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Lamb-and-Feta Stuffed Cabbage

Scott Phillips

Yield: Yields about 30 rolls

Servings: 8

These stuffed cabbage rolls (known as lahanodolmades in Greece) are slow-simmered in a slightly sweet, ouzo-infused tomato sauce. Use only short-grain rice in the filling; long-grain rice takes too long to soften.


  • 1 large head green cabbage (about 3 lb.), outer leaves discarded, cored
  • 1 lb. ground lamb
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 oz. (1 cup) crumbled feta
  • 1/2 cup short-grain rice, such as Arborio
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds, crushed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 15-oz. can crushed tomatoes (about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup lower-salt chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup ouzo or sambuca

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 390
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 170
  • Fat (g): 19
  • Saturated Fat (g): 7
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1.5
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 9
  • Cholesterol (mg): 75
  • Sodium (mg): 670
  • Carbohydrates (g): 33
  • Fiber (g): 6
  • Protein (g): 18


  • Fill a tall, 8-quart (or larger) pot with enough water to submerge the whole cabbage and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil the cabbage until the outer leaves are bright green and start to pull away, about 4 minutes. Carefully pull them off with tongs and lay them on a baking sheet lined with a kitchen towel. Continue boiling the cabbage and removing its leaves in layers as they soften until the entire cabbage is cooked, 15 to 20 minutes total. Let cool.
  • In a large bowl, use your hands to combine the lamb, onion, egg, feta, rice, parsley, oregano, lemon juice, cumin, fennel, 2-1/2 tsp. salt, and 1ƒ tsp. pepper.
  • With a paring knife, remove the hard ribs from the cabbage leaves. Cut the larger leaves in half lengthwise.
  •  Coat the bottom of an 8- to 9-quart Dutch oven with the olive oil. Arrange several cabbage leaves on a work surface so they run lengthwise away from you. Working with one leaf, put about 1-1/2 Tbs. of the lamb mixture on the end closest to you. Fold the long sides in toward the lamb, and then roll away from you to enclose the meat. Put the roll in the pot, seam side down. Repeat with the remaining cabbage and filling, arranging the rolls in a snug single layer (if necessary, add a loosely packed second layer).
  • Combine the tomatoes, broth, and ouzo in a medium bowl and pour the mixture over the rolls. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce to a gentle simmer, cover, and cook, shaking the pot occasionally so the rolls don’t stick, until the rice in the filling is completely tender, 60ƒ to 90 minutes.


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Reviews (11 reviews)

  • ReneeGallant | 07/23/2020

    These are so delicious. I've made them many times, always a hit.

  • AFH | 10/26/2018

    I've made this recipe many times and it has become a family favorite! I frequently skip the ouzo and it is still delicious. For the cabbage, I found that boiling the cabbage and peeling the leaves off was quite awkward, tedious and time-consuming. I now use a different technique: I freeze the whole head of cabbage solid, then defrost it by putting it in a pot with 2 inches of water and steaming it. I pull the cabbage out when the outer layers are thawed, then peel the outer leaves off until I reach the cold layers underneath. Then I put the rest of the head back in the pot to steam some more while I stuff the leaves I've already peeled off. I find this process easier and faster than the boiling method. As an added benefit, freezing and steaming the cabbage really help the leaves become pliable while keeping them strong, so they become perfect wrappers: soft and bendable enough to be rolled and folded, but strong enough that they don't rip or tear.

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