Living, Loving and Sharing Life …

Cabbage Rolls Lebanese style

on 13/1/14

I was asked by a blogger whose blog I follow – Stir it Up – for a recipe for Lebanese Cabbage Rolls. You may remember that I reblogged her recipe for Czechoslovakian cabbage rolls on my blog early in the year. (czechoslovakian-cabbage-rolls/). So here is my recipe direct from someone who is half Lebanese at least, which should classify it as authentic.

If you wish to see what they look like as you make them, I am indebted to for his photos. Thanks a lot Zesty! However, my recipe is slightly different with the inclusion of lemon juice.

Thanks to Zesty Cook
Thanks to Zesty Cook

Cabbage Rolls Lebanese style


1 medium cabbage

5 cloves of garlic with skins left on (if garlic is large slice it in halves with skin intact)

1-1/2 teaspoons of salt

1/2 cup lemon juice (more if required) and water to cover

Mince for rolls: 

1-1/4 cups white rice, washed and drained

500 gr (1lb) ground beef (minced meat)

1/2 cup water; salt and pepper

1 teas Allspice (Pimento – use mixed spice if you are desperate but the Allspice berry has a more subtle taste)

Mix the rice, ground beef, water and Allspice, salt and pepper until a good consistency.

Pack the rolls in like this
Pack the rolls in like this


  • Make up the beef mixture, cover and put aside in a basin.
  • Remove the core from the cabbage, separate and wash leaves. (Put the cores of the cabbage aside to use later). Dip the leaves into boiling water in a large saucepan a few at a time until they become wilted and pliable. Trim the large central veins flat (removing them if they are too hard to roll). Cut very large leaves in half but leave small ones whole.
  • Take one cabbage leaf at a time, lay it down with the inside up and place a tablespoonful of meat and rice stuffing in the centre. Fold the bottom of the leaf over the stuffing, then roll tightly, forming a roll about 10-15 cm (4-6 inches) long and 2.5-4 cm (1-1-1/2 inch) wide.
  • Place the cores of the cabbage you put aside, on the bottom of a large saucepan. Now pack the rolls, open ends down in tight rows and layers on top of the cabbage cores (this will stop the cabbage rolls from burning on the bottom).
  • Sprinkle each layer with a generous amount of salt and lemon juice, inserting a few garlic cloves or slivers on each layer. Be generous with the lemon juice as it will get diluted later by the water.
  • Mix the remainder of lemon juice with water to cover the rolls in the saucepan. Put a plate over the rolls to keep them submerged in the water.

Bring to the boil without burning the bottom of the saucepan and then turn down to a moderate heat, making sure they keep cooking. Cook until tender. Take one out if necessary and try it. The rice needs to be soft and the mince cooked. This may take up to an hour to cook if you have a large saucepan.

Leave to sit for 30 minutes and if serving to a crowd, tip them into a large platter and serve with vegetables. This works well as the juice pours out over the rolls and people can take some juice as well as rolls.

Another tip: if you wish to make them a day ahead, cook for half the time then place overnight in the refrigerator. Bring back to the boil the next day and finish cooking them. They will be perfect!


4 Comment(s)

  1. Sarah

    March 10, 2014 at 10:53 am

    I’m getting the ingredients for these tomorrow. 🙂 Will let you know how they turn out!

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