Palestinian-Style Stuffed Savoy Cabbage Rolls

How to make Palestinian Stuffed Savoy Cabbage Rolls - horizontal

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Although I prefer summer, the cold weather is ideal for indulging in hearty foods that comfort the soul. If you’re looking for a dinner idea that will warm your heart or cure your blues, try Stuffed Savoy Cabbage Rolls, the culinary delight of the east old world.

 

Palestinian Stuffed Savoy Cabbage Rolls - with text overlay

P I N this recipe for later. If you like comfort foods, you will love this hearty dish!

 

For the ultimate Palestinian-style malfuf mahshi use ground lamb, veal or a combination. To keep this dish budget-friendly, ground beef will do just fine. I know because that’s what I used in this recipe. 

 

Malfuf (sometimes called sarmale of the dolma family) is a traditional dish consisting of blanched cabbage leaves that have been rolled around a filling of ground (minced) meat.

 

In Arabic, the word malfuf means wrapped and meat-filled cabbage rolls are the most widely eaten of all the stuffed vegetables.

 

I’ve been making stuffed cabbage rolls since I took over my mom’s kitchen, decades ago. Granted, we use cured cabbage but the method is the same. Stuffed vegetables are a staple of Balkan, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern cuisine. 

 

Other than cabbage, we stuff grape leaves, peppers, onions, zucchini, eggplant, potatoes, cucumbers, and tomatoes, but we don’t stop at stuffing just vegetables. No, sir! Though, that’s a topic for another day.  🙂

 

Savoy cabbage roll on a bed of rice, cut.

 

WHAT’S IN THE STUFFED SAVOY CABBAGE ROLLS?

 

The ingredients are basic (you will notice no rice is used) and the combination makes a delicious weeknight dinner dish that you can make ahead.

It’s packed with Mediterranean flavors and is perfect to serve for special gatherings. 

 

Protein – Ground beef and egg

Aromatics – Onion, tomato paste

Spices – Black pepper and Seven Spice blend (see below how to make your own)

Seasoning – Salt

Herbs – Parsley

Vegetables – Savoy cabbage, tomato, and potato (if using)

Liquid – Broth

Fat – Olive oil

Binder – Bread crumbs

 

How to make Palestinian Stuffed Savoy Cabbage Rolls - ingredients

 

Easy and delicious Palestinian stuffed cabbage rolls with seasoned beef in a flavorful sauce is a great make-ahead weeknight meal or for a special gathering. #comfortfood #stuffedcabbage #cabbagerolls Click to Tweet

 

HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE SEVEN SPICE BLEND?

 

Note: This recipe makes just about two teaspoons of Seven Spice mix, enough for the stuffed savoy cabbage rolls.

Multiply the ingredients as desired and keep the spice blend in an airtight container for future use. It is used heavily in Levantine cuisine (large area in the Eastern Mediterranean).

 

 Mix together:

 

  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • a pinch of ground cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon cumin

 

Skillet with Palestinian Stuffed Savoy Cabbage Rolls and a serving spoon

 

HOW TO MAKE PALESTINIAN STUFFED CABBAGE?

 

*Details and the printable recipe are available at the bottom of this post.

 

  1. Sauté onion in oil.
  2. Blend the sautéed onion together with breadcrumbs, tomato, parsley, and Seven Spice mix.
  3. Add the mixture to ground beef and egg. Mix gently until combined.
  4. Divide into eight parcels.

How to make Palestinian Stuffed Savoy Cabbage Rolls - steps 1 to 4

 

  1. Separate 8 leaves from the savoy cabbage.
  2. Blanch the leaves and remove their core.
  3. Place one of the meat portions onto the cabbage leaf and fold it around the meat patty. Transfer the rolls into a baking dish.
  4. Place potato and tomato slices vertically between the cabbage rolls. Pour with the sauce mixture of broth, oil, Seven Spices blend, salt, and pepper. Bake for 45 minutes.

How to make Palestinian Stuffed Savoy Cabbage Rolls - steps 5 to 8

 

WATCH HOW TO ROLL THE MEAT PATTIES INTO CABBAGE LEAVES:

 

How to fold meat patties into the cabbage rolls - gif

 

WHAT IS BLANCHING?

 

Blanching is a short-term thermal treatment of food in boiling water or in hot steam. It is advisable to deter the food – especially vegetables – in ice water to halt the cooking process. This retains color, taste, and texture.

 

WHAT’S A SUBSTITUTE FOR SAVOY CABBAGE?

 

Savoy cabbage is short in season (October-November) and can be expensive in some parts of the world. Conventional green (white) cabbage is a good substitute. but you could use napa cabbage too.  Also, try using grape leaves as the Palestinians do.

 

Palestinian Stuffed Savoy Cabbage Rolls - overhead

 

WHAT TO SERVE WITH STUFFED CABBAGE ROLLS?

