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Vegetarian Stuffed Grape Leaves (Waraq Ainab)


Growing up in a Middle eastern household, stuffed grape leaves were a staple on a dinner table especially for occasions. These are called waraq ainab or dawali in Arabic but they are known in different countries by other names.
I can’t tell you how much I enjoy eating these! At first, I used to think they were such a hassle to make but they really aren’t once you get the hang of things. Plus, it tastes amazing so it is definitely worth the effort!

Grape leaves can be stuffed with various fillings. The most popular are minced meat with rice and spices or minced vegetables with rice and spices. I love both but definitely favor the veggie hence why I am sharing the recipe with you all!

There is a nice tang from the lemon and pomegranate molasses. Also, who doesn’t love vegetables and rice cooked for hours. The grape leaves literally melt in your mouth. It’s so good!

I show you step by step how to make them because sometimes the technical parts are the hardest. Hope you enjoy!


One jar of Rinsed Grape Leaves (Orlando or Al Afia brand work well or 1 lb of fresh grape leaves

Stuffing Mix

2 cups uncooked white rice, soaked and drained

1 bunch of parsley

2 Roma tomatoes

1 red bell pepper

1 onion

3 garlic cloves

1/2 cup olive oil

Juice of 1.5 lemon’s

1 1/2 tbsp all spice

1 tbsp pomegranate molasses

1 tbsp dried mint

1 tbsp shatta

1 tbsp tomato paste

Salt  to taste (Salt a decent amount-it will bring out the flavors)

Cooking Liquid Mix for Grape Leaves

3 cups water

1 bouillon cube

1/2-1 lemon’s juice

1 1/2 tbsp tomato paste

Drizzle of pomegranate molasses

2 tbsp olive oil

Salt & Pepper to taste

2 cardamom seeds


  • Mix the ingredients of the liquid all together but adding the cardamon last. Taste it to see if it needs more salt or lemon.



  • In a food processor, add the vegetables other than the tomatoes and pulse a few times until fine. Then, add the tomatoes and pulse 2-3 times. Mix all the stuffing ingredients together in a large bowl. 
  • If using fresh grape leaves, soak the grape leaves in hot water for 5-10 minutes in a large pot over medium heat, drain them and then trim of stems if necessary. If using jarred, then thoroughly rinse the leaves before using.
  • To stuff the grape leaves, lay one grape leaf on working surface with the shiny side facing down. You will add the rice stuffing to the rigid side. Add about 2 tsp depending on size of grape leave across of the leaf above the stem.
  • Fold the bottom of the leaf up over the stuffing, and then fold over the sides of the leaf onto the stuffing.
  • Roll up the leaves making sure that the sides are tucked in as you go. Roll somewhat tightly; you don’t want the rice falling out when the grape leaves cook.
  • Line the bottom of a big pot with extra grape leaves, slices of tomato and or slices of potato. You can also add pieces of thin steak meat to the bottom as well.
  • Start stacking the grape leaves on top of whatever you choose to line the bottom of the pot. Make sure they are tightly packed leaving no room for them busting open while cooking. 
  • Pour the liquid mix over the grape leaves after they are stacked. Place a fitting plate on top of the grape leaves. Make sure the liquid is covering the grape leaves entirely. If not, add more water to do so.
  • Bring to boil over high heat, then cover the pot and let it simmer on low to medium heat for 2-2 1/2 hours till rice is tender. You can test one at about 2 hours in.
  • Once slightly cooled, flip over the pot onto a large serving plate or just take them out gently from the pot one by one. Whatever you are more comfortable with.
  • Serve with some salad and/or yogurt with a side of lemon wedges.



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  1. Best grape leaves EVER I ate like 20 lol I the flavor is so delicious and tangy, it’s so simple to make but the flavors are just amazing. Best food blogger out there I swear all of the recipes I’ve tried from you come out amazing and I can’t say the same about other bloggers so keep up the good work!! ❤️❤️❤️

  2. My new go to recipe ! We loved it and I did it about 4 times already ! Every recipe I Tried is sooo good . I tried the stuffed bell peppers and that was off the hook as well ! And that’s why I want to do each and every recipe of yours ! Thank you for your time and for helping us to learn ! Can’t ask for a better cook !

  3. Haifa’s tagline on her website is “Where Delicious Food Is Made Easy!” and really, that is no lie. I’ve always been afraid of making grape leaves, it’s a staple in an Arab house…but man, oh, man was this easy. Hardest part (well let me use the word “time consuming”) is the rolling. But I put on a good show and rolled up a jar of grape leaves in two episodes 🙂 . Haifa inspired me to make these when she posted it on her IG page, and I made the next day. Absolutely delicious! The flavors of this, especially the burnt potato (those are the best part), where phenomenal. My mother taught me to make this with just the meat and rice, but all the extras and flavors really brought this to life. I would make this daily if I could. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  4. These are absolutely delicious! Best grape leaves recipe I’ve ever tried honestly! Simple, easy and flavor packed! Thank you for sharing this gem of a recipe, it’s the kind you pass down generations! I need your book in my life! Will definitely be trying out more of your recipes!

  5. This recipe was delicious! My whole family devoured these and the step by step on how to roll the leaves really helped!

  6. Such a tasty recipe! I love the way you lay out the ingredients and step by step directions! You have such a passion for what you do and it really is displayed in your work!

  7. I wish I could give this recipe 30 stars. I’ve been wanting to make grape leaves for years now but everyone warned me how difficult it was. This was so easy, and having tried hundreds of varieties of grape leaves in my life, this is EXACTLY how I like them) tangy and full of flavour and so delicious. I’m floating I’m so happy! Thank you for this incredible recipe. As usual, you don’t miss.

  8. AMAZING recipe. So easy to follow!!! My family said these were the BEST stuffed grape leaves they had ever had.
    Thank you Heifa for another perfect recipe!!

  9. This is the best grape leaves recipe ever ! It’s so tangy and so good especially with the red bell peppers. I substituted shatta for jalapeños and it was good . Thanks for the recipe !

  10. They are always a hit when I make them, especially when having guests. Was always intimidated and never wanted to make it but when I found this recipe with exact step by step instructions and measurements it made it so much easier and reassuring, especially when you never made it. Juicy, tangy and so delicious- a must try!

  11. I criticize my mom all the time for making her grape leaves so blandly lol your recipe is just incredible. Probably the only recipe I now proudly make better than my mom 😂

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