Homemade Cabbage Rolls 

 Originally Written: September 8, 2009

By  Hanna Trafford

flick-cabbage-rolls-2-1You can buy these at a deli or your local market – or you can get a bit adventurous and make them! It’s really not that difficult and the advantage here is that you can put in meats and spices to your taste. I have found that when I buy them, it is always a surprise as far as the flavour goes – so I like making them and I really believe that if you try this recipe, you will keep on making them!

Cabbage Rolls:

2 heads of green cabbage

2 tablespoons of butter

2 large white onions, sliced

¼ teaspoon caraway seeds, crushed

¼ teaspoon of each salt and pepper

3 tablespoons of packed brown sugar

2 cans (28 oz. each) of crushed tomatoes


2 tablespoons of butter

3 onions, chopped

4 cloves of garlic, minced

½ teaspoon of dried thyme

Pinch of cayenne pepper

1/2 cup of long grain rice

1-1/4 cups of chicken stock

1-1/2 lbs. of lean ground pork and/or beef

½ cup of chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons of chopped fresh dill

1 egg, slightly beaten

¾ teaspoon of each salt and pepper

  • Directions:
  • Core cabbages and in a large pot of boiling salted water, blanch them one at a time for 5-8 minutes or until leaves are softened. Remove and chill under cold water.
  • Working from core end, carefully pull about 12 leaves from each cabbage, returning the cabbage head to boiling water for 2-3 minutes when leaves become difficult to remove. Drain leaves on tea towel or paper towel, cut out coarse veins and set aside. Reserve enough leaves from remaining cabbage to cover cabbage rolls in pan.
  • In large shallow Dutch oven, melt butter over medium-high heat, sauté onions, caraway seeds, salt and pepper for about 10 minutes or until onions are golden.
  • Add sugar and cook for about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes or until thickened. Set aside.
  • Filling:
  • In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat, cook onions, garlic, thyme and cayenne pepper, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until softened.
  • Add rice, stirring for about 1 minute. Add stock, bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. Transfer to large bowl; let cool for about 5 minutes. Stir in pork, parsley, dill, egg, salt and pepper.
  • Spread 1 cup of the tomato mixture in a 24-cup roasting pan or Dutch oven.
  • Spoon scant ¼ cup of filling into centre of each of the reserved cabbage leaves, fold one end and sides over filling and roll up. Arrange half, seam side down in pan, top with half of the remaining tomato mixture. Arrange remaining rolls on top, pour rest of the tomato mixture over top. Top with reserved cabbage leaves to prevent sticking.
  • Cover and bake at 350F for about 2 hours or until tender.
  • You can make these ahead of time if you need to – bake them and let cool. Cover and refrigerate for up to 48 hours, then reheat, covered in 350F oven for about an hour.
  • If you want to freeze them, bake them and let cool. Cover with plastic wrap and overwrap with foil. Freeze for up to 3 weeks, thaw in refrigerator for 48 hours, reheat, covered in 350F oven for about an hour.

Hope this recipe worked out well for you – please let me know – your comments, suggestions and experiences are always welcomed!


Hanna Trafford

Hanna is the mother of two grown sons Dan and Dusan Nedelko, and is also the Grandmother to Jax, Cohen and Mila. She is the lead editor of Mama Knows and is hoping to create an exchange of communications with other grandmothers, mothers and daughters - giving everyone the opportunity to learn and share about everything that is "Mama"

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