Christmas Dinner GRAPELEAVES Style

My favorite food, right here… Mahshi (in Arabic), stuffed grapeleaves and squash/zucchini, sometimes tomatoes and eggplant. I don’t know what it is about it but it is all so good, especially when smothered in yogurt.

So whenever I am around my mom, this is the dish I request! My mom is from New York but learned how to cook Middle Eastern food from one of the best cooks, my grandma; in this was birthed my great love for food! 🙂

My family is in DC visiting for some Christmas time fun so I requested they come stay at my house for one night to meet my DC family as well as experience at least one night in the city since they’re mostly staying out in VA with my brother. Fortunately, Larry and Michelle, the DC part of the family, share my love for food and Michelle requested to make the grapeleaves with my mom so there was a small training session.

Mom Prepping

So as you can see in the bowl, you start with making the filling. We used ground beef (lamb can also be used) and then mix it in the bowl with the rice and other good stuff such as olive oil, cinnamon, nutmeg and more! To get a more specific recipe, I’ll have to ask my mom to write it down…

Rice and Meat


And then you can add some of the inside of the carved out tomato…

Tomato Inners

So after you mash up this filling, you can now stuff your grapeleaves, squash, zucchini, tomato, eggplant, coconut (joking). But hey, whatever you want.

Here is our family relied-upon brand:

Orlando Brand

Found at your local Middle Eastern grocery! Which by the way, is kind of hard to find in DC. I would have thought there would have been a lot. I only know of one legit Lebanese place in the District, Shemali’s, in Northwest DC, by American U. And the family that owns it is really nice. However, (as everything in DC), it is pricier than usual. In our case, we happened to find a grocery in Vienna/Fairfax that was pretty sizable, Al Nakheel.

So let the wrapping and stuffing begin! My dad cut the stems and my Mom and Michelle began to wrap/stuff.

Raw GrapeleavesMom wrapping Dad Cutting Michelle wrappingAnd then you come out with this before it goes into the pressure cooker…

Plate of Stuffed Wrapped stuff

You then stack it with garlic and other goodness in this contraption:

Pressure Cooker

Aaand voila… you come out with this tasty goodness:

Plate of cooked grape leaves Side view of plateAnd my sister contributed the dish, from my amazing Armenian Grandma, Salad-Rus (Russian Salad). My sister made one of the best ones I’ve had and she said she just winged it basically… so I’m glad to say it is in the blood!

Salad-RusOh so I guess that may look weird to some; it is just a egg/potato salad combined. It is really good and very satisfying!

And then Michelle also provided some good sides: Tabouleh (store bought, no time to make fresh but really good none the less), prosciutto with crackers and some kind of delicious muffaletta spread.

Tabouleh Crackers and Prosciutto

Oh and add some chicken to that,


And like any other Arab meal, good food is no good without a great family to share it with!

Jenn Mom and Annabelle


6 thoughts on “Christmas Dinner GRAPELEAVES Style

    • They were very delicious! 🙂 Actually, you don’t have to use a plate on top of them. You just fill up the pressure cooker then put some spices in, fill close to the top with water and then cook! Not too bad!

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