Cabbage Rolls

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Cabbage Rolls are a traditional dish made with simple ingredients that come together to bring you warmth, flavor, and a balanced meal! If you are looking for an easy dish to add to your meal rotation then this recipe is for you.

cooked cabbage rolls smothered in red sauce on a round plate with a golden fork in it.
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Cabbage rolls have been a popular dish for a while, and for good reason! This recipe is simple to make, uses low-cost ingredients, and is a great comfort dish. The savory, warm pork and rice filling rolled up into cabbage leaves will have you full and satisfied.

This recipe uses nutrient dense ingredients to give you a deliciously balanced dish! Perfect for the colder months and easy on the wallet, cabbage rolls are a recipe you must try.

a fork full of cooked cabbage rolls smothered in red sauce.

What are Cabbage Rolls?

Cabbage rolls consist of boiled cabbage leaves filled with ground meat, rice, and sometimes other filling. They are then rolled up and topped off with a tomato based sauce. The combination of flavors has made them a popular dinner entree for decades.

Recipe Ingredients

Digitally labeled ingredients for cabbage rolls.
  • Green Cabbage—Try to pick a head that is larger in size so your leaves can hold more filling.
  • Ground Pork—This flavorful meat adds a juicy and savory filling to the cabbage. 
  • White Rice—Minute or regular white rice will work. You can use brown rice if you prefer.
  • Tomato Sauce—You will use this for the filling of the rolls as well as a nice sauce on top.  
  • Diced Tomatoes—For texture in your rolls and a burst of mild sweetness.
  • Garlic Powder—To give the pork a pungent and savory flavor. 
  • Onion Powder—For a sharp flavor to brighten the meat.
  • Chili Powder—To give the pork more dimension and a spicy undertone. 
  • Dried Dill—For an earthy taste to compliment the hearty filling. 

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

How to Make Cabbage Rolls

pan with ingredients in progress for making cabbage rolls.
pan with ingredients in progress for making cabbage rolls.

Step #1. Boil a large pot of water and add the cabbage. Once slightly softened, remove and cool the leaves on a plate. In a large skillet, cook the ground pork with dill, chili powder, onion powder, and garlic powder until no longer pink. Preheat the oven.

    Step #2. Once the pork is cooked, drain the excess fat and add the diced tomatoes, rice, and some tomato sauce. Stir to combine the ingredients. 

    cabbage leaf around meat and rice for inside the cabbage rolls.
    raw cabbage rolls in a glass baking dish smothered in red sauce.

    Step #3. Spoon some of the pork/rice mixture in the middle of each cabbage leaf and roll the leaves up like burritos. 

    Step #4. Place your cabbage rolls in a baking dish. Cover the dish with the remaining tomato sauce. Cover the baking dish with tin foil and cook until tender. 

      Recipe FAQs

      Why do I need to boil the cabbage first?

      It is important to boil the cabbage before using it to help soften the leaves. This will allow you to remove them off of the cabbage head without any tearing. You will also be able to fold and roll the cabbage leaf with the filling inside without it breaking. Depending on the size of your cabbage head, you may need to increase or decrease the amount of time it sits in the boiling water.

      What is the best way to remove the cabbage leaves? 

      The key to removing your cabbage leaves with ease is by flipping the cabbage upside down, and removing the core before peeling or cutting. You can use a knife to cut a cone-like shape around the core to ensure it is being cut deep enough to remove the entire core. Once cut, pull out the core and you should be able to pull off the leaves one by one, or you can cut them at the base to prevent any rips or uneven pieces. 

      Why are my cabbage rolls tough?

      If you find that the cabbage leaves are still tough and hard to cut or break through, this probably means that the cabbage is not fully cooked. Place the rolls back in the oven until the leaves are a bit more tender. It’s also important to give the rolls time to rest after they come out of the oven, and the cabbage will continue to cook slightly after you take them out. 

      cooked cabbage rolls smothered in red sauce on a round plate sliced in half.

