Lebanese Roasted Stuffed Onions

Lebanese Roasted Stuffed Onions Recipe

At the beginning of our Winter growing season, we planted a short row of onions in the raised bed. I’ve been using the long stalks as “green onions”, just clipping what I need. Some of the stalks grew over 3 feet long, and so we had green onions galore so far all year. They taste the same!

Lebanese Roasted Stuffed Onions Recipe

Since I use green onions (or scallions, as some say) almost every day in my cooking, it’s so convenient to go outside and cut a single long leaf ย to use in a dish. In fact, I had forgotten that the plant was actually developing a sweet onion underneath the soil until my a few days ago. My parents have been visiting us, and when Dad went out into the garden, he came back with several onions the size of baseballs.

Lebanese Roasted Stuffed Onions Recipe

The garden onions have been used all week long – Mom has been cooking every day and we’ve had Chinese Fried Rice, Vegetable Soup with Papaya, Firm Tofu with Preserved Radish, Lemongrass Pork, Chinese Sausage and Boiled Chicken with Garlic and Ginger Sauce. My house smells very “Chinese”!

Lebanese Roasted Stuffed Onions Recipe

I’ll be posting some homestyle Chinese recipes from Mom soon. In the meantime, I’ve got a recipe for Lebanese Roasted Stuffed Onions from a book called, The Food and Cooking of the Middle East. The onion is boiled for a few minutes until the layers are soft and pliable. The layers are gently taken apart, stuffed with ground meat (try ground lamb!), warming spices like allspice, cinnamon and coriander, basmati rice and then then roasted. What a nice surprise to open up a rolled onion to find a savory, meaty filling!

Lebanese Roasted Stuffed Onions Recipe

What I loved about this dish was that each “stuffed” onion just uses a single layer of onion and that the presentation was so beautiful.

Lebanese Roasted Stuffed Onions Recipe Video



Lebanese Roasted Stuffed Onions

Servings: 10 stuffed onions Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 45 minutes

Try buying the largest onions you can find. It will be easier to peel apart the layers. As you can see in the video, my onion was rather large! This recipe comes from The Food and Cooking of the Middle East cookbook by Ghillie Basan.


2 extra-large onions (or 3 large onions)
1 cup white rice
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro or parsley (reserve some for garnish)
1 pound ground meat of your choice (original recipe uses lamb)
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar or cider vinegar
3 pinches of sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil


The first step is to soak your rice in a bowl cool water. The rice will absorb some of the water -- we'll drain off the water in a later step.

Fill a pot with water (enough to cover a whole onion by 1" and bring to a boil. Cut off the very top and bottom of each onion. Make a cut down one side of each of the onions, cutting into the center from top to bottom. This helps the onion layers cook evenly and make it easier to peel. Add the onions, and let them cook for 10 minutes or until the layers soften and separate easily.

Drain the rice completely. In a large mixing bowl, add the drained rice, tomato paste, cinnamon, allspice, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, cilantro or parsley and ground meat. Mix well.

When the onions have finished cooking, remove and drain from the boiling water. Let cool and separate out the layers individually and place 1 heaping tablespoon of the filling, wrap onion around filling, but not too tightly to allow rice to expand during cooking.

In a large, oven-safe saute pan over medium-high heat, swirl in the olive oil. When pan is hot, place the onions seam-side down. Let cook for 2 minutes until the bottoms have browned slightly. Add vinegar to the pan and sprinkle the tops of the onions with sugar. Cover the pan and turn the heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes or until the meat and rice are fully cooked, rotating the onions halfway during cooking.


Steamy Kitchen's Healthy Asian Favorites cookbook cover

My new cookbook is available for purchase now wherever books are sold!

You can also pick up a copy on Amazon for $13.98!



Did not load Widget Area 5

Comments 30

  1. FoodJunkie

    This sounds really good Jaden, roasted onions have a lovely sweet flavour that must go really nicely with the filling. Plus I have this big bag of largish onions in need of using.

