Vegan Malfouf Mahshi

Lebanese Cabbage Rolls

These stuffed cabbage rolls are a tasty vegan version of the classic Lebanese malfouf mahshi. We filled them with lentils, brown rice, dill and simmered them in a spiced broth.

Vegan Malfouf Mahshi  (Lebanese Cabbage Rolls)


Nutrition per serving
Net Carbs26.5 g9.6%
of which Sugars6.1 g6.8%
Fibers6.5 g23.2%
Fats5.5 g8.5%
of which Saturates0.8 g4.1%
of which Omega 30.8 g68.7%
Proteins7 g15.2%
Calcium84 mg8.4%
Vitamin A24 mcg3.5%
Vitamin C59 mg78.8%
Iron2.3 mg15.2%
Potassium489 mg14%
Sodium31 mg1.3%
Cholesterol0 mg0%
Kcal184 9.2%
Macro split
  • net carbs 58%
  • sugars 13%
  • fats 12%
  • saturates 2%
  • proteins 15%
  • fibers 14%
*RDA based on a 2000 kcal diet;
**Nutritional data sources: USDA, food labels.
184 per serving

Are you scouring the net for a cool way to use excess cabbage? We've got a great new recipe for you! Lebanese stuffed cabbage rolls, also known as Malfouf Mahshi. It's rare we ever go to a Lebanese restaurant and don't order a few of these delicate treats. So we thought: let's add it to Foodaciously, and let's make it vegan while we're at it!

Malfouf Mahshi, which translates to "stuffed cabbage (rolls)", is a simple dish famous throughout the Levantine and Middle-Eastern regions. The recipe differs here and there, but it most often consists of steamed or boiled cabbage leaves rolled around a filling of rice, spices, and red meat.

Although scrumptiously delicious, traditional malfouf mahshi is not fully plant-based. Here's where we come in! We made these Lebanese stuffed cabbage rolls fully vegan by making a few subtle modifications to the classic recipe. The goal? Keep these rolls just as good as the classic ones, but healthier, fully plant-based, and just as nutritious.

We believe it's important when designing vegan recipes to emulate not just the flavour of the classic dish but also its nutritional profile. That's why we always strive to replace meat with an alternative plant-based source of proteins and nutrients. In these veggie cabbage rolls, we replaced red meat with brown lentils. Not only are lentils a common ingredient in Levantine cuisine, but they are also an excellent source of iron and proteins! The good stuff.

Here's another cool thing we discovered when testing out this recipe. As you'll see in the steps below, we have boiled the cabbage rolls in a big pot and then served them with a spicy tomato sauce. But we made so many we couldn't possibly finish them all in a single day. So the next day, we grilled the remaining rolls in the oven, with the sauce and everything else, and were blown away by the result! The rolls got crispy outside but stayed soft and juicy inside. Honestly delicious. Try this out!

Anyway, we think you'll love this recipe. And if you value health as much as flavour, as we do, then you'll be happy to hear that a portion of these vegan malfouf mahshi has 169 calories, 24% RDI of fibres, and only 6% RDI of fats. Happy cooking!


Measuring System
Extra Virgin Olive Oil2 tbsp
Garlic Cloves4
Brown Rice100 g
Brown Lentils (raw)80 g
Red Onions1/2
Fresh Mint Sprigs1
Fresh Dill Sprigs2
Ground Cumin1 tsp
Allspice1 tsp
Ground Cinnamon1 tsp
To Serve (optional)
Canned Chopped Tomatoes to taste
White Cabbage1

Step 1

Wash the cabbage head and then remove the core from the base with the help of a knife.

Add the cabbage to a deep pot, cover it with water, and cook it with the lid on for at least 30-40 minutes.

head of cabbage cooking in a pot

Step 2

Meanwhile, rinse the brown rice and dried lentils, place them in a bowl, and cover them with warm water.

Let them soak for as long as you cook and prepare the cabbage.

soaked rice and lentils for cabbage roll stuffing

Step 3

While the cabbage cooks and the lentils soak, let's prepare the other ingredients.

Finely dice the tomatoes and onions; thinly slice fresh mint and dill; then mix the spices in a cup.

chopped vegetables for cabbage roll filling

Step 4

Carefully drain the cooked cabbage and start to peel off the outer leaves.

With a regular white cabbage, we got 24 medium-sized leaves.

If the stem at the base of the leaves is pliable enough for rolling, you can leave it; otherwise, trim it off with a knife.

Once you have peeled all the large outer leaves, finely chop the inner core of the leftover cabbage along with the stem trimmings and set them all aside.

boiled cabbage leaves for rolls

Step 5

Now, let's get the filling ingredients together.

Drain the soaked rice and lentils, add them to a bowl, and tip in the prepared tomatoes, onions, and herbs.

Add in half of the spice mix, season with a few good pinches of salt according to taste, and mix all.

vegan filling for lebanese cabbage rolls

Step 6

To stuff the cabbage leaves, take one leaf and overlap the two bottom halves of the cabbage leaf where you trimmed off the stem (if you did it).

Add one tablespoon of stuffing at the bottom part of the leaf (1).

Then, starting at the stem end, roll the cabbage up tightly, tucking in the sides of the leaf as you roll (2).

how to fill cabbage rolls
how to roll cabbage rolls

Step 7

Next, heat the oil in a deep pot, add in minced garlic and chopped cabbage, and sizzle all for 5 minutes.

cooked cabbage with garlic

Step 8

Now, spread out the sizzled cabbage to make a base layer, which will prevent the rolls from burning.

Then, arrange the cabbage rolls in rows with the seam side facing down and pack them tightly as not to leave any gaps.

If needed, make a second layer, placing the rolls perpendicularly to the bottom ones, as shown in the picture.

cabbage rolls in a pot

Step 9

Cover the stacked rolls with water and tip in the remaining half of the spices. You can optionally add in a sprig of dill and a few leaves of mint to add more flavour to the broth.

Season with salt and pepper to taste and tilt the pot around to let the broth seep among the rolls.

cabbage rolls cooking in a pot

Step 10

Cover the rolls with an upside-down flat plate to prevent the rolls from floating around while cooking.

Finally, bring the broth to a boil and simmer covered for 30-45 minutes until the rolls' filling is cooked through.

Enjoy your delicious vegan malfouf mahshi on a bed of spicy tomato sauce.

cooked lebanese cabbage rolls


We like to give our cabbage rolls a final round of grilling before serving them. Once cooked, transfer the rolls onto a baking tray and drizzle them with oil. Then, grill them on the top shelf of the oven at 180°C (355°F) for 15-20 minutes.