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Malfouf Salad (Lebanese Cabbage Salad)

Malfouf salad is a simple and delicious Middle Eastern salad. Each bite is bright and crunchy thanks to the crisp cabbage, fresh mint, and tangy lemon dressing. Try vegetable chopped salad for another cabbage salad recipe idea.

Malfouf salad in a bowl.

What is Malfouf Salad?

Salatet malfouf is a Lebanese cabbage slaw or salad made with a simple base of shredded cabbage and herbs dressed with a lemon and olive oil dressing. Malfouf has the perfect texture, making it one of my all-time favorite salads. It pairs perfectly with kabobs and Lebanese meals like mujadara and kafta.

Malfouf Salad Ingredients

  • Cabbage: I alternate using green and purple cabbage and buy whatever is on sale. Take the time to shred a head of cabbage on your own or purchase a pre-shredded bag for faster preparation.
  • Mint: My garden is brimming with fresh mint leaves in the summertime, and I love the way mint subtly flavors the dish and makes it smell fantastic! Fresh parsley is a tasty alternative.
  • Malfouf Salad Dressing: Combine minced fresh garlic cloves, lemon juice, high-quality olive oil, and a little salt to make a simple salad dressing.

Additions and Substitutions

  • Customize the salad by adding cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, radishes, or scallions.
  • Some Malouf salad recipes call for adding mayonnaise to the dressing.
  • If eating oil-free, salt the cabbage before adding it to the other ingredients. The salt will draw the water from the shredded cabbage. Massage the cabbage with the salt, as I do to make sumac onions or biwaz, to enhance this effect. Then, toss the cabbage with the lemon juice and mint leaves, leaving out the olive oil.

How to Make Malfouf Salad

The full recipe with measurements is in the recipe card below.

Step 1: Shred the cabbage and chop the mint. Add them to a serving bowl and toss to combine.

Cabbage and mint in a bowl.

Step 2: Add fresh garlic, lemon juice, salt, and olive oil to a small bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad and stir to incorporate.

Dressing in a small bowl.

Expert Tips

  • Shredding the cabbage is the only preparation needed for this salad, so keep a chef’s knife handy. Or reduce the prep time by shredding the cabbage with a food processor that has a grater attachment. You can also buy pre-shredded cabbage from the grocery store.

If you enjoy this side dish, pair it with one of these dinner recipes!

Malfouf salad in a bowl.

What to Serve with Lebanese Cabbage Salad?

Enjoy a simple and delicious salad with kebabs such as koobideh kabob, Joojeh Kabob, or beef seekh kabob and grilled meat dishes like al faham chicken or tandoori chicken tikka. Or you can serve the side dish with more traditional meals like kafta, mujaddara, falafel, and shawarma.

What to do with the Leftovers

  • Can I make the salad in advance? Prepare the salad up to 3-5 days before you are ready to serve. However, I recommend storing the salad and dressing in separate containers.
  • Refrigerate: Store the leftover cabbage salad in an airtight container for 3-4 days. The cabbage will lose its crunch after a day or two, but the flavor will deepen.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does malfouf mean?

Salatet malfouf pronounced ‘sah·lah·tet mal·foof’ means salad of cabbage in English.

How to thinly slice cabbage for salad?

I am sharing basic instructions for cutting cabbage for salad or coleslaw, but check out this tutorial from Home Cooked Basics if you are a visual learner. 

1. Remove any outer leaves that are wilted or damaged.
2. Use a chef’s knife to cut the head in half from top to bottom to prevent the cabbage from rolling.
3. Place the cabbage flat-side down on a cutting board and quarter it. Cut the root (the large white part) at the bottom of each wedge and discard.
4. Make thin slices across the width of each section, starting from one end to the other.
5. Rinse the sliced cabbage under cold water once shredded and pat them dry before adding them to the salad.

For quicker processing, consider using a food processor with a grater attachment to speed up the preparation time.

More Middle Eastern Salad Recipes:

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Malfouf salad in a bowl.

Malfouf Salad

Tressa Jamil
Malfouf salad is a simple and delicious Lebanese cabbage salad made with five simple ingredients. Pair it with roasted or grilled meat like kabobs.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 25 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine Lebanese, Middle Eastern
Servings 4 Servings
Calories 192 kcal
Equipment
Ingredients
  
  • ½ head green cabbage, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 1 garlic cloves, minced
  • lemon juice, 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup olive oil
Instructions
 
  • Shred the cabbage and chop the mint. Add them to a serving bowl and toss to combine.
  • Add fresh garlic, lemon juice, salt, and olive oil to a small bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad and stir to incorporate.
Notes
Expert Tips: 
  • Shredding the cabbage is the only preparation needed for this salad, so keep a chef’s knife handy. Or reduce the prep time by shredding the cabbage with a food processor that has a grater attachment. You can also buy pre-shredded cabbage from the grocery store.
Nutrition Disclosure:
  • The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for professional advice.
Nutrition
Serving: 1 Serving | Calories: 192 kcal | Carbohydrates: 20 g | Protein: 4 g | Fat: 14 g | Saturated Fat: 2 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10 g | Sodium: 511 mg | Potassium: 543 mg | Fiber: 7 g | Sugar: 8 g | Vitamin A: 3 IU | Vitamin C: 157 mg | Calcium: 9 mg | Iron: 10 mg
Did you make this recipe? Let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and follow @thejamilghar or tag #thejamilghar on Instagram!
5 from 3 votes (2 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating




Heather

Monday 27th of May 2024

I thought I didn't like cabbage, then I found this recipe. I ate the entire bowl of salad myself. This was amazing, and it converted me to a cabbage lover. I'm addicted

Tressa Jamil

Monday 3rd of June 2024

This is music to my ears! My in-laws didn't grow up eat cabbage and I have turned them into fans too. Have you tried this vegetable chopped salad? Pair it with my miso vinaigrette. I ate it for lunch everyday for like a month straight.