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Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

This recipe is a revisited version of the cabbage rolls I've done before. I've always done the rolls with cooked meat, sautéed veggies and cooked rice. This version is closer to the authentic version of cabbage rolls. I use fresh, uncooked ground beef, fresh chopped vegetables and cooked rice for the stuffing and allow the stuffing to cook inside the rolls and then I made a fresh tomato purée as a topping.


500g fresh ground beef (lamb or pork can be used)

1 medium yellow onion diced in small pieces

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley

1/2 tbsp fresh chopped oregano

Salt & pepper to taste (I use red pepper flakes)

2 tbsps milk

2 tbsps good quality maple syrup

1 large head of cabbage, whole and cored

Paprika (to taste for garnish)

2 tbsps butter

1-1/2 cups cooked rice, either white or brown

Tomato Purée

2 ripe plum tomatoes, diced

1 small red onion chopped

Salt & Pepper to taste

1 tsp sugar

1 tbsp creme fraiche


In a large bowl combine meat, spices milk and rice. Blend well but don't over work the meat. It makes the stuffing dry and too tight. Cover with plastic wrap and rest in the refrigerator for at least 1/2 hour.

In a large pot of salted water place cabbage, whole, cored side down covered and bring water up to just before boiling. Turn off and leave covered just long enough for leaves to loosen easily and become slightly flexible for wrapping. When it's cooled enough to handle, remove from pot let it drain and slowly. Work off the loose leaves, whole.

Preheat oven to 195C. I use a clean kitchen towel to work on making my rolls. Place a leaf so that it cups upward. I put about 2 rounded of tbsps of meat onto the thick part of the leaf and do an egg roll type roll, folding in the side as I go along. And place them close together in the baking dish.

Drizzle the maple syrup over the rolls, sprinkle with more salt and pepper and put pats of butter on each roll. Sprinkle paprika powder over the tops.

Cover tightly and bake for 35-40 minutes

In a food processor or blender purée the tomatoes, onions, salt, pepper, sugar and creme fraiche. Spoon the mixture over the rolls and bake for another 10-15 minutes uncovered. I also top with some chunky pieces of red onion for texture. I like to serve these with sautéed red new potatoes. You can have them with any side you like or just on their own

This is my variation of a dish I learned from a dear friend in Finland many years ago. It's a favorite in our household and I know you'll love it too. These rolls can be made, baked and frozen for later. Make the tomato purée before reheating.

If you make the dish, please share it with me. I'd love to know any changes or vegan/vegetarian versions you may come up with. Now, go cook, eat and start a revolution!

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