Lebanese Stuffed cabbage rolls

Lebanese Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

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Lebanese Stuffed Cabbage Rolls is a dish made with blanched cabbage leaves, stuffed with seasoned ground beef, tomatoes and rice; Simmered in a rich tangy tomato sauce and topped with garlic cloves. If you love my Lebanese Stuffed Zucchini Recipe, you should try these Stuffed Cabbage Rolls. The recipe uses the same stuffing, but with cabbage leaves instead of zucchinis.

Lebanese Stuffed cabbage rolls

 

Lebanese Stuffed Cabbage Rolls!

OK, I have to admit… My mom in law makes the best Lebanese Stuffed Cabbage Rolls in the world! This has always been my favorite recipe. And here, I confidently share with you my mother in law’s my recipe for stuffed cabbage rolls! In Arabic, we call this recipe Mahshi Malfouf , which translates stuffed cabbage in English. 

Lebanese stuffed cabbage rolls- mahshi malfouf

How to Make Lebanese Cabbage Rolls- Mahshi Malfouf:

(Scroll down to recipe card for a printable option and exact the ingredients.)

  • The first step is to prepare your cabbage, by carving out around the root and removing it, making sure to go as deep as you can. Carving the root out allows the cabbage leaves to loosen up easily.

preparing cabbage for boiling

  • Then bring a large pot of water to boil, then add the carved head of cabbage and let it sit there for a eight to ten minutes on a each side. Then, using tongs, start to dislodge the cabbage leaves by lifting them away from the head and removing them one by one. If you come across a leaf that looks hard/rigid, leave it in the water for a few more minutes to soften, which will make it easier to roll.
  • Place cabbage leaves in colander to drain.

malfouf

  • Meanwhile, prepare the stuffing mixture. In a large mixing bowl, add all the stuffing ingredients (ground beef, rice, salt, spices, butter, and diced tomatoes (I blend mine in the food processor) and mix thoroughly until well combined. Set aside. 

cabbage roll stuffing mixture

  • Next, prepare the cabbage leaves by cutting out the thick rib in the middle using a knife in a triangular shape. Save the cut out ribs to place at the bottom of pot.* See picture below. 

blanched cabbage leaves

  • Then cut each leaf into two equal halves. 
  • Lay each cabbage leaf on a smooth surface. Add about 1-2 tablespoons of stuffing to each leaf, depending on the size. Spread the stuffing across the leaf leaving 1/2 an inch of space on both edges. 

how to roll malfouf

  • Roll the cabbage leaf around the meat mixture. Don’t worry about folding the sides over, cabbage leaves don’t need that because they’re rigid and won’t leak any of the filling.

malfouf

  • Place the stuffed roll at the bottom of the pan, over the cabbage ribs, if you’d like. 
  • Repeat with remaining meat mixture and cabbage leaves. 
  • Add garlic gloves on top of the rolled cabbages. (You can cut garlic cloves in half or make them into thinner slices). 

Lebanese stuffed cabbage rolls

  • Thin tomato paste and a sprinkle of salt with water (about 2 cups) and pour over the stuffed cabbages. You can also add a can of diced tomato sauce if you’d like and reduce the amount of water. The liquid should barely cover the rolls. 
  • Cover the pot and cook over medium-high heat. Bring it to a boil, reduce heat to low and let it simmer for about 45-55 mins or until cabbage is tender and meat is cooked through.

Lebanese stuffed cabbage rolls

  • Serve with fresh squeezed lemon juice and enjoy. 

malfouf mahshi

Tips for Making Lebanese Malfouf: 

  • Pick a medium size head of cabbage so you have large leaves to work with and extra leaves just in case.
  • Don’t skip the step to boil the cabbage.  It really makes all the difference when it comes to rolling these guys. It is almost impossible to roll a cabbage leaf that has not been blanched, since cabbage tends to be stiff. 
  • The ground beef does not need to be precooked.
  • If you’re boiling the whole head of cabbage- slice the root end off about a 1/2 – 3/4’s inch up.  This will make it easier to remove the leaves. 

Can I Make Vegetarian Middle Eastern Stuffed Cabbage: 

You can easily make these stuffed cabbage rolls vegetarian by substituting the ground beef for a parsley, tomato, mint and onion mixture. It’s the same stuffing I use for my Vegetarian Stuffed Grape Leaves and Vegetarian Stuffed Swiss Chard Rolls. You can also substitute the beef for chickpeas. 

Lebanese cabbage malfouf

More Authentic Lebanese Recipes: 

Vegan Stuffed Swiss Chard Rolls

Lahm bi Ajeen- Lebanese Meat Pies

Vegetarian Stuffed Grape Leaves 

Spinach Pies

Red Lentil Mujadara

If you try this Lebanese Cabbage Roll recipe, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #thesaltandsweetkitchen on Instagram ?

