Mediterranean Couscous Cabbage Rolls

Mediterranean Couscous Cabbage Rolls

13 Reviews
From: EatingWell Magazine, November/December 2010

We love the subtle flavor of cinnamon with fresh mint in these vegetarian cabbage rolls stuffed with couscous, olives and feta cheese. Don't worry if your cabbage leaves tear a little when you pull them off the head; they will wrap up just fine. As a precaution you can cook a couple extra leaves and roll two partly overlapping if needed. Serve with roasted butternut squash tossed with olive oil, cinnamon and garlic. To double this recipe, use 2 large skillets and prepare one 4-serving recipe in each.

Ingredients 4 servings

for serving adjustment
Serving size has been adjusted!
Original recipe yields 4 servings
Nutrition per serving may change if servings are adjusted.
  • 4¼ cups water, divided
  • 8 large Savoy or green cabbage leaves
  • ¾ teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 cup whole-wheat couscous
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups chopped plum tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons red-wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅓ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons chopped Kalamata olives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, plus more for garnish


  • Active

  • Ready In

  1. Bring 2½ cups water to a boil in a large skillet. Add cabbage leaves, cover, reduce heat to medium-high and simmer until softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Bring 1½ cups water and ¼ teaspoon salt to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir in couscous, cover and remove from the heat. Let stand for at least 5 minutes.
  3. Transfer the cabbage leaves to a clean work surface to cool. Discard the water and dry the pan.
  4. Heat oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, cinnamon, the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and the remaining ¼ cup water. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are mostly broken down, 8 to 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile stir feta, olives and 2 tablespoons mint into the couscous. Mound about ½ cup of the couscous mixture at the stem end of each cabbage leaf. Roll into a bundle, tucking in the sides.
  6. When the tomato sauce is ready, add the cabbage rolls seam-side down. Cover and cook until the rolls are hot all the way through and the cabbage is very tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Serve the cabbage rolls topped with the sauce. Garnish with mint, if desired.
  • Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 5; cool sauce; refrigerate sauce and cabbage rolls separately for up to 8 hours. Reheat the sauce before finishing with Step 6.

Nutrition information

  • Serving size: 2 rolls & ⅓ cup sauce
  • Per serving: 334 calories; 12 g fat(3 g sat); 9 g fiber; 49 g carbohydrates; 11 g protein; 55 mcg folate; 11 mg cholesterol; 8 g sugars; 1 g added sugars; 1,856 IU vitamin A; 33 mg vitamin C; 126 mg calcium; 3 mg iron; 685 mg sodium; 498 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (55% daily value), Vitamin A (37% dv)
  • Carbohydrate Servings:
  • Exchanges: 2½ starch, 1 vegetable, 2 fat

Reviews 13

March 30, 2014
profile image
By: EatingWell User
Didn't quite come together This was a rare miss on Eating Well. Instructions daunting and end result unpleasant. I choked it down for lunch two days in a row and then gave up and fed the rest to the chickens. (They loved it.) I'm a big fan of cabbage rolls and have made them before (husband is Syrian), and I really couldn't imagine someone following this recipe and being successful. Maybe Savoy cabbage is easier to use than regular cabbage? For a regular cabbage, just boil the whole thing in a large pot of water (core it if you can) and pull the leaves off as they soften one by one. Won't tear so badly. Anyway, the sweet of the sauce and the mint vs. the salty and savory of the olives seems like it should work, but it just didn't for me. Also the cabbage leaves aren't cooked long enough to soften completely in a roll, and the whole thing becomes a great big mess trying to eat it. Just buy a middle eastern cookbook and make lekhanah. Way better than this. Pros: Uses cabbage Cons: Flavor balance wrong
January 05, 2014
profile image
By: Jan Konya-Grabill
Yummy I made this recipe, but had fits trying to roll the filling up in the cabbage leaves. I ended up just chopping the cooked cabbage leaves up and throwing them, the couscous mixture, and the tomato mixture together. It was delicious.
January 26, 2013
profile image
By: Jillyann1
Amazing No Matter How You Cook It This recipe was DELICIOUS! I loved all the subtle flavors, though I increased some of them. My cabbage leaves would not come off easily, so I ended up chopping the cabbage and cooking it in the tomato sauce and serving it over the couscous. EXCELLENT! Pros: Delicious, easy to modify
January 20, 2013
profile image
By: EatingWell User
I tried to cut the recipe in half but forgot to cut the cinnamon, sugar, and feta in half. I don't know if that was why I loved this recipe so much or if I would've like it the way it is written. I also didn't add the olives. I would definitely make this recipe again.
August 23, 2012
profile image
By: EatingWell User
Did not enjoy this recipe - it was not favorful Did not enjoy this recipe at all. Would not make again - not much flavor.
March 16, 2012
profile image
By: EatingWell User
Being vegetarian for 12 years I love new recipes. This was easy low fat and high protein. I did make it with red quinoa, used an extra clove of garlic (because I love it) and added white pepper and served it with a slice of homemade rosemary bread, but other than that it was wonderful! Pros: Easy to make
February 24, 2011
profile image
By: keel_o
Very tasty We cooked this dish with quinoa instead of couscous and loved the outcome. We will definitely make this again. Pros: My husband and I loved the addition of cinnamon in the sauce.
February 05, 2011
profile image
By: smailj
Not worth the effort Bland and lots of work to put together. I won't be making this again. Pros: Healthy Cons: Bland
November 19, 2010
profile image
By: EatingWell User
Loved it even though I skipped the last step (where everything is cooked together).
More Reviews