Old Fashioned Cabbage Rolls

healty meal, low carbs meals, keto meal

Old Fashioned Cabbage Rolls are a delicious and comforting dish made with tender cabbage leaves stuffed with a flavorful mixture of ground beef, rice, and spices, then baked in a rich tomato sauce. This recipe is perfect for a hearty meal that can be enjoyed any time of the year. Let’s dive into this classic recipe and learn how to make Old Fashioned Cabbage Rolls step-by-step.


  • 1 cup cooked long-grain rice
  • 1.5 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1.5 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and minced
  • ⅓ cup parsley, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried dill
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon red chili flakes (optional)
  • 42 ounces tomato sauce, divided (Three 14-ounce cans or roughly 5 cups)
  • 1 medium head green cabbage (about 18 leaves for the rolls and another 8 to 10 leaves for the bottom of the dish and over top)
  • 1/2 cup of water (leftover from boiling cabbage)
  • Fresh dill, chopped (garnish, optional)


Step 1: Prepare the Cabbage Leaves

  1. Boil Cabbage:
    • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Remove the core from the cabbage head and place the whole cabbage in the boiling water.
  2. Separate Leaves:
    • After a few minutes, the outer leaves will begin to peel away. Use tongs to carefully remove each leaf as it becomes tender and pliable. Continue until you have about 18 large leaves.
  3. Cool and Trim Leaves:
    • Place the cabbage leaves in a bowl of ice water to cool, then drain and pat dry. Use a sharp knife to carefully trim the thick vein at the base of each leaf to make rolling easier.

Step 2: Prepare the Filling

  1. Combine Ingredients:
    • In a large bowl, combine the cooked rice, ground beef, Worcestershire sauce, egg, minced onion, parsley, minced garlic, salt, black pepper, dried dill, onion powder, and red chili flakes (if using). Mix until well combined.

Step 3: Assemble the Cabbage Rolls

  1. Fill Cabbage Leaves:
    • Place a cabbage leaf on a flat surface with the stem end facing you. Place about 2 tablespoons of the filling in the center of the leaf. Fold the sides over the filling, then roll up from the stem end to the top, enclosing the filling completely. Repeat with the remaining leaves and filling.

Step 4: Prepare the Baking Dish

  1. Layer Cabbage Leaves:
    • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Line the bottom of a large baking dish with a layer of the remaining cabbage leaves (8 to 10 leaves).
  2. Add Rolls and Tomato Sauce:
    • Place the cabbage rolls seam-side down in the baking dish in a single layer. Pour half of the tomato sauce over the rolls.
  3. Add Water:
    • Add 1/2 cup of the water from boiling the cabbage to the baking dish.
  4. Top with Cabbage Leaves and Sauce:
    • Cover the rolls with another layer of cabbage leaves and pour the remaining tomato sauce over the top.

Step 5: Bake the Cabbage Rolls

  1. Cover and Bake:
    • Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 1.5 to 2 hours, or until the cabbage is tender and the filling is cooked through.

Step 6: Serve

  1. Garnish and Serve:
    • Remove the cabbage rolls from the oven and let them rest for a few minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh chopped dill if desired. Serve hot with a side of mashed potatoes or crusty bread.

Cooking Notes and Tips

  • Cabbage Leaves: Be careful not to overcook the cabbage leaves when boiling them. They should be pliable but not too soft.
  • Filling: Make sure to mix the filling ingredients thoroughly for even distribution of flavors.
  • Tomato Sauce: You can use your favorite brand of tomato sauce or make your own homemade tomato sauce.


Vegetarian Cabbage Rolls

  • Use Veggie Crumbles:
    • Substitute the ground beef with vegetarian crumbles or a mixture of sautéed mushrooms and lentils.

Spicy Cabbage Rolls

  • Add More Heat:
    • Increase the amount of red chili flakes or add a diced jalapeño to the filling for a spicier version.

Cheesy Cabbage Rolls

  • Add Cheese:
    • Mix 1/2 cup of grated cheese (such as mozzarella or cheddar) into the filling for a cheesy twist.

Serving Suggestions

With Side Dishes

  • Mashed Potatoes:
    • Serve with creamy mashed potatoes for a comforting meal.
  • Crusty Bread:
    • Enjoy with crusty bread to soak up the delicious tomato sauce.

With Beverages

  • With Wine:
    • Pair with a glass of red wine such as Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon.
  • With Iced Tea:
    • Serve with iced tea or lemonade for a refreshing drink.


Q: Can I make this recipe ahead of time? A: Yes, you can assemble the cabbage rolls and refrigerate them for up to 24 hours before baking. Add the tomato sauce just before baking.

Q: How do I store leftovers? A: Store any leftover cabbage rolls in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave before serving.

Q: Can I freeze cabbage rolls? A: Yes, you can freeze the cabbage rolls. Assemble and freeze them before baking. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before baking.

Q: What if I don’t have Worcestershire sauce? A: You can substitute soy sauce or omit it if you don’t have Worcestershire sauce.

Q: Can I use red cabbage instead of green cabbage? A: Yes, you can use red cabbage, but keep in mind that the flavor and texture may be slightly different.

Old Fashioned Cabbage Rolls are a delicious and comforting dish that’s perfect for any occasion. With their flavorful filling and tender cabbage leaves, these rolls are sure to be a hit. Whether you stick to the classic recipe or try one of the variations, Old Fashioned Cabbage Rolls are easy to make and always delicious. Enjoy making and sharing this delightful dish with your family and friends!

Recommended Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *