Cabbage leaves filled with a beef and rice mixture and baked in with a classic, easy tomato sauce.
We use a head of regular green cabbage and boil it in a large pot of water to make it tender. Many people freeze the whole head of cabbage and thaw it to eliminate the boiling step but I find the cabbage isn’t as tender this way.
My grandmother always used pork in her cabbage rolls so I use a mixture of beef and pork. You can use just one or the other (or any ground meat). Cooked long-grain white rice is added to the meat along with an egg to help it hold together.
- ▢1 head green cabbage
- ▢1 cup uncooked rice
- ▢1 pound ground pork (or ground turkey)
- ▢½ pound ground beef
- ▢2 small onions diced
- ▢3 cloves garlic minced
- ▢½ teaspoon dill weed
- ▢3 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
- ▢salt & pepper to taste
- ▢1 can diced tomatoes (14 ounces) with juices
- ▢1 egg
- ▢1 ½ cups + ⅓ cup tomato sauce divided
- ▢1 can tomato soup 10.5 ounces
- Boil cabbage leaves for about 2 minutes or until soft. (See note below for removing leaves). Set aside to cool.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Cook rice according to package directions but reduce cooking time by 5 minutes so the rice is slightly underdone. Set aside.
- Cook pork (or turkey), beef, onions, garlic, & seasonings in a pan until no pink remains. Drain any fat. Add in rice, diced tomatoes, & ⅓ cup of tomato sauce. Stir in egg.
- Mix remaining tomato sauce and tomato soup in a bowl. Spread a very thin layer of the tomato sauce mixture in a 9×13 pan.
- Remove or thin any thick stem on cabbage leaves. Lay the cabbage leaf flat and add ¼ to ⅓ cup filling to the center of the leaf. Fold in the sides and roll the cabbage up. Place seam side down in the pan. (See note for small leaves). Repeat with remaining cabbage.
- Pour sauce over the cabbage and cover tightly with foil. Bake for 75-90 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.
Tips for Great Cabbage Rolls
- For the most tender cabbage leaves, boil them in salted water.
- Cut 1/2 inch off the head of cabbage, the leaves will fall off as they cook.
- Once boiled, use a small knife to cut the thick stem of the leaf
- Overlap smaller leaves and fill, even if they’re not pretty, they’ll cook perfectly.
- Cabbage rolls can be frozen before or after baking.
- To remove leaves from head of cabbage, cut approx ¼” off the bottom of the head and place the whole head of cabbage in boiling water. Boil about 2 minutes. Peel off the softened leaves. Place remaining head back in the boiling water and repeat until all of the leaves are removed. Remove any tough stems from cooked leaves.