Stuffed cabbage leaves

Jump straight into the Middle Eastern food hype with these gorgeous stuffed cabbage leaves baked in a fragrant tomato sauce
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Stuffed cabbage leaves

Try this traditional Labenese stuffed cabbage leaves dish from Salma Hage’s new book, The Middle Eastern Vegeterian Cookbook

Serves    4

Oven temp    200°c / gas 6

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  • You will need
  • Method
  • Green or white cabbage 1, leaves separated
  • Green lentils 120g, rinsed
  • Vegetable stock 250ml, plus a little extra
  • Onion 1, finely chopped
  • Parsley handful, chopped
  • Tomatoes 4, chopped
  • Garlic 2 cloves, finely chopped
  • Lemon 1, juice of
  • Olive oil 2 tbsp
  • Lebanese 7-spice seasoning or baharat 1 tsp
  • Salt and pepper

For the sauce:

  • Olive oil 1 tbsp
  • Onion 1, finely chopped
  • Garlic 3 cloves, finely chopped
  • Tomatoes 2, finely chopped
  • Tomato puree 1½ tsp
  • Tomato passata 150g
  • Lebanese 7-spice seasoning or baharat 1 tsp
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°c / gas 6.
  2. Blanch the cabbage leaves in a large saucepan of boiling water for 4 minutes, then drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
  3. Add the lentils and stock to a saucepan, bring to the boil, then simmer, covered, for 10 minutes, or until cooked through. Add more stock if necessary. Drain well. Transfer to a bowl and add all the remaining ingredients and mix together. Season with plenty of salt and pepper and set aside.
  4. For the sauce, heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, then add the onion and garlic and cook until soft but not browned. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for 2–3 minutes, then add the tomato puree, tomato passata, and 7-spice. Season well and set aside.
  5. Spread out the cabbage leaves on a clean work surface and divide the filling among them. Roll up carefully, tucking in the sides. Gently squeeze the packages to remove any excess liquid and then put them into a deep baking dish and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Pour the sauce over the stuffed cabbage leaves and bake for 30 minutes. Cool slightly before serving.

You will need

  • Green or white cabbage 1, leaves separated
  • Green lentils 120g, rinsed
  • Vegetable stock 250ml, plus a little extra
  • Onion 1, finely chopped
  • Parsley handful, chopped
  • Tomatoes 4, chopped
  • Garlic 2 cloves, finely chopped
  • Lemon 1, juice of
  • Olive oil 2 tbsp
  • Lebanese 7-spice seasoning or baharat 1 tsp
  • Salt and pepper

For the sauce:

  • Olive oil 1 tbsp
  • Onion 1, finely chopped
  • Garlic 3 cloves, finely chopped
  • Tomatoes 2, finely chopped
  • Tomato puree 1½ tsp
  • Tomato passata 150g
  • Lebanese 7-spice seasoning or baharat 1 tsp
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°c / gas 6.
  2. Blanch the cabbage leaves in a large saucepan of boiling water for 4 minutes, then drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
  3. Add the lentils and stock to a saucepan, bring to the boil, then simmer, covered, for 10 minutes, or until cooked through. Add more stock if necessary. Drain well. Transfer to a bowl and add all the remaining ingredients and mix together. Season with plenty of salt and pepper and set aside.
  4. For the sauce, heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, then add the onion and garlic and cook until soft but not browned. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for 2–3 minutes, then add the tomato puree, tomato passata, and 7-spice. Season well and set aside.
  5. Spread out the cabbage leaves on a clean work surface and divide the filling among them. Roll up carefully, tucking in the sides. Gently squeeze the packages to remove any excess liquid and then put them into a deep baking dish and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Pour the sauce over the stuffed cabbage leaves and bake for 30 minutes. Cool slightly before serving.
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Salcombe Gin & Paul Ainsworth

'Every Lebanese housewife (and some house husbands) has her own version of this recipe,' says Salma, 'but this is the one I make time and time again.'

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Salcombe Gin & Paul Ainsworth

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Salcombe Gin & Paul Ainsworth

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