Greek Meatless Stuffed Cabbage Rolls With Rice

Stuffed Cabbages
© Sergey Kashkin / Getty Images
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 40 mins
Servings: 10 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
316 Calories
18g Fat
38g Carbs
7g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10
Amount per serving
Calories 316
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 18g 23%
Saturated Fat 2g 12%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1311mg 57%
Total Carbohydrate 38g 14%
Dietary Fiber 10g 34%
Total Sugars 15g
Protein 7g
Vitamin C 182mg 911%
Calcium 237mg 18%
Iron 1mg 8%
Potassium 1052mg 22%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

These Greek stuffed cabbage rolls without meat are called lahanodolmathes orphana (in Greek: λαχανοντολμάδες ορφανά, pronounced lah-hah-no-dol-MAH-thes or-fah-NAH). The word "orphana" means "orphaned," and in Greek cooking refers to a dish that can be made with meat—this recipe, however, is made without meat.

Cabbage is a favorite winter food, and this meatless recipe is delightful and a Lenten favorite. These cabbage rolls are delicious as a main dish but can be made using small pieces of the cabbage leaf to create small rolls that are perfect as a side dish, addition to a buffet table, or appetizer. Try them also using ​chard leaves and Romaine lettuce leaves.


For the Stuffing:

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped

  • 2 cups rice, preferably long grain

  • 3 medium ripe tomatoes, finely chopped

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

  • 2/3 cup finely chopped zucchini, or Italian squash

  • 2 tablespoons sea salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 2/3 cup olive oil

For the Rolls:

  • 30 large cabbage, chard, or Romaine leaves

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 cup water, more as needed

  • 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Steps to Make It

Make the Stuffing

  1. Combine onion, rice, tomatoes, dill, parsley, zucchini, salt, pepper, cumin, and 2/3 cup olive oil in a bowl. Mix well.

Prepare Cabbage Leaves

  1. Remove the core of the cabbage and discard. Stick a large fork into the center of the cabbage head.

  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and immerse the cabbage, leaving the fork in.

  3. When the outer leaves turn bright green, remove the cabbage using the fork; detach softened leaves and set aside.

  4. Return cabbage head to the pot and repeat process until all cabbage leaves have been removed.

  5. If using other types of leaves, blanch leaves in hot water until they soften and turn a darker green. Remove thick stems if necessary. To use large chard leaves, cut in half and fill each half.

Prepare Rolls

  1. If making large cabbage rolls, use the whole leaf (or half of the large leaves). If making small rolls, tear leaves into 4 parts (for smaller leaves, tear into fewer pieces).

  2. For large rolls, place a heaping tablespoon of filling 1 inch from the thick end of the cabbage leaf. Fold the bottom over the filling, fold the sides in, and roll up.

  3. For small rolls, place 1 teaspoon of filling on one side of the leaf part, fold the leaf up over the filling, fold in sides, and roll up. Don't roll too tightly. The rice will need some room to expand during cooking.

  4. Line the bottom of a large pot with any torn or unused leaves (and trimmed thick stems) and drizzle with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

  5. Place rolls closely together, seam-side down in the pot in 2 to 3 layers, as needed.

  6. Cover with a plate that fits over the rolls, turned upside down.

  7. Place the pot over medium heat and bring to a full boil (it will boil with its own liquid).

  8. Add 1 cup of water (or enough to cover the rolls); when it resumes a full boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, long enough for the rice to cook.

  9. Test to make sure rice is fully cooked. Remove the plate.

  10. In a small bowl, stir the flour into the lemon juice until dissolved. Add several tablespoons of liquid from the pot and stir to combine.

  11. Pour lemon juice mixture into the pot and shake the pot gently to distribute. Let sit 10 to 20 minutes before serving.

  12. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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