  2. Chris

    I was in Lebanon this week and never saw this dish. Then again, that was Lebanon, TN just outside of Nashville, which probably explains a lot ๐Ÿ˜‰

    These sound and look great, Jaden! I LOVE stuffed bell peppers and these are pretty close to that. I’m glad you used beef instead of lamb.

  3. Mike Wascher

    That looks delicious! I’ve never run across this dish before, I’ll have to try it. Though with beef (Jean doesn’t like lamb).

  4. Cassie

    These look so good! I’m planning on making these for dinner this week. In the video you put in parsley, but you don’t have it listed in your ingredients. How much parsley do we need? Thanks!

  5. Salayna

    Jaden thanks so much for this recipe. I made them this evening using brown rice and ground turkey. My son couldn’t believe that I was using onion as a wrap and was not to thrilled…. even he loved them. Next time I will add some dried cranberries to give it another dimension of flavour. GREAT recipe!

  6. Alex

    What a nice dish!
    I have a question though – do you need to add water to the pan?
    If not – where the liquid for cooking the rice come from?
    Definitely will try that, thanks again!

    1. SteamyKitchen

      There is enough liquid (and fat) in the meat that the rice cooks perfectly. In fact, you really don’t need a lot of water to cook rice. Most rice is “boiled” – but did you know that you can “steam” rice too?

  7. Faleen Fedol

    These stuffed onions looks delicious and the video makes them seem even easier to prepare. Thank you.

  8. Alex

    Thank you for your answer!
    I never use parboiled rice – it just doesn’t taste the same.
    Fat alone won’t cook rice, as for the liquid in meat…
    I’ll try as it was written here.
    Thank you for sharing this recipe with us!

  9. CC

    have you tried this recipe in the oven, rather than stove top? I’d love to see if it would work that way too

  10. Lynne M

    Wow. This dish looks interesting and delicious. I did not know that rice could be able to cook in just 20 minutes. Anyway, I would love to try this lebanese roasted stuffed onions recipe because I love the taste of onions. Thanks for sharing this recipe and the video is very informative.

  11. Alfredo

    Is that an induction cooktop? Is that an aluminum pan? I just bought one and I thought you couldn’t use aluminum pans on them…

  12. Pingback: Lunatic Loves May 1 | Cravings of a Lunatic

  13. Caroline

    Ugh! I am cooking these now. They have been cooling for about 45 mins and the rice is crunchy. ๐Ÿ™ What did I do wrong?

  14. Gloria

    I am making the recipe now, and just sampled a small roll. It was delicious!!! I followed the directions, but I threw a bag of Success rice into the onion water after I decided they were cooked enough to handle well. I left the onoins and the bag of rice in the water and covered the pan and let it sit while I went to wait in line to mail my income tax returns. When I returned, I assembled the filling, ran the rice under cold water so I wouldn’t be putting warm rice in ground turkey, proceeded to fill the onions! Later, I am going out for more onions!!!! This is a great recipe! I also enjoy your other recipes. Yours is one of my favorite blogs!!!! Thank you.

  15. Kendra

    I made this tonight with hubby at vacation rental. I have to say, one of the best recipes on Pinterest. I can’t wait to share with our family. Will make over and over. It was very easy to put together as well. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Post
  16. Brenda

    Love it love it. Easy to make everybody has tryed it . want it everyday even my son who does not like anything wants it all the time. Can make enough husband wants it for lunch daily. Can keep up. I think he’s selling it. Lol thanks .

  17. Dean

    Tasty with good flavor, we’ll make again, but I must have done something wrong. The rice was crunchy and the hamburger was dry. Maybe a hamburger with more fat and instant rice? I plan on trying again.

  18. Anna Nismiya

    Last day made this recipe with some alterations…even my son who does not like anything wants it againโ€ฆ..My family loved your recipe from Moon and to the back.

    Eagerly waiting for your recipes to share here……..!

  19. gg

    I would love to make this but as vegetarian. What are your thoughts of using an extra firm tofu instead of the meat? Also should I add more liquid when doing this? Thank you!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *