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If you’re a busy homeschooling mom like me who sometimes has a hectic schedule and needs a nutritious meal on the table fast, then this Unstuffed Cabbage-Malfoof might become your newest favorite recipe.

This is my go-to recipe on busy days, although I have a quick way to make Stuffed Malfoof with an instant pot. The combination of succulent ground beef, fluffy rice, tangy spices, and tender cabbage is tempting.

The juices from the beef ooze out into the rice and combine with the cabbage to form a delicious, hearty, savory meal that everyone will enjoy!

Easy Quick Unstuffed Cabbage-Malfoof!

a pot of unstuffed cabbage with rice and ground beef
So much easier than traditional cabbage rolls, you’re going to love this one pan meal!

This simple casserole dish is one of my family’s favorite dinner dishes, and it’s excellent for a quick meal. My passion for creating unstuffed cabbage is inspired by my childhood recollections of cooking with my mother.

She used to make the famous stuffed cabbage rolls and transform the leftover cabbage into this delicious casserole which for me tasted even better!

It’s the simplest, quickest version I’ve come to enjoy. There’s no need to cook the rice ahead of time or sauté anything!

Everything is literally tossed in one pot and baked until tender, making this an EASY one-pot dish! And the leftovers are just as tasty!

A Simple Version in the Fraction of Time and Effort!

a spoon of unstuffed cabbage with rice and ground beef
If you like cabbage rolls but don’t like the prep work, this Unstuffed Cabbage-Malfoof recipe is for you.

Being a busy mom who loves to prep healthy meals that come together quickly made me choose the easy route and go for unstuffed cabbage sometimes.

I usually prefer healthy options that don’t require a lot of time or effort to prepare and at the same time, delicious dinners that my girls and husband will enjoy.

The cooler weather of autumn also means a return to some traditional comfort foods, and this Unstuffed Cabbage-Malfoof recipe is definitely one of them! This dish is also known as unstuffed malfuf, malfouf, or chopped cabbage recipe.

One Pot Meals-A Great Choice for Busy Moms!

One pot meals are meals in which all (or almost all) of the ingredients are cooked in one pot.

They may not always be the fanciest, prettiest, or most stunning dishes, but they are the ones that are most likely to become a staple in your family’s meal rotation. They’re designed for both busy weeknights and long weekends.

Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls, for example, are a meal that our kids will remember eating together at the dinner table.

You can spend more time with them because meals like these don’t need hours in the kitchen prepping dozens of ingredients ahead of time or cleaning up a mess afterwards.

A Super Easy One Pot Dish!

A plate of unstuffed chopped cabbage with rice and ground beef decorated with lemon halves
A combination of a hearty layer of rice with beef and cabbage

Impressive Health Benefits of Cabbage

  • Cabbage is a low-calorie vegetable full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
  • It contains insoluble fiber, which keeps the digestive system healthy by providing fuel for friendly bacteria.
  • Cabbage contains potent pigments known as anthocyanins, which have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • It is high in soluble fiber and plant sterols. These compounds have been shown to lower LDL cholesterol.
  • Cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin K1 which is critical for blood clotting.

Top Tips for a Great Unstuffed Cabbage-Malfoof Recipe

You can add more lemon juice, pepper, or salt to the broth, but I do encourage you to taste before you simmer.

After you assemble the cabbage, rice, and broth in the pot, put the pot on high temperature. Mix everything gently so that you don’t break up the rice and let it boil for 1-2 minutes. Simmer then cover it. This way it will finish much quicker.

If you see some little water at the bottom of the pot it’s okay. Just keep it on the stove top. The rice will absorb excess water.

If you don’t have time to boil the cabbage, you can freeze it. The next day when it thaws out, cut it into cubes and follow the recipe as is.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of cabbage is best to use in this recipe?

Green cabbage is best, but look for ones with soft, wide leaves and few stems on the outer layers. They’re not always easy to find, but they’re a lot easier to work with than the typical green cabbage. Savoy cabbage works here as well.

Can I make this dish vegetarian?

Of course, yes. Simply leave out the ground beef in the stuffing recipe. You can also make a veggie-based filling with parsley, tomatoes, mint, and shallots in addition to the rice.

Can I make unstuffed cabbage with brown rice?

I don’t recommend using brown rice in this recipe. Brown rice requires more cooking time than white rice. The extra cooking time may cause the cabbage to overcook. If you do decide to give it a shot, instant brown rice might be your best choice.

Is the rice pre-cooked or does it go in raw?

The rice goes in raw.

