How to Make Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Ground Beef and Garlic

Ground beef, tomato, cumin, lemon and lots of garlic come together in these delicious stuffed cabbage rolls.

There are plenty of ways to mix up veggies, meat and cheese—but there’s really nothing better than stuffing vegetables with meat and cheese. From stuffed peppers to stuffed potatoes, there are just so many recipes that turn your vegetables into vehicles for delicious add-ons!

Of course, cultures around the world have been stuffing vegetables with delicious fillings for centuries. If you’re looking to try something new, we recommend looking to Lebanon, where you can find stuffed cabbage rolls, or, as they’re called in Arabic, malfouf. This recipe comes to us courtesy of Yumna Jawad of FeelGoodFoodie, who also shared these easy pasta chips and a delicious Mediterranean hummus bowl.

How to Make Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

If you like garlic, you’re going to love this recipe. It has not 1, not 2, but 10 whole cloves of garlic!


  • 1 cabbage head
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons 7-Spice or cinnamon or allspice
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup short grain rice, rinsed
  • 10 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 4 large tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/2 green pepper, sliced (optional)
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 6 cups water


Step 1: Prep the cabbage leaves

Bring a large pot of water to boil, then turn off the heat. Remove the cabbage core and place the rest in the hot water for 5 minutes.

Use a fork to hold the middle of the cabbage steady, then gently separate the outer leaves from the center. The leaves should be soft enough to be pliable but not mushy. The inner leaves may take a little longer to soften up. Set the cabbage leaves aside, making sure to cut any large leaves in half. Save the toughest leaves to line the pot later.

Step 2: Make the filling

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls Steps2Courtesy Feel Good Foodie

Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add ground beef and season with half the salt, pepper and 7-Spice. Cook until it is browned, about 5-7 minutes. Add the uncooked rice and season with the remaining salt. Mix until everything is incorporated.

Step 3: Stuff and wrap

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls stuffed and wrappedCourtesy Feel Good Foodie

Lay out a cabbage leaf on a cutting board and place 2 tablespoons of the beef and rice mixture in the center. Roll it slowly and tightly, without tucking in the corners. Squeeze the roll to secure it and set aside.

Repeat this with the remaining cabbage leaves until you run out of leaves or mixture. You should end up with 30-35 rolls.

Step 4: Cook

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls cookingCourtesy Feel Good Foodie

Line the bottom of a large pot with cabbage stems and tomato slices. Season with half the cumin. Arrange the stuffed cabbage leaves in rows, alternating directions, to cover the entire circumference of the pot. Add the garlic, peppers (if using) and remaining cumin.

Place a small round plate or a pot filled with water on top of the cabbage rolls to prevent them from floating while cooking. Add water to the pot, making sure it completely covers the rolls and the plate, if using. Cook on medium heat for 30 minutes.

The cabbage leaves should be tender and most of the water should have been absorbed, with some remaining on the bottom. Add lemon juice to the cabbage leaves and cook on low heat for an additional 45 minutes. Remove from heat and cool, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Serve warm. Next, learn how to make vegan cabbage rolls.

Set these stuffed cabbage rolls on the table with some of our favorite Mediterranean dishes.

Amrita Thakkar
Amrita is an Assistant Digital Editor at Taste of Home. As a writer and amateur photographer, she often ends up applying these skills to her one great love: food. She can usually be found researching global cuisines, at the farmers market, doing yoga, or looking up new places to travel to.