      What to Serve with Cabbage Rolls

      Pair your cabbage rolls with creamy mashed potatoes, easy roasted cauliflower, or a slice of homemade bread for a cozy, comforting meal.

      How to Store Cabbage Rolls 

      You can store leftover cabbage rolls in the fridge for up to 4 days, and reheat them in the microwave for about a minute! Start with 30 or 40 seconds, and add additional time as needed to fully reheat the leftovers. 

      Expert Tips

      • If you can’t find ground pork then you can use ground beef! Either way, make sure you drain the excess fat once the meat is finished cooking so the filling isn’t too liquidy. 
      • I like to use a spatula to help make sure the tomato sauce spreads evenly over the top of my cabbage rolls. 
      • Be sure to place the cabbage rolls with the seam side down so they do not open or spill out while cooking in the oven! 
      • Covering the cabbage rolls with tin foil creates a pocket of steam that allows the rolls to become nice and tender! Your fork will cut right through them when they come out of the oven. 
      • We like to serve about 2 cabbage rolls to each person, so depending on how many people you might want to double the recipe.
      cooked cabbage rolls in a glass baking dish smothered in red sauce.

      More Dinner Recipes To Consider

      cooked cabbage rolls smothered in red sauce on a round plate sliced in half.
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      Cabbage Rolls

      Cabbage Rolls are a traditional dish made with simple ingredients that come together to bring you warmth, flavor, and a balanced meal!
      Prep: 20 minutes
      Cook: 50 minutes
      Total: 1 hour 10 minutes
      Servings: 4

      Ingredients 

      • 1 large head of green cabbage
      • 1 pound ground pork
      • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
      • 1 teaspoon onion powder
      • 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
      • 1 teaspoon dried dill
      • 1 14 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
      • 2 cups cooked white rice
      • 3 cups tomato sauce, divided
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      Instructions 

      • Boil a large pot of water. Once the water, add the cabbage for 8 minutes. After 8 minutes, remove the lettuce leaves and place them on a plate to cook.
      • Combine the ground pork, dill, chili powder, onion powder, and garlic powder in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the pork until no longer pink in the middle (about 7 minutes). While the pork is cooking, preheat the oven to 350°F.
      • Once the pork is cooked, drain the excess fat and add the diced tomatoes, rice, and 1 cup of tomato sauce. Stir to combine the ingredients.
      • Place about 1/3 cup of the pork/ rice mixture in the middle of each cabbage leaf and roll the leaves up like burritos.
      • Place your cabbage rolls in a 9×13 inch baking dish with the seam-side facing down. Cover the dish with the remaining tomato sauce.
      • Cover the baking dish with tin foil and cook for 50 minutes.
      • Serve immediately and enjoy!

      Notes

      • Covering the cabbage rolls with tin foil creates a pocket of steam that allows the rolls to become nice and tender. Your fork will cut right through them when they come out of the oven.
      • You can use minute rice or regular rice in this recipe. You can also use brown rice if you’d like.
      • If you can’t find ground pork then you can use ground beef. Either way, make sure you drain the excess fat once the meat is finished cooking.
      • Boiling your cabbage helps soften the leaves so you can remove and roll them without any tearing.
      • Store your cabbage rolls in the fridge for up to 4 days and reheat them in the microwave for about a minute. Start with 30-40 seconds and add additional time as needed to fully reheat your leftovers.
      • I like to use a spatula to help make sure the tomato sauce spreads evenly over the top of my cabbage rolls.
      • We like to serve 2 cabbage rolls to each person.

      Nutrition

      Calories: 226kcal, Carbohydrates: 50g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 0.3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.2g, Sodium: 1073mg, Potassium: 1184mg, Fiber: 10g, Sugar: 16g, Vitamin A: 1375IU, Vitamin C: 106mg, Calcium: 164mg, Iron: 4mg
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