:42 PM

      Hi Liz–that’s uncooked rice. Enjoy your grape leaves!

      • Jessica Camels on June 22, 2022 at 11:22 AM

        Nice story. I loved reading this story, brings me right back to when I was a youngster ad on rainy days in the kitchen making this dish as well as other platters. So invigorating and makes me hungry for these.

        • Maureen Abood on June 25, 2022 at 10:27 AM

          That’s beautiful, thank you!

  28. Labib Haddad on August 30, 2014 at 7:44 PM

    Thank you so much for sharing, I stumbled on your blog from a google search, and I bookmarked it and refer to it. I left Lebanon 25 years ago, but Lebanon didn’t leave me. I am always looking at recipes of dishes I use to enjoy back home to share with my family. Your blog is what I was looking for. I love the stories and recipes and the connection. Since I have relatives from Deir Mimas, this story caught my eye. I am walking to the kitchen to start cooking, grape leaves, Mujaddara (lentil and rice dish), as well as vegetarian green beans stew (lobbied bi zeit). Again, thank you for sharing.

    • Maureen Abood on September 1, 2014 at 11:55 AM

      Beautiful Labib, thank you so much!

  29. Adam Clarke on June 18, 2015 at 3:06 PM

    Thank you for sharing this story. Just stumbled upon it through google and am now obsessed with your blog. My family has had a Christmas time tradition of making grape leaves and Shish Barak since I was born (27 years ago). We actually your very small cuts of lamb (little fingernail size) instead of ground lamb. Although it requires much more effort, the tenderness of the lamb makes it worth it!

    Thanks again

    • Maureen Abood on June 25, 2015 at 9:11 AM

      Wonderful Adam, thank you for sharing!

  30. Charles Yousif on August 21, 2016 at 3:57 AM

    Dear Maureen
    I would like to share with you a much simpler method for preserving the leaves. I cut them fresh, stuff them in an empty 2-litre water plastic bottle, partially suck the air out and at the same time slightly crush the bottle to aid in emptying the air and quickly close it.
    The leaves keep their taste for years!! When needed, I cut open the plastic bottle with scissors or knif, wask the leaves and use them as normal.

  31. Erika on November 4, 2016 at 11:34 AM

    I love your writing and your recipes!

    Just to be clear, in your stuffing recipes (book and blog), the ground meat and the rice are *not* cooked prior to stuffing, but cookin the course of he simmering?

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Maureen Abood on November 7, 2016 at 12:22 PM

      Thanks Erika! Yes, the stuffing is raw, cooked as it’s simmered!

  32. Rachel Ramey on November 24, 2016 at 9:32 AM

    Thank you. Thanksgiving was always a mix of traditional Lebanese and American dishes with my dad’s side of the family. It doesn’t feel like the holidays without wariq 3ainab! Now that I live out of U.S. and far away from most of my family, keeping this tradition going means even more. I adore the stories and recipes here; thank you again for sharing.

    • Maureen Abood on November 27, 2016 at 9:51 PM

      Thanks so much Rachel!

  33. D. POKONOSKY on July 17, 2017 at 6:58 PM


    • Maureen Abood on July 18, 2017 at 7:14 AM

      Wonderful Dorothy!

  34. Paula on August 14, 2017 at 7:44 PM

    So happy for you D. Pokonosky. As a personal note my grandmother was from Aleppo my grandfather from Damascus, Syria.. I inherited their stuffed grape leaves recipe, and because of my grapevine, I make so many during the summer and freeze the leaves for the winter here in the Northeast. So grateful and proud of my heritage.

    • Maureen Abood on August 17, 2017 at 5:16 PM

      Amen Paula, thanks for sharing! And lucky you, with that recipe and vine!

  35. Laura on May 11, 2019 at 7:49 PM

    Hi Maureen
    I am Lebanese and Lebanese food is my all time favorite foods! I never learned how to cook from my Tita, but I have decided now that I have grown children, I want to learn. I want to share my heritage with any grandchildren I may have and also inspire my daughters to learn.
    I noticed in the video you use chicken stock and the recipe has water. How much chicken stock is used? How much lemon juice?

    Thank you

    • Maureen Abood on May 14, 2019 at 2:07 PM

      Hi Laura–thanks so much for this question. I now use a good cup or more of lemon juice to cook the grapeleaves, and the rest is chicken stock. I’ll mix the lemon juice with stock in a 4-cup measure and then add additional stock if needed to fill the pot. Keep cooking and learning and sharing–it’s such a blessing!!

