Stuffed Cabbage

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stuffedcabbageStuffed cabbage invokes a lot of my childhood memories.  My mother and my grandmother would serve stuffed cabbage on every holiday. The smell of stuffed cabbage as it was cooking was irresistible.  I’ve met people who don’t usually care for cabbage. The two biggest complaints that they have with cabbage is 1) raw cabbage has a bitter taste 2) cooked cabbage alone reeks through high heaven. Luckily stuffed cabbage rolls made some of them reconsider their aversion to cabbage. Truthfully, I never liked cabbage as a vegetable but I won’t turn down cabbage salad or stuffed cabbage. Stuffed cabbage is normally served as a side dish or appetizer.  People mostly use a head of green cabbage which I did for this recipe.  For the filling they will use ground beef, rice, and chopped onion. For a healthier version, I used ground turkey and some chopped mushrooms to give the cabbage rolls a beefy flavor. I seriously considered using quinoa in lieu of rice but didn’t have any which would make it more Passover friendly (if you are of Ashkenzai Jewish descent).  This dish can be served at any time of the year with hot tomato sauce (I used crushed tomatoes to minimize the sodium content). You can serve this with sweet and sour sauce as well.

For this recipe, you will need:

  1. 2 lbs of green cabbage
  2. 8 cups of  salted water
  3. 1 1/2 lbs of lean ground beef or turkey
  4. 8 oz of mushrooms chopped
  5. 1 onion chopped
  6. 2 cloves of garlic grated
  7. 1 cup of cooked rice or quinoa
  8. 1cup of unflavored bread crumbs
  9. 1/4  cup of fresh parsley chopped
  10. 1 teaspoon of thyme
  11. Salt and pepper for taste
  12. 25 oz can of herb flavored crushed tomatoes


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Cut the stem from the head of the cabbage deep enough to start a separation of the very outer leaves from the core. Using tongs dip the head in boiling water. This will loosen three or four loosened leaves. Dip again and continue to remove the leaves. You will need to cut the stem as you go, until you have 18 leaves. Boil each cabbage leaf for 2 minutes until softened. Place on towel.

Saute mushrooms and onions in an oiled  skillet.  In a bowl, combine ground turkey, grated garlic, breadcrumbs, rice/quinoa, parsley, thyme, salt, and pepper in a bowl.  Add the mushrooms and onions and mix well.

Put 1/4 cup meat mixture in each cabbage leaf and roll. To roll put the meat mixture at the steam end of the leaf, fold the stem up a little then each side and roll.  Pour 1/4 cup of  crushed tomatoes in a large pot. Place a couple of cabbage rolls over the sauce. Repeat layer. Cook covered on medium low heat for 40 minutes to an hour, stirring and basting with the liquid.
Yields 8-10 servings

3 thoughts on “Stuffed Cabbage

    the winegetter said:
    March 20, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    My grandma used to make them, too. But we would have them with mashed potatoes and in a gravy style sauce. I miss them a lot.

      challahmaidel responded:
      March 21, 2013 at 12:41 pm

      My grandmother would sometimes use cranberries in the fillings which would give the cabbage a hint of sweetness and tartness. My Mom sometimes makes a sweet and sour rendition of stuffed cabbage which was just as good.

        the winegetter said:
        March 21, 2013 at 1:42 pm

        Yes, the possibilities are endless. And all are great. Will need to make them myself one of these days…

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