 

Serve these Palestinian savoy cabbage rolls with meat patties along with vermicelli rice, Kurdish rice pilaf, or mashed potatoes

 

PRO TIPS/RECIPE NOTES:

 

  • You don’t have to sauté onions (use raw), but sautéd onions add more flavor!  
  • Don’t blanch the leaves longer than two minutes. You just want them to be pliable, otherwise, they will tear easily. They will finish cooking in the oven.
  • You can cook more than eight leaves and make smaller portions or have a backup if some of the leaves break apart.
  • To keep the rolls the same size, you might have to overlap two smaller leaves before wrapping them around the meat patty.
  • Serve the rolls with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream.
  • If your skillet or baking dish is small, arrange the cabbage rolls upright at the slight angle to fit.

 

Palestinian Stuffed Savoy Cabbage Rolls - closeup

 

USE UP LEFTOVER SAVOY CABBAGE IN THESE RECIPES:

 

SLOVENIAN VEGETABLE PIE

DUTCH STAMPPOT

SLAVONIAN POLENTA CASSEROLE

 

This post might contain some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here for obligatory boring legal stuff.

 

 

ESSENTIALS

for Stuffed Savoy Cabbage Rolls


 

 

Palestinian Stuffed Savoy Cabbage Rolls - overhead close

 

MAKING THIS RECIPE OR OTHERS?

Post a photo on my Facebook page, share it on Instagram, or save it to Pinterest with the tag #ALLTHATSJAS. I can’t wait to see your spin on it!

 


How to make Palestinian Stuffed Savoy Cabbage Rolls - horizontal
Print Recipe

Palestinian-Style Stuffed Savoy Cabbage Rolls

Easy and delicious Palestinian stuffed cabbage rolls with blanched savoy cabbage and seasoned beef in a flavorful sauce is a great make-ahead weeknight meal or for a special gathering.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Palestinian
Servings: 4 - 6
Author: Jas

INGREDIENTS:

For the cabbage rolls

  • 1 medium savoy cabbage
  • 1 pound ground beef lamb, veal or a combination
  • 1 egg
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 tomato quartered
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon Seven Spice blend or see how to make your own in the post

For the sauce

  • 2 cups beef or vegetable broth or water
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Seven Spice blend
  • 1 teaspoon salt or more if using water
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper

For the garnish (optional)

  • 1 large potato sliced
  • 2 tomatoes sliced

DIRECTIONS:

For the cabbage rolls:

  • Discard the outer, dark green leaves from the savoy cabbage and then remove 8 leaves. Blanch the leaves in boiling salted water for 2-3 minutes, and then transfer to ice-water. Place leaves on paper towels and pat dry. Remove the hard core with a sharp paring knife.
  • Put 1 pound ground beef into a large mixing bowl and set aside. In a small skillet, sauté 1 chopped onion with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Transfer onions into a food processor. Add 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, 1 quartered tomato, 1/4 cup chopped parsley, and 1 teaspoon Seven Spice blend; process to a coarse consistency.
  • Pour the mixture over the meat in the bowl, add one egg and mix gently together with your hands until evenly distributed (avoid over mixing).
  • Divide the mixture into 8 portions. On a clean work surface, place one savoy cabbage leaf, vein side up, and place one portion of the meat in the center. Gently shape into a round patty and fold the sides of the leaves around it.
  • Repeat with the remaining meat and leaves. Place the cabbage rolls into a large iron skillet or a baking dish. If using, arrange the potato and tomato slices upright between the rolls.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

For the sauce:

  • In a small bowl or a cup, combine the 2 cups broth or water with 2 tablespoons tomato paste, 1tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon Seven Spice blend, one teaspoon salt, and 2 teaspoons black pepper. Pour the sauce over the cabbage rolls, cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and return to the oven for 15 minutes or until potatoes have started to brown (if using).
  • Remove from the oven and serve with Kurdish rice pilaf, vermicelli rice, or mashed potatoes.

RECIPE NOTES:

  • You don't have to sauté onions (use raw), but sautéd onions add more flavor!
  • Don't blanch the leaves longer than two minutes. You just want them to be pliable, otherwise, they will tear easily. They will finish cooking in the oven.
  • You can cook more than eight leaves and make smaller portions or have a backup if some of the leaves break apart.
  • To keep the rolls the same size, you might have to overlap two smaller leaves before wrapping them around the meat patty.
  • Serve the rolls with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream.
  • If your skillet or baking dish is small, arrange the cabbage rolls upright at the slight angle to fit.
Tried this recipe?Snap a photo and mention @all_thats_jas or tag #allthatsjas on Instagram for a chance to be featured!

