Go Back
+ servings
stapled vine leaf rolls on lemon slices on a plate

Fish Stuffed Vine Leaves

Aromatic fish stuffed vine leaves with bacon cubes, rice, and herbs, this is one of my favorite ways of filling vine leaves.
Course Fish
Cuisine Romanian
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 2 -3
Calories 244kcal
Author Adina


  • 30 g/ 1 oz/ 1/8 cup short-grain rice
  • 30-35 vine leaves from a jar Note 1
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 250 g/ 8.8 oz white fish fillet pangasius for instance (Note 2)
  • 50 g/ 1.7 oz bacon
  • 3 teaspoons dried breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dill
  • ½ teaspoons sweet paprika powder
  • a few gratings of nutmeg
  • 250 ml/ 8.5 fl.oz/ 1 cup vegetable broth or chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • a good sprinkle of dried dill seeds optional
  • fine sea salt and ground pepper


Vine leaves:

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil. Carefully, unroll the vine leaves if they are rolled into a small bundle. Place in the water and simmer gently for about 3 or 4 minutes. Drain well and leave until cool enough to handle.


  • Place the rice into a cup and cover it with boiling water from the kettle. Leave to soak while you prepare the rest.
  • Chop the onion very finely. Heat the olive oil in a small pan and cook the onion until softer, about 3-5 minutes. Leave to cool slightly in a larger bowl.
  • Chop the fish and the bacon very very finely or process them shortly in the food processor.
  • Add to the bowl together with the dried breadcrumbs, drained rice, herbs, sweet paprika powder, nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste.


  • Place a vine leaf on the working surface. Add about 2 teaspoons of the filling (depending on the size of your leaf) in the middle-lower part of the leaf.
  • Fold the left and right sides of the leaf over the filling, then form a roll, starting to roll at the base of the parcel.
  • Place the roll with the seam facing down in a small ovenproof cooking pot.
  • Repeat until you have used all the filling, arranging the rolls nicely and tightly in the dish.


  • Heat the broth or stock. Whisk in the tomato paste and pour the liquid over the vine leaf rolls, they should be barely covered with liquid. Add the bay leaves, peppercorns, and dried dill seeds to the pot.
  • Cover well, bring to a boil, turn the heat down and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • In the meantime, preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/ 360 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Remove the lid from the pot and bake the vine leaf rolls for 15 minutes.
  • Serve with Greek yogurt and crusty white bread or boiled potatoes.



  1. I was able to fill 26 vine leaf rolls with this filling. Prepare some more vine leaves than actually needed, some will break and some will be too small for filling. In such a case, use two vine leaves to form one roll. Just place the two leaves over each other in order to cover the broken parts or enlarge the “leaf”.
  2. My frozen pangasius weighed 340 g/ 12 oz when frozen, I weighed it again after it was thawed and it only weighed 250 g/ 8.8 oz.


Serving: 6-7 rolls | Calories: 244kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 56mg | Sodium: 921mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g