Some of the most traditional Lebanese dishes are stuffed vegetables, like stuffed zucchini, stuffed eggplants, stuffed vine leaves, and stuffed cabbage leaves. The good thing about these dishes is that they are all naturally gluten-free, and dairy-free. Usually, these vegetables are stuffed with a mix of mince meat, rice, chopped tomatoes, and some spices. It’s also common to prepare the same dishes as a vegetarian option. We replace the minced meat with a variety of chopped greens and herbs. Today our dish is stuffed cabbage. Usually it is prepared and cooked with a lot of garlic and lemon juice. It’s hearty, delicious, and moreish. It is a very good choice for kids to eat such dishes because they are nutritious and a good balance of protein and carbohydrates.

Ingredients

Servings: 4 

- 1 medium size cabbage
- 250 grams minced beef (You can use lamb, but I prefer beef)
- 1 cup short grain rice
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp grated nutmeg
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp allspice
- 20 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ tsp allspice
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp dried mint
- Juice of two lemon
- 3-4 tbsp. olive oil (or butter, but I prefer olive oil)
- 1 ½ -2 cups water


Method

  1. Separate the cabbage leaves gently and wash them.
  2. Put a big pot of water on the heat and bring to a boil.
  3. Dip the cabbage leaves in the boiling water for few seconds, and take out immediately.
  4. Put the boiled cabbage leaves in a sieve to drain all the water and cool.

Prepare the filling:
  1. Wash the rice very well and keep in a sieve to drain.
  2. Put the minced beef in a bowl.
  3. Add salt, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.
  4. Add the drained rice.
  5. Mix the filling very well with your hand.
  6. Spread one boiled cabbage leaf on a plate and fill with the rice and meat filling.
  7. Roll the cabbage leaf slowly (See photos).
  8. Arrange the stuffed cabbage leaves in a pot.
  9. Throw some peeled garlic between each layer of stuffed cabbage in the pot.
  10. Fill all the leaves until all the filling is used.
  11. Mash the remaining cloves of garlic (around 10) with some salt.
  12. Put in a bowl.
  13. Add the lemon juice, allspice, cinnamon, dried mint, and olive oil.
  14. Mix very well until you form a paste.
  15. Add some water (around 1 cup) gradually while mixing.
  16. Add all the mix over the stuffed cabbage leaves in the pot.
  17. Add more water if needed, until all the leaves are submerged with water.
  18. Put a reversed plate on top of the stuffed cabbage to keep them tightly rolled.
  19. Cover the pot and put on the heat.
  20. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat.
  21. Let it simmer for 1 hour and then check the leaves if they are well done.
  22. Serve the stuffed cabbage leaves with fresh yogurt, fresh mint, and radishes.