Stuffed Cabbage

The one other time I attempted making stuffed cabbage, I ended up with a bit of a mess because I didn’t know the trick to geting the cabbage leaves off the head intact and also pliable enough to roll and stay rolled.  But, this time – success!

I started with this Stuffed Cabbage recipe from, but, I made some changes, as noted.


* 1 medium head cabbage
* water to cover
* 1 pound ground beef  [I used 2/3 beef to 1/3 pork.  Farmland grinds them together for you if you ask, but you have to order at least 1.5 lbs, total. I got 2 lbs total and froze the other lb for a later date.]
* 1 cup cooked rice
* garlic powder to taste [1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh garlic and 1 tablspoon chopped fresh parsley]
* 1 egg
* 1 (12 fluid ounce) can tomato juice [a 26 oz jar of pasta sauce in lieu of the rest of the ingredients, except for a bit of water to cover.]
* 1 tablespoon vinegar
* 1 tablespoon white sugar
* water to cover


1. Place the head of cabbage in a large pot over high heat and add water to cover. Boil cabbage for 15 minutes, or until it is pliable and soft. Drain and allow to cool completely. Remove the hard outer vein from the leaves.
2. In a separate large bowl, combine the beef, rice, garlic powder and the egg, mixing well. Place a small amount, about the size of your palm, into the center of a cabbage leaf and fold leaf over, tucking in the sides of the leaf to keep meat mixture inside.
3. Pile up the filled leaves in a large pot, putting the larger leaves on the bottom. Add the tomato juice, vinegar and sugar and enough water to cover. Simmer over medium low heat for about 60 minutes. (Note: Keep an eye on them, making sure the bottom of leaves do not burn.)

The instructions for getting the cabbage leaves off really works.

the one cabbage from my garden
the one cabbage from my garden

First, I cored the cabbage.  Not a major operation, but just some of the inner stem.

kind of hard to see, but some of the core removed
kind of hard to see, but I removed some of the core

Next, I brought a pot of water to boil and gently place the cabbage in the pot.  Within a minute or two, the leaves started getting really loose.



I kept carefully peeling off the leaves as they loosend and, once I had about 14 leaves peeled off, I removed the rest of the cabbage and let the removed leaves simmer for another 5 minutes.  Then I drained and rinsed them in cold water.

In the meantime, I had to cook some rice.  I was disappointed that I had not thought to put the rice on sooner because I wanted to use brown rice and that takes longer than white rice.  But, I then noticed that there were microwave instructions on the long-grain brown rice package.   (Obviously not Lundberg brand – at least I can’t imagine they have microwave instrcutions on their rice.  I’ll have to double check one of these days.)

Anyway, I decided to try microwaving the rice.  Click HERE for the instructions I used.

Here is the deal.  It was passable for use in stuffed cabbage and the stuffed eggplant I make a few days later, but it really didn’t cook much more quickly than if I had cooked it stovetop.  And DO NOT microwave brown rice for use as a side dish!!!!  YUCK!  The texture is awful.

Okay, back to the stuffed cabbage.  After cooling the cabbage and mixing up the meat with the other stuffing ingredients, I put it all together. As noted in the recipe, just a plam-full is enough for each roll.


Then, roll away!






And here they are, ready to go into the pot.  By the way, that god-awful looking cookie tray and that scratched up red plastic thing is my “raw meat” cutting board.  I really need to get a regular board to dedicate to raw meat! But, in the meantime, it works and contains any straying liquids.  BOB, don’t read this!  Bob is is friend of mine who is vegetarian.  For a vegetarian option, tempeh, bulgar wheat, and/or ground/finely chopped seitan (wheat gluten) would be excellent in a stuffed cabbage.

The final step is to coat the bottom of a big pot (I used my 6 quart dutch oven) with a thin layer of sauce/juice, add the cabbage rolls, cover with sauce/juice, and add a bit of water if you need to have the liquid cover, or just about cover the cabbage rolls.


Then, simmer for an hour or so until tender.

I was pleased with the results, although both my husband and I noted that these were not like our Mom’s.  I will try it with the tomato juice/vinegar/sugar next time – unless I borrow back my Mom’s recipe box from my sister-in-law Lorraine and try my Mom’s recipe first.  (We take turns having the recipe box at each of our homes.) I am pretty sure her “Glopskies” had stewed tomatoes in them.  Hey Lori – remember Glopskies?  (Long story….BUT, that reminds me, I need to get the “girls” together to make what my Mom called Chris Chickies, a Polish version of bow pastries. )

ANYWAY – this is a great basic recipe for stuffed cabbage.  And the possible variations are endless for all, whether you are omnivore or vegetarian. A winner, all around.

[Disclaimer – I am way too tired to proofread this.  Please ignore typos unless they could cause an grievous error in the kitchen.  🙂 ]