Lebanese Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Beef


These cabbage rolls are stuffed with a mixture of ground beef, rice and warm spices and cooked in a savory tomato sauce seasoned with garlic and mint. Topping the rolls with lemon juice just before serving gives the dish a bright flavor. They would make a wonderful centerpiece for a Sunday supper. Read more about this recipe in the accompanying article Making My Grandmother's Cabbage Rolls Connects Me to My Lebanese Heritage.

Lebanese Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
Photo: Jacob Fox
Active Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
1 hrs 40 mins


  • 1 head green cabbage (2 to 2 1/2 pounds)

  • 1 pound lean ground beef

  • 1 cup long-grain white rice

  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce, divided

  • 2 ½ teaspoons salt, divided

  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper

  • 5 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon dried mint

  • 3 cups water

  • Juice of 1 lemon


  1. Remove cabbage core with a paring knife; discard core and outer leaves. Place the trimmed cabbage in a large pot and fill with water. Bring the water to a simmer and cook, turning occasionally, until the leaves are pliable, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the cabbage from the water. Separate the leaves, being careful not to tear them.

  2. Meanwhile, place beef, rice, 3 tablespoons tomato sauce, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, cinnamon and pepper in a medium bowl; mix with your hands until just combined.

  3. Cut the larger cabbage leaves in half along the rib, then cut out the rib completely; reserve the ribs and leaves separately. The cut leaves should be about 4 inches by 6 inches. Leave smaller leaves whole.

  4. Place a generous tablespoon of the meat mixture along the edge of a cabbage leaf (where the rib was). Roll up the leaf tightly, folding in the sides as you roll. Repeat with the remaining leaves and meat mixture.

  5. Place half of the reserved cabbage ribs in one layer in the bottom of a large pot. Arrange half of the cabbage rolls on top of the ribs, forming a fairly tight layer. Drizzle with 1/3 of the remaining tomato sauce and sprinkle with 1/3 of the garlic, 1/3 of the mint and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Arrange the remaining ribs on top of the first layer. Drizzle with 1/2 of the remaining sauce and sprinkle with 1/2 each of the remaining garlic and mint and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt.

  6. Add water to a large measuring cup; stir in the remaining tomato sauce, garlic and mint. Pour the mixture over the rolls. Place a plate on top of the rolls. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of a roll registers 160°F. Remove the plate and drizzle lemon juice over the rolls.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

183 Calories
6g Fat
18g Carbs
14g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Calories 183
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 18g 7%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 14g 28%
Total Fat 6g 8%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 37mg 12%
Vitamin A 262IU 5%
Sodium 805mg 35%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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