NUTRITIONS:

Nutrition Facts
Palestinian-Style Stuffed Savoy Cabbage Rolls
Amount Per Serving
Calories 509 Calories from Fat 288
% Daily Value*
Fat 32g49%
Saturated Fat 10g50%
Cholesterol 121mg40%
Sodium 911mg38%
Potassium 975mg28%
Carbohydrates 26g9%
Fiber 5g20%
Sugar 6g7%
Protein 30g60%
Vitamin A 1622IU32%
Vitamin C 29mg35%
Calcium 95mg10%
Iron 6mg33%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 

 

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Jas

publisher and creative director at All that's Jas
Jas is a cheesecake addict and the author of Balkan Comfort Food cookbook available on Amazon. You can download a free excerpt of the book when you subscribe to All that's Jas newsletter updates or purchase the full version below. To learn more about Jas visit her About page.
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22 Comment

  1. Reply
    Alexandra @ It's Not Complicated Recipes
    October 16, 2019 at 8:43 am

    I love this kind of warming comfort food! So flavoursome and healthy! For the whole family to enjoy 🙂

    1. Reply
      Jas
      October 16, 2019 at 8:52 am

      Thank you, Alexandra! You’re right, my whole family loved it 🙂

  2. Reply
    Julia
    October 16, 2019 at 9:14 am

    This looks so good and so flavorful! Will put this on my menu for next week. 🙂

    1. Reply
      Jas
      October 16, 2019 at 9:16 am

      Thanks, Julia! Hope you enjoy as much as we did! 🙂

  3. Reply
    Alison Corey
    October 16, 2019 at 9:32 am

    This looks fantastic! Such a beautiful and creative dish with so many fresh elements.

    1. Reply
      Jas
      October 16, 2019 at 10:47 am

      Thank you, Alison! So happy you like it. 😀

  4. Reply
    Garlic + Zest
    October 16, 2019 at 9:43 am

    Most cabbage rolls I’ve had are always doused in tomato sauce, but your recipe is SO DIFFERENT. Your spice mix sounds like it would give tongue tingling flavors to the beef (or lamb) and your photos are gorgoeus.

    1. Reply
      Jas
      October 16, 2019 at 10:46 am

      That’s why like this recipe too – it’s light yet flavorful. Thank you, Lisa! xx

  5. Reply
    heidymccllum
    October 16, 2019 at 10:50 am

    I love cabbage rolls and yet I have only had them Polish, Greek, and Italian-style. I can’t wait to try this version as it looks beautiful and delish!

    1. Reply
      Jas
      October 16, 2019 at 7:18 pm

      That’s a pretty nice collection there, Heidy! I hope you add this recipe to your list soon. 😀

  6. Reply
    Ron
    October 16, 2019 at 12:09 pm

    Jas, I don’t know what it is, but you always hit home for me with your recipes. If your cabbage rolls tastes half as good as your excellent images makes them look, then I know I’m in for a treat. We have just recently picked up our fall lamb, so minced lamb is no problem. I’ll put this on the list for next weeks cook.

    1. Reply
      Jas
      October 16, 2019 at 7:17 pm

      Many thanks! I’m glad my recipes are tickling your palate, Ron! These rolls would be amazing with lamb. Enjoy!

  7. Reply
    Kim | Give it Some Thyme
    October 16, 2019 at 4:47 pm

    This stuffed cabbage takes me right down memory lane when I used to help my grandmother make them. These look incredibly delicious! An ultimate comfort food that screams fall! Thanks for sharing this Jas!

    1. Reply
      Jas
      October 16, 2019 at 8:01 pm

      Thank you, Kim! Food is a great memory trigger. xx

  8. Reply
    Kelly | Foodtasia
    October 17, 2019 at 6:26 am

    Jas, I’m so craving this stuffed cabbage! The flavors are wonderful and the presentation is so beautiful!

    1. Reply
      Jas
      October 17, 2019 at 5:31 pm

      Thank you, Kelly! I’m so happy you like it. 🙂

  9. Reply
    Aleka
    October 17, 2019 at 7:29 pm

    Oh wow! One of my Childhood favorites is dolmathakia which in Greek is also stuffed cabbage! We would put rice with the meat though but either way, your getting rice in which goes so well! I also love how you portioned out the filling! So smart!!

    1. Reply
      Jas
      October 20, 2019 at 7:36 pm

      So glad you like it! We also add rice to our stuffed cabbage and other vegetables we stuff, but I haven’t missed it here at all. xx

  10. Reply
    Chelsey
    October 18, 2019 at 2:58 pm

    This is such a beautiful dish!! I love all of the spices in the sauce – it sounds so flavorful. I’ve never tried cabbage rolls before but I definitely want to now!

    1. Reply
      Jas
      October 20, 2019 at 7:33 pm

      Thank you, Chelsey! I hope you give it a try. xx

  11. Reply
    Karen (Back Road Journal)
    October 23, 2019 at 10:21 am

    I always make my grandmother’s version of stuffed cabbage but I can’t wait to try your delicious version. I’ve pinned and think I will try them with lamb.

    1. Reply
      Jas
      October 24, 2019 at 9:49 am

      I’m making them with lamb next time too, Karen! I think it would really bring all of the yummy Mediterranean flavors out. 🙂

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