These Lebanese Stuffed Cabbage Rolls are a Middle Eastern specialty bursting with flavor. This recipe is made with beef, rice, lemon and garlic and is an ideal entree or main dish!
All around the world, people prepare stuffed cabbage rolls using many different ingredients and cooking methods. Today, I’m sharing the flavor-packed Lebanese version, which is loaded with lemon, garlic and mint. Lebanese stuffed cabbage rolls are an ideal lunch recipe you’ll want to make over and over again!
As a fan of beef, I like to prepare these stuffed cabbage rolls with half beef and half lamb, as the customary filling is ground lamb. For added flavor, my mother tosses in a few lamb bones to the cooking liquid.
How to Make Lebanese Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
First, start boiling a large pot of water or chicken broth. Second, use a sharp knife to carefully remove the tough inner core of the cabbage. Third, add the whole head of cabbage (cored) to the boiling pot.
As a result from boiling, the cabbage leaves will start to separate from the head in 2-3 minutes. Carefully place them on a plate as they fall off the core. Next, combine sirloin, rice, salt, pepper, lemon juice, cinnamon and half of the garlic in a medium bowl.
Then, roll each cabbage leaf with meat mixture. Place 1-2 tablespoons of meat mixture in the middle of each leaf and roll them until the cabbage covers the meat.
When I have a free Sunday afternoon for cooking, I like to prepare this type of meal for my family. This recipe makes six servings, so be sure to use all of the meat mixture.
I promise — the end result is always worth the wait!
After you create the stuffed cabbage rolls, place them in the same pot you used to cook the leaves and line them up close together. Alternate the direction with each layer and continue until you’ve used all of the leaves.
Next, if you have any extra meat mixture, roll them into tiny meatballs and add them on top of the stuffed rolls.
Then, add dried mint and the remaining two crushed garlic cloves. If you have a celery stick or two laying around, you can add it to the pot for increased flavor as an optional step.
After you add seasoning, cover the stuffed cabbage rolls with water, about ½ inch above the top layer.
To amp up the flavor, squeeze any leftover lemon juice and season it with salt and pepper to taste.
Next, take a small plate and turn it upside down and place it on top of the rolls. Push down to ensure all the rolls are submersed in liquid. Finally, cover the pot and bring it to a boil. Simmer for 20-30 minutes or until you have fully cooked the meat.
There you go: Lebanese Stuffed Cabbage Rolls!
Frequently Asked Questions
Do cabbage rolls freeze well?
Yes, the cabbage rolls will stay good in the freezer for up to three months. You’ll want to cook them before freezing.
Is the rice pre-cooked or does it go in raw?
The rice goes in raw.
Why are my cabbage rolls tough?
If your cabbage rolls are too tough, it means you have not cooked them long enough. Go ahead and cook them longer.
What is the best type of cabbage for cabbage rolls?
Savory cabbage is the best and it is full of vitamin K and C and fiber. It also has a sweetness that is wonderful with the combination of meats in these rolls.
Serve these stuffed cabbage rolls with plain yogurt or a Syrian salad for the ultimate healthy meal. It’s true, these rolls taste even better the next day.
More recipes to try
If you like this recipe, you might also want to try these healthy meal ideas:
- Lebanese Quinoa Salad
- Middle Eastern Syrian Salad
- Vietnamese Fresh Rolls with BBQ Pork Meatballs
- Chicken and Vegetable Fried Rice
- Mexican Street Tacos
Your fork is waiting.
Lebanese Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
- 1 green cabbage
- 1 pound ground sirloin
- ½ cup long grain white rice
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 lemon Juice of lemon
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 4 cloves garlic (grated)
- 2 tablespoons dried mint (crushed)
- Bring a large pot of water (or chicken broth) to a boil.
- Using a sharp knife, carefully remove tough inner core of the cabbage. When water or broth has come to a boil, add the whole head of cabbage (cored) to the pot. In about 2-3 minutes, the cabbage leaves will slowly start to separate from the head. Carefully place them on a plate as they fall off the core.
- In a medium bowl, combine sirloin, rice, salt, pepper, lemon juice, cinnamon and half of the garlic.
- Working one leaf at a time, place 1-2 tablespoons of meat mixture in the middle and roll until meat is covered with cabbage.
- Place stuffed cabbage rolls in the same pot you used to cook the leaves and line them up close together, alternating direction with each layer. Continue until leaves are gone.
- If you have any extra meat mixture, roll them into tiny meatballs and add them on top of the stuffed rolls. Cover stuffed cabbage with water – about ½ in above top layer. Throw in dried mint and remaining 2 crushed garlic cloves. Squeeze any leftover lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Take a small plate and turn it upside down and place on top of rolls.Push down to ensure all rolls are submersed in liquid. Cover pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20-30 minutes or until meat is fully cooked through. Serve with plain yogurt.
26 thoughts on “Lebanese Stuffed Cabbage Rolls”
I freeze uncooked rolls and they are fine when they are cooked from frozen
Good to know!!
Have you tried in an instant pot? If so, how long?
I have not – I’m not sure this would be smart in an instant pot since it’s a 15 minute recipe. :)
Instead of boiling the leaves to separate them, put the whole head in the freezer, when you are ready to use, let the head thaw, takes a day, then the leaves will peel off. Saves you a lot of work.
great idea Jamie!!!
Hello love this just like my Nanna use to make I have been looking for it for so long thank you , one question you said you could freeze cabbage do you then have to boil it to soften leaves ,or use it straight out of freezer , I think my Nanna use to use mutton for most of her recipes Can I use it in this gives extra flavor , Thank You Paula.
You don’t freeze the cabbage, you freeze the cooked + rolled cabbage stuffed with meat. :) These are great to freeze!
hello how many rolls is one serving size? What is the amound for the 211 calories
I also meant to ask if you’ve tried freezing these?
Yes they freeze really well!
Any advice on using brown rice? Would I need to partially cook it before stuffing the cabbage rolls?
Brown rice would be great – no need to partially cook ahead!
Hi, has anyone tried this in a pressure cooker – just wondering if they will pop their skins with raw rice would it be better if it was cooked rice?
Hi! I made these on the stovetop like you suggested- I usually bake my stuffed cabbages. I was nervous about putting a plate on top of th cabbages to hold them down. I thought the plate might crack when the food was boiling…. My plate wasn’t heavy enough because my cabbages were still semi floating. Any suggestions? Thanks!
My aunt actually uses a big rock to hold it down… hehe :)
Is the rice pre-cooked or does it go in raw? This looks delicious and I can’t wait to try it out!
It goes in raw!! Enjoy!
Liz would this work with Napa cabbage? That’s what I got.
I don’t see why not!! Will you let me know how they turn out??
These were great, and all of my kids ate them as well for an added bonus. Wonders never cease. Have you ever made this into a casserole (I.e. no rolls) or do you have suggestions as to how this could be done?
That’s a brilliant idea – I’ve never done it but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work? I would probably layer it like a lasagna starting with cabbage rolls, then some of the filling, more cabbage rolls, etc. Topping it with the tomato mixture. Good luck and let me know!!
How many cabbage rolls does the recipe yield?
I would say 12 or so depending on your size cabbage head and how big you roll them.
Thanks for sharing your recipe.