Malfouf (Lebanese Stuffed Cabbage)

If you want impress your friends, then this Lebanese stuffed cabbage is the one for you.

You see stuffed cabbage recipes and assume they’ll be difficult to make. But it certainly doesn’t need to be the case.

There are many variations of cabbage rolls worldwide. This Lebanese version uses beef, rice, lemon and garlic.

The great thing about stuffed cabbages is their versatility. Want to go meatless? Substitute out the beef mince and toss in some mushrooms. Want to add some extra protein in? Layer in some Greek yogurt and you’re good to go.

If you have any fresh vegetables that are going off soon, this is the recipe to pull out.

Health Benefits

Oh boy, we’ve got a lot packed into this recipe.

Let’s start with the star ingredient, cabbage. Cabbage is packed with nutrients, notably vitamin B6, vitamin C and folate. It’s also rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber, helping to improve digestion. Soluble fiber can also help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol levels – one study found 2-10 grams of fiber a day found their LDL cholesterol levels decreased by about 2.2 mg per deciliter (1).

People also fear carbohydrates, but they can actually be very healthy in their whole grain forms. Brown rice is a perfect example – when they are refined into white rice, they lose a lot of their nutritional value.

The table below compares 180g (1 cup) of brown rice vs white rice.

 Brown Rice (RDI)White Rice (RDI)
Thiamine6%1%
Niacin8%2%
Vitamin B6
7%5%
Manganese45%24%
Magnesium11%3%
Phosphorus8%4%
Iron2%1%
Zinc4%3%

Research shows that eating whole grains like brown rice regular helps lower blood sugar levels and risk of type 2 diabetes (2, 3, 4).

We talked about garlic in our toum garlic sauce recipe, but garlic also has some surprising health benefits. It’s high in rich in vitamin C, vitamin B6 and manganese but surprisingly, studies have shown garlic supplements can help reduce blood pressure (567) and cholesterol (8910).

Add your leftover veg in and you’ve got a healthy exotic dish that keeps really well. Let’s get cooking!

Yields4 Servings
Prep Time30 minsCook Time1 hrTotal Time1 hr 30 mins

 1 head savoy, napa or green cabbage
 175 g brown rice
 2 tbsp olive oil
 1 onion, chopped
 6 garlic cloves, chopped
 1 tsp salt
 ½ tsp ground turmeric
 ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
 ¼ tsp allspice
 350 g lean beef mince
 475 ml beef or vegetable broth
 3 lemons, sliced

1

Cook the rice according to the package instructions. Transfer cooked rice to large bowl.

2

Place the cabbage head into boiling water for 5-7 minutes to soften the leaves. Remove the inner stalk and separate the cabbage leaves until you have about a number of large leaves.

3

In a large skillet pan, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and ½ tsp salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the spices and cook for 30 seconds to coat the onions. Add the ground beef and remaining salt and cook until the beef is browned and mostly cooked through, about 5 minutes.

4

Add the onion and beef mixture to the bowl and mix everything together. Taste and season with more salt if needed.

5

In a casserole dish, add the broth and lemons. Assemble the cabbage rolls by placing enough filling at the base of the leaf, then roll it up like you would a burrito. Repeat with all of the cabbage leaves. Place the rolls in the casserole dish.

6

Bake in the oven for 60 minutes, or until the cabbage is tender and filling is cooked through.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 4

Servings 4


Amount Per Serving
Calories 560
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 15g24%
Saturated Fat 4g20%
Cholesterol 130mg44%
Sodium 1009mg43%
Potassium 955mg28%
Total Carbohydrate 54g18%
Dietary Fiber 25g100%
Sugars 8g
Protein 53g106%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Ingredients

 1 head savoy, napa or green cabbage
 175 g brown rice
 2 tbsp olive oil
 1 onion, chopped
 6 garlic cloves, chopped
 1 tsp salt
 ½ tsp ground turmeric
 ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
 ¼ tsp allspice
 350 g lean beef mince
 475 ml beef or vegetable broth
 3 lemons, sliced

Directions

1

Cook the rice according to the package instructions. Transfer cooked rice to large bowl.

2

Place the cabbage head into boiling water for 5-7 minutes to soften the leaves. Remove the inner stalk and separate the cabbage leaves until you have about a number of large leaves.

3

In a large skillet pan, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and ½ tsp salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the spices and cook for 30 seconds to coat the onions. Add the ground beef and remaining salt and cook until the beef is browned and mostly cooked through, about 5 minutes.

4

Add the onion and beef mixture to the bowl and mix everything together. Taste and season with more salt if needed.

5

In a casserole dish, add the broth and lemons. Assemble the cabbage rolls by placing enough filling at the base of the leaf, then roll it up like you would a burrito. Repeat with all of the cabbage leaves. Place the rolls in the casserole dish.

6

Bake in the oven for 60 minutes, or until the cabbage is tender and filling is cooked through.

Lebanese Stuffed Cabbage