These Keto Lebanese Stuffed Grape Leaves are made with spiced ground beef and cauliflower rice! In Arabic, it is called “warak enab” (leaves of grapes) and is traditionally stuffed with rice and meat or rice and veggies. In this recipe we cook these stuffed grape leaves in the Instant Pot to speed up the cooking process but keep all of the flavour.
How to Roll Warak Enab:
Grape leaves can be very fragile (especially the jarred ones) but with some practice, you’ll find that they’re very easy to roll. It’s just like rolling a burrito! If you break or rip any leaves in the process, you can always set them aside and use them for layering the bottom of your pot (this will prevent the stuffed grape leaves from burning).
Cut off the stem of the grape leaf.
Place 2-3 tsp of filling onto the grape leaf (depending on the size of the leaf). Typically you would add only 1 tsp of filling to the grape leaf to allow the rice to expand. Since we aren’t using rice, we can add more filling, being careful not to break the leaf.
Firmly roll up the bottom of the grape leaf.
Fold in Both Sides of the Leaf.
Tightly Roll up the Warak Enab.
How to Assemble the Stuffed Grape Leaves in the Pot:
Place a few grape leaves with some olive oil at the bottom of the pot or Instant Pot Mesh Steamer Basket. This is the perfect place to use the broken grape leaves.
Tightly place the stuffed grape leaves in the pot. This works best if you can place the dolmades in the same direction, switching directions for the next layer. Place sliced tomatoes and onion on top of each layer.
Put a plate on top of the grape leaves. This will secure the dolma so that they don’t unravel during the cooking process.
A Note on the Cooking Method:
Normally when you cook stuffed grape leaves, you need a lot of water in order to cook the rice. I prefer using chicken or vegetable broth because it adds more flavor. For our keto stuffed grape leaves we use cauliflower rice as a substitute. While the cauliflower doesn’t need so much water to cook, we find that fully covering the stuffed grape leaves with broth adds so much flavor to the warak enab. The broth is also necessary because it softens the grape leaves during the cooking process. The only issue is that none of the water or broth is absorbed during the cooking process.
When the stuffed grape leaves are done cooking, you’ll be left with a lot of water in the pot. The best way to drain the water is with the Instant Pot Mesh Steamer Basket. If you do not have this accessory, another method is to hold the plate tightly to the stuffed grape leaves and tip the pot into a strainer, being careful not to drop any grape leaves. The plate and water will still be very hot, so this is best done with a silicone oven mitt (waterproof and heat resistant).Once you are done straining the liquid, it is very important to let the grape leaves rest for 15-30 minutes. If you pick up the dolmades right away, they are more likely to fall apart. Letting them rest will allow them to set and prevent them from unraveling.
If you do not have an instant pot or pressure cooker, you can cook the stuffed grape leaves on the stovetop in a large Dutch oven for 30-40 minutes on medium heat. Cover the stuffed grape leaves with water or broth and place a plate on top to prevent them from unraveling.
Where to Buy Grape Leaves
Depending on where you live, you can easily find jarred grape leaves at most grocery stores. If they are not available at your local grocery, look for a specialty grocery carrying Middle Eastern products. You can also easily find grape leaves online! Find grape leaves online in Canada here. Find grape leaves online in the US here.
What to Serve with Lebanese Stuffed Grape Leaves?
You can enjoy these as an appetizer or as a main dish. You can serve these with a main dish or even our Keto Lebanese Stuffed Zucchini in Yogurt (Kousa Bil Laban).
Can I Freeze Lebanese Stuffed Grape Leaves?
Yes! We suggest cooking the stuffed grape leaves first and freezing for up to 3 months. Store them in an airtight container to maintain the freshness.
Stuffed Grape Leaves Pro Tip
Preparing stuffed grape leave is a lengthy process. It can feel tedious to prepare these but the end result is so worth it! To save time, gather a group of friends to help prepare the stuffed grape leaves. To save even more time, prepare the filling a day in advance.
Keto Lebanese Stuffed Grape Leaves (Warak Enab)
- Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker
- Instant Pot Mesh Steamer Basket Optional
- Optional: Large dutch oven (stovetop method). See cooking notes above.
- 750 grams Ground Beef
- 500 grams Frozen Cauliflower Rice Steamed and Drained.
- 1 jar Grape Leaves 400g Drained Weight, Stems Trimmed. Recipe uses approx. 2/3 of jar.
- 150 grams Diced White Onions
- 2 tbsp Tomato Paste
- 3 tsp Lebanese 7 Spice Or All Spice.
- 2 tsp Sumac
- 1 tsp Dried Mint
- 1 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp Turmeric
- 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
- 3-4 cups Chicken Broth Or Water.
- 6 cups Chicken Broth, Vegetable Broth or Water
- 1/3 cup Olive Oil
- 3 tbsp Tomato Paste
- Juice of 1 Lemon
- 1/2 Sliced White Onion
- 2-3 Sliced Tomatoes
- To start, steam the cauliflower in the microwave according to the package directions. Allow to cool and squeeze out excess moisture with a kitchen towel.
- Prepare the filling by mixing together all of the filling ingredients - cauliflower rice, ground beef, diced white onions, tomato paste and spices.
- Separate and lay the grape leaves flat and cut off the stem.
- Add about 1-2 tbsp of the mixture to the grape leaf (depending on the size of the grape leaf) and roll tightly (like a burrito!).
- Method 1 (Without Steam Basket): Layer the bottom of the pot with some oil and a few grape leaves to prevent the stuffed grape leaves from burning. Method 2 (With Steam Basket) Preferred Method: Place a few grape leaves on the steam basket.
- Arrange the grape leaves in the pot tightly, filling the bottom of the pot (or steam basket). Top the row with sliced tomatoes and onions. Repeat layering the stuffed grape leaves in the opposite direction. Repeat until complete.
- Mix the chicken broth, tomato paste, olive oil and lemon juice. Pour mixture over the stuffed grape leaves.
- Top the stuffed grape leaves with a plate. This will secure the grape leaves and keep them from unraveling during the cooking process.
- Set the instant pot to high pressure and cook for 25 minutes. Once the grape leaves are done cooking, allow for a natural release, approx. 15 minutes.
- Removing the Stuffed Grape Leaves:Method 1 (Without Steam Basket): If you have a silicone oven mitt (waterproof and heat proof) - Hold the plate tightly to the grape leaves, strain the liquid from the pot, being careful not to drop any grape leaves. Method 2 (With Steam Basket) (Preferred Method): Carefully lift the basket with the dolmades to strain the liquid. Remove from the instant pot and set aside.Method 3: Use tongs to remove the grape leaves. Be very careful with this method as the stuffed grape leaves are more unlikely to unroll.
- Let the grape leaves sit for 15-20 minutes to set and slightly cool so that they do not unravel when eating.
- 51 Calories
- 1.6 Carbohydrates
- 0.8g Fiber
- 3.5g Fat
- 3.7g Protein
Let us know in the comments below if you’ve tried our Keto Lebanese Stuffed Grape Leaves. If you liked this recipe, try our Keto Greek Dolmades, Keto Middle Eastern Stuffed Onions, Keto Lebanese Stuffed Zucchini in Yogurt (Kousa Bil Laban)! Find all of our keto and low carb recipes on our recipe page.