Middle Eastern Stuffed Cabbage Rolls | Vegetarian Recipe | Vegetarian Times Skip to main content

Middle Eastern Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Crinkly savoy cabbage leaves (which pull apart more easily than white cabbage) are stuffed with a combination of lentils, currants, and olives, then blanketed in a spicy tomato sauce. Serve over rice.



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1 Tbs. olive oil
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1 small onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
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2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
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¾ cup dried French or du Puy green lentils
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8 large savoy cabbage leaves, ribs removed
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⅓ cup dried currants
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½ cup pitted Kalamata olives, quartered
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3 Tbs. lemon juice, divided
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1 15-oz. can low-sodium tomato sauce
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2 tsp. ground cumin
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1 ½ tsp. dried marjoram
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¼ tsp. ground allspice


1. Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, and cook 3 minutes. Add garlic, and cook 30 seconds. Add lentils and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 15 minutes, or until tender. Drain.

2. Bring pot of water to a boil. Blanch cabbage leaves 6 minutes, or until tender. Rinse under cold water, and drain.

3. Mash half of lentil mixture in bowl. Stir in remaining lentils, currants, olives, and 1 Tbs. lemon juice.

4. Combine tomato sauce, 1/2 cup water, remaining 2 Tbs. lemon juice, cumin, marjoram, and allspice in bowl. Spray 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray, then coat bottom with 1/2 cup sauce.

5. Lay 1 cabbage leaf on work surface. Spoon 1/3 cup lentil mixture in center of leaf, fold sides inward, and roll tightly. Place seam side down in dish. Repeat with remaining leaves and filling. Pour remaining sauce over rolls; cover with foil.

STORE/SERVE Refrigerate 3 days, or freeze 1 month. If frozen, thaw overnight in refrigerator. To bake: Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake cabbage rolls, covered, 1 hour. Uncover, baste with sauce, bake 10 minutes more, and serve.

Nutrition Information: 

12 g
Total Fat: 
9 g
Saturated Fat: 
1 g
49 g
0 mg
632 mg
11 g
18 g
Serves 4

Comments on this Recipe

Tried this last night. It was easy and my family loved it, even though they are a meat and potatoes crowd. Yay!

These are so good! I used a homemade tomato sauce with fresh pureed tomatoes onion,garlic and fennel seed. I also omitted the currants. My BF and I both really enjoyed these!!

Love using lentils as a filling, but these ingredients just didn't work together. The Kalamatas were overpowering as was the cumin in the sauce. Wouldn't make this version again.

This recipe was easy and good, but I found it was a bit too much on its own. Without a complimentary dish to tone down the overwhelming flavors, palate fatigue ensued. It might be better balanced if served with a rice dish? I may try it again.

I made these Italian style, with sun-dried tomatoes instead of currants and fresh basil, oregano, and thyme for the spice mix. Also added some lemon zest to the lentil mixture. My meat-eating family ate the whole pan at Easter dinner! I heard, "Wow, tastes almost like pizza!"

It needs something else to go with it like rice maybe. It's fairly easy, and my husband loved it. I thought there was too much tomato sauce and something to balance it out.

This is one of my favorite recipes and everyone loved it-- including my very picky grandmother! It does take a lot of separate steps, but it was worth it. We served it with Garlic Saffron Rice from Veganomicon. It was so tasty! Three separate people in the office commented on how good the leftovers smelled. The one change I made was to add some unsweetened almond milk to cut the acidity of the tomato sauce. It was a minor change, but I think it really balanced out the dish--there was a lot of sauce and it's important to season that exactly to your taste for the recipe to taste right. Golden raisins would be a good substitute for currants.

My boyfriend and I loved this recipe! I used raisins instead of currants and I didn't add any water to the tomato sauce. I also used canned organic lentils to quicken prep time. It was amazing! Yum!

Liked the taste of this- something different than traditional stuffed cabbage. I do like a little more texture in my filling and would probably use tempeh instead of or in addition to lentils next time.

This sounds yummy.this would be a great meal for you guys.

Check out spicy tomato sauce

I wouldn't cook the lentils with the onions and garlic because when you strain it you lose all that flavor

Would love to know country of origin to this recipe please

Made this tonight and my family and I loved it. It appears to be a very versatile recipe. I used dates instead of currants and added a small amount of fresh spicy basil from my herb garden to the tomato sauce. I served over riced cauliflower accompanied by a glass of red wine. I truly loved the flavors.

Made this for my fiancée who has Syrian heritage. He said it reminded him of his childhood, and asked me to make it for his parents. Definitely a winning recipe!

This has now been added to my menu for Christmas day dinner, it sounds delicious.

Could this receipe be made with textured vegetable protein crumbes instead of lentils?

That looks good.

This is very nutritional. Hmmm

Question: how is one to freeze this dish after cooking. I believe that the directions are for freezing before cooking. Help