Vegan Malfouf Mahshi

Lebanese Cabbage Rolls

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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)




Time 2h



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!



To Serve (optional)

  • Canned Chopped Tomatoes
    to taste


  • Ground Cumin
    1 tsp
  • Allspice
    1 tsp
  • Ground Cinnamon
    1 tsp


  • Brown Rice
    100 g
  • Dried Lentils
    80 g
  • Tomatoes
  • Red Onions
  • Fresh Mint Sprigs
  • Fresh Dill Sprigs


  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    2 tbsp
  • Garlic Cloves


  • White Cabbage

Recipe Instructions

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).


step 7

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

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.

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.

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.


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.