This is a classic Lebanese and Middle Eastern cabbage rolls dish! Lebanese stuffed cabbage rolls are filled with ground beef and rice and cooked in a Dutch oven with garlic and tomato sauce with mint and lemon as well. This rolled cabbage leaves recipe is so healthy and gluten free!
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What are Lebanese Stuffed Cabbage Rolls? Also called Malfouf recipe
Lebanese cabbage rolls come in a variety of different flavors and styles. From classic cabbage rolls to traditional cabbage rolls, I only prefer the style of Mediterranean stuffed cabbage rolls. Stuffed with a mixture of white rice, ground beef and Mediterranean spices, it is cooked in tomato sauce and spiced with lemon, mint and garlic. If you have never had that flavor combo before, quite frankly, your missing out!
Not only is this stuffed cabbage incredibly delicious (and might I add THE BEST cabbage roll recipe), but it is also a very healthy cabbage roll recipe. A popular Middle Eastern cooking technique is to stuffed vegetables like this recipe for Stuffed Yellow Squash (kousa mahshi). Check it out!
But here is your chance to try this very flavorful dish. And don’t be scared, kids love it too, even though the word cabbage may scare them.
I also recommend a good Dutch oven for cooking these cabbage rolls. Here is a great one from Amazon.
Before you get started, make sure you grab a helper. This dish is a little more labor intensive then some. I will give an easy step by step video of how to make Lebanese the cabbage rolls. If you want to find out more about Middle Eastern and Lebanese Food, read my article by clicking the link.
How to make cabbage roll filling
Cut the ground beef, rice, cinnamon, salt and pepper and a few tablespoons of tomato sauce together until combined evenly. This is your stuffing for the cabbage rolls.
Next you will need to cut the core out of the head of cabbage. The cabbage needs to go into simmering water in order to wilt the cabbage leaves. You don’t want to kill the leaves, just wilt them enough for them to separate easily from the head of cabbage, and so that it will be pliable for rolling.
Have your helper monitor the cabbage, pulling off the outer leaves as they wilt.
PRO TIP*** Don’t use the first few leaves that are greener. The green leaves tend to be tough.
Step by step how to roll the cabbage leaves
Now comes the rolling. Each of the larger cabbage leaves will yield 2 cabbage rolls and here is how to cut them.
- Set your leaf like so
- With a paring knife cut down the side of the hard rib in the middle
- Cut down the other side of the rib so as to separate if from the cabbage leaf completely.
- on the edge that had the rib, put a few tablespoons of the meat mixture.
Make sure to put some of the ribs from the cabbage onto the bottom of your pan before putting the cabbage rolls into the pan.
Don’t over stuff the cabbage or else it will be hard to get into a tight roll. Start by rolling from the edge that had the rib, fold in both sides as you go.
Place the stuffed cabbage roll into the pan on top of the cabbage ribs. Make sure to set each roll tightly next to each other in the pan forming a nice, tight layer. Reference the video below for the step by step process of rolling the cabbage.
Video of how to make recipe for Lebanese Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
After completely a single layer, sprinkle garlic, mint and salt on top then cover with some tomato sauce.
Repeat the layer process sprinkling garlic, mint and salt between each layer and a few tablespoons of tomato sauce.
After all of the layers are completed, pour the remaining sauce over the top and fill with water until it reaches the top of the cabbage rolls.
In order to keep the cabbage rolls tight and from opening, put a bowl or pottery plate on top to weigh it down.
Bring water to a boil then simmer it for 25 minutes then add lemon, garlic, mint and salt mixture and simmer for 20 more minutes. Carefully take the plate off the top and feast your eyes upon those delicious cabbage rolls.
Stuffed cabbage rolls are delicious and super healthy! Serve and enjoy!
Coming soon!!! I will be posting a super east lazy cabbage rolls without all the work. Yes, unstuffed or deconstructed cabbage rolls is about the easiest and quickest way to make Lebanese cabbage rolls!
Want to see some other great Lebanese recipes? Check these out!
Shop kitchen products used in this recipe
Lebanese Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
- 1 head Cabbage
- 1 cup White Rice
- 1 lb Ground Beef
- 1 14.5 oz can Tomato Sauce
- 3 cups Water
- ¼ teas Cinnamon
- ¼ teas Pepper
- 1 ½ teas Salt
- 4 cloves Garlic minced
- 1 tbls Dried Mint Leaf
- ¼ cup Lemon Juice
- Core the cabbage and parboil it to remove the leaves. Leaves should be pliable to roll
- Cut ground beef, rice, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, cinnamon and 3-4 tablespoons of tomato sauce together in a mixing bowl
- Slice each leaf in half next to the rib, slice the rib out completely (see post for video and step by step visuals)
- Layer the ribs on the bottom of the pan
- Put 2 tablespoons of the ground beef and rice mixture on the edge of the leaf where the rib was cut out
- Roll the leaf over the beef mixture once and fold in both sides. Continue to roll until it is tight
- Place seem side down in the pan on top of the ribs
- Make a tight layer of cabbage rolls
- After each layer sprinkle mint and garlic and 1/4 teas salt over the top of the cabbage rolls then put 4-5 Tablespoons of tomato sauce on top also
- Repeat these steps to make more layers of cabbage rolls
- After all of the ground beef mixture is gone, put the rest of the tomato sauce over the top of the cabbage leaves. Add 1 teaspoon of salt over the top and cover the cabbage rolls with water until it reaches the top of the cabbage rolls
- Put a plate of pottery over the top layer of the cabbage rolls so that they hold together while cooking
- Simmer for 20 minutes
- Add the rest of the garlic, ½ teaspoon of mint to the lemon juice and pour over the top of the cabbage rolls
- Simmer for another 20 minutes or until rice is done
- Serve and enjoy