Lebanese Stuffed Cabbage Rolls Recipe

Lebanese Stuffed cabbage rolls

Lebanese Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes

This authentic Lebanese Stuffed cabbage rolls is a dish made with blanched cabbage leaves, stuffed with seasoned ground beef, tomatoes and rice; simmered in a rich tomato sauce and garlic cloves.A comfort food classic that's hearty, delicious and simple to make

Ingredients

For the Cabbage

  • 1 medium size green cabbage (pick one with tender leaves)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Boiling water- for blanching the head of cabbage

Stuffing Ingredients

  • 1 pound lean ground  beef- I use 90 % lean
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground all spice
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 1 cup medium grain rice- soaked, rinsed and drained 
  • 4 ripe tomatoes- blended on food processor

Non- Stuffing Ingredients

  • 5-8 garlic cloves- Sliced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste- thinned in water
  • 1 small can- diced tomatoes- optional

Instructions

    To prepare cabbage:

  1. The first step is to prepare your cabbage, by carving out around the root and removing it, making sure to go as deep as you can. Carving the root out allows the cabbage leaves to loosen up easily.
  2. Then bring a large pot of water and salt to boil, then add the carved head of cabbage and let it sit there for a eight to ten minutes on a each side. Then, using tongs, start to dislodge the cabbage leaves by lifting them away from the head and removing them one by one. If you come across a leaf that looks hard/rigid, leave it in the water for a few more minutes to soften, which will make it easier to roll.
  3. Place cabbage leaves in colander to drain and cool down.

To make the stuffing:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, add all the stuffing ingredients (ground beef, rice, salt, spices, butter, and diced tomatoes).
  2. Mix thoroughly until fully combined.

Rolling the Cabbage Process:

  1. Place one leaf on a cutting board and cut out the thick rib in the middle of the leaf using a knife in a triangular shape. Save the cut out ribs to place at the bottom of pot.
  2. Then cut each leaf into two equal halves. 
  3. Lay each cabbage leaf on a smooth surface. Add about 1-2 tablespoons of stuffing to each leaf, depending on the size. Spread the stuffing across the leaf leaving 1/2 an inch of space on both edges. 
  4. Add about 1-2 tablespoons of stuffing to each leaf, depending on the size.
  5. Spread the stuffing across the leaf leaving 1/2 an inch of space on both edges.
  6. Roll the cabbage leaf around the meat mixture. Don’t worry about folding the sides over, cabbage leaves don’t need that because they’re rigid and won’t leak any of the filling.
  7. Place the cabbage roll over the cut our cabbage ribs.
  8. Repeat with remaining meat mixture and cabbage leaves. Keep stacking the cabbage rolls on top of each other tightly.

Cooking the Mahshi Malfouf:

  1. Add garlic gloves on top of the rolled cabbages. (You can cut garlic cloves in half or make them into thinner slices)
  2. Thin tomato paste and a sprinkle of salt with water (about 2 cups) and pour over the stuffed cabbages. You can also add a can of diced tomato sauce if you’d like and reduce the amount of water. The liquid should barely cover the rolls. 
  3. Cover the pot and cook over medium-high heat. Bring it to a boil, reduce heat to low and let it simmer for about 45-55 mins or until cabbage is tender and meat is cooked through.
  4. Serve with fresh squeezed lemon juice and enjoy. 
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 230Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 623mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 5gSugar: 7gProtein: 20g

Please note that the nutrition label provided is an estimate based on an online nutrition calculator. It will vary based on the specific ingredients you use.

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Comments (19)

  • Me encantaría saber la mezcla de especias exacta que lleva esta receta, mi mamá tiene ascendencia libanesa por parte de sus abuelos pero ella era muy niña cuando murieron, así que no tengo recetas de este tipo a mi me encanta la cocina y me gustaría mucho hacer recetas libanesa lo mas cerca posible a su sabor. Gracias ojala alguien me pueda aclarar la duda, lindo día.

    • Hello Lily, I’m sorry I don’t speak your language. Thanks to google translate though, I was able to understand what you’re asking for. The Spices I use in my Lebanese stuffed cabbage rolls are: all spice, cinnamon and black pepper. You can get the full recipe with exact measurements by scrolling all the way down to the recipe card, right above the comments sections. Hope this helps 🙂

  • My mother made Lebanese stuffed cabbage without tomato sauce. She seasoned the dish with water, broth, garlic and dried mint. I have never had Lebanese stuffed cabbage in tomato sauce.

    • Yeah that’s a very common way to make Lebanese stuffed cabbage, my mom makes it that way too without the dried mint. I learned the tomato sauce addition from my mom in law and we love it that way too.

    • Oh, I’m not sure why. I’m still able to see the ingredients on my end. But here it is 🙂
      Ingredients for Lebanese Cabbage Rolls:
      Non- Stuffing Ingredients
      1 small green cabbage (pick one with tender leaves)
      1 tbsp salt
      water- for blanching cabbage leaves
      5 garlic cloves- Sliced
      1 tbsp tomato paste
      Stuffing Ingredients
      1 pound lean ground beef- I use 90 % lean
      1 tbsp ground cinnamon
      1 tsp salt
      1 tsp ground all spice
      1 tsp ground black pepper
      2 tbsp butter, softened
      1 cup medium grain rice- soaked, rinsed and drained
      4 ripe tomatoes- Diced

    • Hello Evin,

      I add 1 tablespoon thinned with few tablespoons of water and pour it all over the stuffed cabbage rolls.
      I just updated the recipe with correct quantities, thanks for pointing that out 🙂

  • Dear R,
    This is my third attempt to find out how many garlic cloves are needed for the stuffed cabbage roll recipe, but my question keeps disappearing. The amount of garlic cloves needed are not listed in the recipe. Please let me know, as I really want to make your recipe, it sounds delicious!
    Thank you.

    • Hi- I’m just seeing your question now. You need about 5 cloves, and honestly the more the better 🙂 Thanks for trying my recipe, let me know how it turns out.

  • Please tell us how many garlic cloves are used in this recipe? The number of garlic cloves are not included in this recipe.
    Thank you!

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