Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cabbage Rolls

This is my version of my mother's version of my great grandmother's Cabbage Roll recipe. These days my mother doesn't roll her cabbage, she layers the ingredients instead. It saves some time and still taste great, but I like the little meatballs that are formed inside the cabbage. I say try it this way first and then if it's too much work for you, layer.

1 lb Ground Meat - I use turkey. You can use beef, chicken, pork or a combo.
4 cloves Garlic - pressed or finely chopped
White Pepper
Smoked Paprika
1 green Onion - finely sliced
Fresh Parsley - chopped
3/4 cup Rice*
1 can Tomatoes
1 can Tomato Sauce
Garlic Chili Sauce (optional)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

As you wait for the water to boil, mix the first nine ingredients together and set it aside. Your hands are the best tools for this job.

Remove the core form your head of cabbage.

Submerge the cabbage head in the boiling water.

(I should of had a larger pot of water, so that the head was completely covered by water.)

Use tongs to remove each leaf, one at a time, as they soften and become loose. Roll the head around in the water to get the next top leave ready to fall off. This should only take a couple of minutes. You're not trying to cook the cabbage at this stage, your just removing the leaves. So, don't let the cabbage sit in the water too long!

Drain the leaves.

Mix the tomatoes, tomato sauce, and chili sauce together in a bowl.

Set up a work station with a large pot, the cabbage leaves, tomato sauce, and your meat mixture.

Place one cabbage leaf in the palm of you hand. With the other hand, grab a small amount of the meat mixture, about the size of a meatball.

Place the meat in the center of the leaf.

Fold the bottom of the leaf up and fold the right side of the leaf over, on top of the meat.

Fold the left side over.

Flip the cabbage over to finish the roll, you may have to flip it twice if the leaf is large. The meat should be completely surrounded by the cabbage leaf after you've rolled it.

Place the cabbage roll in you pot seam side down.

Repeat until you've rolled the first layer and placed them in the pot, then top them with some of the tomato mixture.

If you're making a large pot of cabbage rolls, then you would make another layer of rolls and lay them on top of the first layer and cover with more sauce.

Once all of the rolls are rolled, add enough water to the pot to half cover them. You only need to half cover them because more liquid will form as the cabbage cooks.

Cook the rolls over low heat until the meat and rice are cooked through, one and a half to two hours depending on how full the pot is.

Serve with bread, or not to keep it a gluten free meal, and enjoy!

*I like to parboil the rice because I use turkey which has less fat and cooks quicker, this way I don't end up with undercooked rice in the rolls. Just boil it for a few minutes, until it starts to soften.

This is my mother's recipe, as she gave it to me:

Cabbage leaves, parboiled and removed and drained
One pound beef mix with 3/4 cup rice, salt/pepper
1 can tomatoes 1 can tomato sauce
Roll meat mixture into leaves, place seam down in pot adding tomatoes over layers
Add just enough water to cover half way
Cook over low heat till done, about two hours
(Increase meat to rice mix as you want, might need two cans sauce and tomatoes)


  1. You know food was always important to us when the whole time in the car going to Grandma's in the summer we talked about the dinner she was making. Cabbage Rolls, pickled beets, creamed new potatoes and a whole table more. But these three I dreamed of. And of course the fried pies afterwards!

  2. Hooray for gluten-free, looks delicious!

  3. This is pretty much how my mother cooks these. It's making me homesick! I'll be making them this week - such delcious parcels.