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Shared by Svetlana Davydov and her Granddaughter Elena

Stuffed Vegetables and Grape Leaves

Yield: 4-6 servingsTime: 1 hour active plus 1 hour 30 minutes inactive

Stuffed Vegetables and Grape Leaves

Yield: 4-6 servingsTime: 1 hour active plus 1 hour 30 minutes inactive

Family Journey

Tashkent, UzbekistanQueens, New York City
Long Island, New York

This recipe was shared by Svetlana Davydov and her granddaughter Elena. Read more about their family in "Pelmeni, Samsa, and More Uzbek Recipes From a Bukharian Grandmother" and try their recipes for pelmeni, plov (rice pilaf), and manti (Uzbek dumplings).


  • 3 large zucchini
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup rice, rinsed and drained
  • 1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
  • 3 tomatoes, 1 peeled and finely chopped and 2 hollowed out
  • 1 ½ large sweet onions, 1 thinly sliced and ½ small diced
  • 3 ½ teaspoons salt, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 3 bell peppers, top and seeds removed
  • 6-8 grape leaves, rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ⅓ pound beef chuck, cubed
  • ½ cup canned tomato sauce
SukkotCooking ProjectsMeat Gluten Free


  • Step 1

    Cut the zucchinis into 3 pieces lengthwise and hollow out the insides with a spoon, leaving a bit of flesh on one end so that the rice mixture does not fall out. Finely chop the zucchini insides and set aside in a bowl for later use.

  • Step 2

    Mix in the ground beef, rice, cilantro, chopped tomato, diced onion, 1½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper and ⅓ cup water in a large bowl. 

  • Step 3

    Stuff the vegetables and grape leaves: Stuff each of the bell peppers, zucchinis and tomatoes with the beef and rice filling. Place a grape leaf onto a clean surface. Lay out about 2 tablespoons of the filling in the bottom third of the grape leaf, spreading into a 3½-inch line. Fold the right and left sides of the grape leaf to meet the ends of the line of rice, then tightly roll up the leaf from the bottom up, making a tight package. Continue stuffing the grape leaves until you have used all of your filling.

  • Step 4

    Heat ½ cup of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Place the sliced onion into the pot and cook until nearly translucent. Add in the cubed meat, 1 teaspoon salt, zucchini insides and tomato sauce. Cook for 2-4 minutes while stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low. 

  • Step 5

    Carefully layer in the stuffed vegetables. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon salt and pour ¼ cup water over the vegetables. Place an upside-down plate directly onto the stuffed vegetables, and then cover the pot with a lid. 

  • Step 6

    Continue cooking on an active simmer over medium-low heat for at least 1 hour. The stuffed vegetables and grape leaves are done when the rice is cooked through and the vegetables are tender.