Inside-out Cabbage Rolls

a top view of a pot of unstuffed cabbage (malfoof) with rice and ground beef
Unstuffed cabbage that tastes just like Mom’s…but without all the work.

Ingredients for Unstuffed Cabbage-Malfoof

In this recipe, pieces of chopped cabbage are added to ground beef and rice. You get all the taste of fresh cabbage, tender beef and tangy sauce in each bite without the hassle of rolling up individual cabbage rolls!

  • cabbage/ chopped
  • ground beef
  • cups short or medium grain rice
  • onions /cubed
  • garlic /minced
  • seven spices or all spice
  • sumac
  • black pepper
  • salt
  • olive oil
  • lemon juice

The Broth

  • warm water
  • bouillon cubes
  • seven spices or all spice
  • tablespoon garlic powder
  • salt

A Lip-Smacking Experience!

This deconstructed Lebanese stuffed cabbage retains all of the dish's delicious tastes without the hassle of folding individual cabbage rolls.
This hearty dish will satisfy your desire for a spicy meal with a piquant taste.

How to Assemble this Unstuffed Cabbage Recipe

Cabbage Stuffing

Boil 2 heads of cabbage until they get soft (about 30-40 minutes). Once done, strain then cut around the root of the cabbage.  Cut cabbage in half then cut in slices vertically then horizontally to chop into cubes. 

In the large pot you will be cooking in, mix the rice, ground meat, cubed onions, seven spices, sumac, minced garlic, salt, black pepper, oil and lemon. Then, add the cubed cabbage and mix well.

Pour the broth mixture over, mix over high heat for a good 5 minutes. Cover then simmer for 30 minutes. 

The Broth

In a large bowl, mix all broth ingredients and set aside. 

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Other Enjoyable Recipes

5 from 6 votes

Unstuffed Cabbage-Malfoof

By: Lama
This Unstuffed Cabbage-Malfoof recipe combines all the delicious flavors of stuffed cabbage rolls with a lot less time and effort.
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 10 servings


  • 1 cabbage heads, large
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cups short grain rice
  • 2 onions, cubed
  • 10 garlic, minced
  • ¾ tablespoon seven spices or all spice
  • 1 tablespoon sumac
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt, or to taste
  • ½ cup olive oil, + 2 tablespoons
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 cups warm water


The Stuffing

  • Boil 1 head of cabbage for 30-40 minutes or until the leaves get soft . Once done, strain then cut around the root of the cabbage then remove the root.  Cut cabbage in half then cut in slices vertically then horizontally to chop into cubes. 
  • In a separate large pot (easier to mix ingredients) add 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat. Add the onions to cook for about 3 minutes then add the ground beef and continue to cook for about 5 minutes or until meat is cooked.
  • Now add the washed and drained rice, seven spices, sumac, minced garlic, salt, black pepper, ½ cup olive oil oil and the lemon juice.  Then add the cubed cabbage and mix well.
  • Pour the broth mixture over. Taste the broth and adjust salt to your liking. Mix well while on high heat and the broth has come to a boil. Cover then simmer for 30 -35 minutes.  (You will notice that the rice will be moist when the meal is finished, that is perfect and how it should be served).

The Broth

  • In a large bowl, mix the ingredients until the bouillon cubes have dissolved.


Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container. They will last about 3-4 days in the fridge. 
Make Ahead Tips: You can  prepare the cabbage in advance and store it in the fridge. 
Substitutes: For best results, follow the recipe as is because it is measured perfectly. However here are some few substitutions:
  • You can use ground lamb instead of ground beef.
  • Avoid using brown rice because it takes longer time in cooking.
  • You can cut the recipe in half.


Calories: 323kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 32mg | Sodium: 1042mg | Potassium: 351mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 91IU | Vitamin C: 38mg | Calcium: 62mg | Iron: 2mg
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About Lama

I'm Lama, welcome to my blog where you will find simple and diverse recipes your entire family will enjoy. I am honored to connect with you through the recipes I prepare!

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    This recipe was delicious! I will definitely make it again! My neighbors usually make it with tomato sauce but i loved your version more! TY

  2. 5 stars
    This was the first time i cook malfoof and it was soooo yummy! Will definitely add this recipe to our dinner rotation!!

  3. 5 stars
    Thanks Lama for making our lives easier! This recipe is a life saver. I no longer have to spend hours rolling malfouf

  4. 5 stars
    Really yummy, made this recipe twice now. The first time I just used lamb and the second time I used beef . Both were perfect