  36. Janice Kahalley on June 24, 2019 at 10:11 AM

    Our family recipe calls for allspice, not cinnamon. I don’t see this in any other recipes I’ve looked at? They also used canned tomatoes (hand crushed) and a bit of tomato sauce in the filling. I don’t see this either usually. I’m always worried to change it up…


    • Andrea Palmer on July 12, 2022 at 12:02 AM

      Hi Janice! My family recipe also calls for crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce in the filling. I can’t imagine yebret (that’s what my family calls them) without tomatoes! I didn’t realize that tomatoes weren’t a standard ingredient until I looked at this recipe and a recipe in another cookbook.

  37. Jeannine Kadane Lee on January 6, 2020 at 1:30 PM

    I love seeing how the fillings of the grape leaves reflect family food tradition’s and (assuming) regional foods. I’ve been rolling and making them since I was a young girl. Learned from my parents. Our ingredients are: meat, rice, crushed garlic, cinnamon and mint, crushed tomatoes for added moisture to the mix. We also included a lamb shank or chop at the bottom of the pan and lined with lemons. So good. Just made some for New Year’s Eve to share w/ friends. Also made for my daughter in S. Carolina for Thanksgiving and found the best grape leaves – Raureni. Unfortunately, they’re not available in DFW (just San Antonio and Austin). Worth checking out.

    It’s always a joy to cook your recipes. Continued success to you in 2020.


    • Maureen Abood on January 7, 2020 at 12:46 PM

      Jeannine, your ingredients with the garlic and mint and tomatoes sounds divine. I’m going to try it. I love that you are making the grapeleaves for your family and dear friends! Lucky people. Great to know about Raureni, which I’ll be looking for…. Thanks so much and blessed new year to you and yours!

  38. Kebra Rios on July 1, 2020 at 7:25 PM

    Look at how many hearts you touch both through your words and amazing recipes/products!!!
    I put sliced potatoes on the bottom of my pan to keep the grape leaves from sticking. The potatoes are sooooo yummy to eat. (Worth fighting over to eat!)
    I have the perfect stone wall in my backyard to grow a grape vine. You inspire me to figure out how to make that happen.
    I’ve never been to Lebanon, and probably will never have the opportunity. I deeply treasure what you share…thank you.

    • Maureen Abood on July 2, 2020 at 7:58 AM

      Oh Kebra, how kind and special. Thank you so much. We are kindred spirits.

  39. Carol Abodeely on August 5, 2020 at 5:26 PM

    Yes, tears of many varieties especially after the devastating news of yesterday. I’m so glad you were able to make this trip. We had to cancel ours in May due to the pandemic.

  40. Cindy Dixon on July 21, 2021 at 6:08 PM

    My favorite memories is of walking into my situ’s house and seeing both a large pot of warak enab and mujadara, and fresh Manakish.! Thank you for evoking it again for me!

    • Maureen Abood on July 23, 2021 at 11:15 AM


  41. Norma Tomey on April 7, 2022 at 11:21 AM

    I do not eat meat but I love stuffed grape leaves. Instead I use garbanzo beans, lots of parsley, onions, salt pepper, rice not cooked, olive oil, freshly squezed lemon. Steam the dish in water , oo and lemon juice to cover the bottom of the pot. I put extra grape leaves on the bottom of the pot as well. High heat till the water starts to boil, reduce heat. With laban, what else do you need. I llove your recipes and stories reminds me when I spent summers with my situ. Thanks you.

    • Maureen Abood on April 8, 2022 at 4:58 PM

      That’s a beautiful recipe Norma! Similar to one I make, very delicious and I don’t miss the meat! Thank you for your kind words, our memories are as special as our food and the two are interconnected in a deep way.

  42. Andrea Palmer on July 12, 2022 at 12:09 AM

    Maureen, this beautiful post made me cry. Looking at the pictures of your relatives puts me in mind of my Sittee. She had that Lebanese look: the heavy brows, the curl-wavy hair, the big eyes, the distinct tilt of the nose and cheeks. And above all, the radiant happiness, generosity, and puckish sense of humor that shone in every interaction. Your post made me remember her and the summer afternoons my cousins and I would spend picking grape leaves for her — she paid us 1 cent per leaf!

    • Maureen Abood on July 19, 2022 at 2:46 PM

      Andrea…thanks so very much, what a beautiful note and a beautiful Sittee. Blessings indeed.

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Maureen Abood in the kitchen

I'm so glad you're here! You'll find among these pages the fresh and classic Lebanese recipes we can't get enough of! My mission is to share my tried + true recipes -- and to help our Lebanese food-loving community keep these culinary traditions alive and on the table. What recipes are you looking for? Let me know!

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