Lebanese Stuffed Cabbage Casserole

This recipe for Lebanese stuffed cabbage casserole is a shortcut version of favorite family recipe.

One of the dishes my Lebanese grand-mother would sometimes make was called Malfouf. It’s a stuffed cabbage dish with lots of garlic and lemon juice instead of the popular Eastern European tomato sauce based recipe.

Lebanese Stuffed Cabbage Casserole

Lebanese stuffed cabbage casserole recipe.

Growing up in Pittsburgh I’ve had my share of delicious homemade stuff cabbage at many celebrations such as high school graduations, weddings and other family parties. Next to pierogies they are a mainstay of many generations of recipes from great cooks.

Ingredients for stuffed cabbage casserole.

The Lebanese stuffed cabbage is stuffed with meat and rice. Some use lamb instead of beef. The difference other than the sauce is that they are very thin, cigar shaped rolls.

Needless to say, both types of stuffed cabbage are a lot of work. So when I noticed people were make casseroles with the flavors of the red stuffed cabbage I decided to try making the deconstructed Lebanese stuffed cabbage casserole. 

Savoy head of cabbage.It all started with this beautiful head of Savoy cabbage from the CSA basket.

Beef and cabbage in skillet

I made it in a skillet and pre-cooked the rice. It didn’t take long. 

Beef cabbage and rice in skillet

Using a whole head of garlic seems like a lot but it wasn’t over-powering. Perhaps that’s due to the amount of fresh lemon juice.

Lebanese stuffed cabbage casserole in pan.

Overall it ended up being a good dish with the familiar flavors I remember from grandma’s Malfouf. However, I think when I make it next time I will cook it in a large dutch oven and allow it to braise for a longer time. 

I’m not sure if grandma would approve of this shortcut, but it certainly brings back fond memories of dinner at her house.

Here’s the recipe

Lebanese stuffed cabbage casserole recipe.

Lebanese Stuffed Cabbage


  • 1 pound ground beef or lamb
  • 1 large head cabbage chopped
  • 1 head garlic crushed
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • salt & pepper to taste


  1. Brown the ground beef or lamb in a large skillet or heavy pot.

  2. Add the cabbage, some of the lemon juice, and some of the garlic. Be careful to burn the garlic.

  3. Season with salt and pepper

  4. As the cabbage starts to wilt, add the rice and about 1 cup of water.

  5. Continue adding lemon juice and garlic. 

  6. Let casserole simmer for 20 minutes or until the cabbage is soft and wilted.

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About Patti Estep

Patti is the creator of Hearth and Vine, a home and garden blog filled with projects to inspire your creative side. She loves crafting, gardening, decorating and entertaining at her home in Pennsylvania. When she is not working on a project at home or searching for treasures at nurseries and thrift stores with her girlfriends, you’ll probably find her with family and friends, at a restaurant, or home party enjoying new and different food adventures.

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  1. Susan Paul says:

    Patti – I have a head of cabbage from my farm share and wasn’t sure what to do with it. I’m going to try this recipe tonight. What do you think about adding some herbs to the meat such as fennel seed or oregano?

    • Hi Sue,

      I think adding those herbs would be fine if they are flavors you really like. I will say that the cabbage probably needed to cook down more, so make sure you give yourself enough time. Let me know how it turns out.

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