Stuffed Cabbage Rolls


It’s my week to host The Food Matters Project and I am sticking true to my tradition and choosing a dish I’ve never cooked. Last time around (almost a year ago! can you believe we’ve been at it this long?) I chose a Cassoulet with Lots of Vegetables. Killer cozy meal if you need to feed a large group!

I’ve chosen another dish that cooks in a tomato sauce, but it is so completely different. “Stuffed Cabbage Rolls” is the name and the version I cooked up is made with lean ground beef, scallions, peppers, and jalapeño stuffed in cabbage and simmered in a tomato sauce with cinnamon, cloves, and bay leaves.

I love the idea of a slow cooked “worked all day in the kitchen” meal, but I usually have NO excuse to make them… hence my picks for the FMP. As per usual Food Matters style, this dish is the healthier version of the stuffed cabbage rolls recipes you will find out there in the recipe world. I even OK’d it for the cleanse I am doing this week given the brown rice, it is a little bit of a cheat with the beef I know, but that’s why I didn’t go with the sausage the recipe calls for (which would be divine).

Head on over here to see the creative versions my fellow FMPers whipped up.

On a another note, we just wrapped up a fabulous weekend with Food Matters Project Founder, and my bestie, Sarah in Miami. She and Gregg were in town staying with us for a quick break from their NYC Pop Up Restaurant ABODE for the Miami Food and Wine Festival. It was a weekend full of sun, laughing, and great food of course!

Lunching at the SLS Miami with Sarah and Gregg

{Two things} 1. if you have not been watching them on The Taste where have you been!? and 2. if you are anywhere in the NY area grab tickets here to their pop-up because they are selling out quick. We are heading there this weekend and  I absolutely cannot wait.



Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 8-10 cabbage rolls

Serving Size: 4

recipe adapted from The Food Matters Cookbook by Mark Bittman


  1. Salt
  2. 1 large head cabbage (about 2 lbs), cored
  3. 1 cup brown rice
  4. 8 oz lean ground beef (a mix of sausage and ground beef would be great)
  5. 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  6. 3 mini bell peppers, diced (I used 1 each yellow red orange)
  7. 1/2 jalapeño, diced
  8. 2 garlic cloves, diced
  9. black pepper
  10. 2 28 oz cans diced tomatoes, with their juices
  11. 1 bay leaf
  12. 1 cinnamon stick
  13. 4 or 5 whole cloves


Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Place the cabbage in the boiling water and cook, turning it in the pot once or twice, until it begins to get tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the cabbage (do not pour out the water) and rinse the leaves with cool water to stop the cooking. Pull off the 10 largest, most intact leaves, then chop the remaining leaves and put them in a large bowl. Return the pot to a boil and stir in the rice. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes then drain.

Add the cooked rice, raw ground beef, scallions, peppers, jalapeño, garlic, and a good sprinkling of salt and pepper to the bowl of chopped cabbage and mix just enough to combine. Put a large spoonful of the rice mixture into a cabbage leaf, taking care not to overfill, and roll loosely. Shoot for 8 cabbage rolls, but if you have extra filling use more of the leaves. Put the rolls seam side down in the bottom of a large pot or dutch oven; it's okay to stack them on top of each other in the pot.

Add the tomatoes and their juice to the pot along with 1 cup of water, the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cloves, and some salt and pepper. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat so that the mixture barely bubbles and cook, undisturbed, for 30 minutes. Check to see if there's still liquid in the pot. The cabbage should be just submerged; if not, add a little water. Cover and cook for another 30 minutes before checking again.

When the rolls have plumped up and absorbed most of the liquid, and are firm, turn off the heat and let rest, for at least 10 minutes. Put the rolled cabbage in shallow bowls, removing the whole spices as your find them. Taste the pot juices and adjust seasoning as needed. Pour a big ladleful over the cabbage rolls and serve.


Slow Cooker Version:

I chose to do mine in a slow cooker. Same idea but you will want to heat the tomato sauce in a saucepan first unless you have a lot of time to spare.

It took 1 hour on high heat, sauce heated in a saucepan before pouring over the cabbage rolls.


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::: keelymarie :::


15 Replies to “Stuffed Cabbage Rolls”

    1. You could probably add an egg to the meat mixtures so it sticks together without the rice. The rice does soak up some of the sauce though so you may not need the cup of water.

  1. Love the jalapeno in there Keely! Thanks for the pick. It inspired me to host a dinner tonight with stuffed grape leaves. I’m looking forward to trying the rolls with cabbage too. Loving The Taste!!!!!
    Lexi recently posted..SEAFOOD PAELLAMy Profile

    1. Grape leaves are a popular substitute this week it seems! They were really good, so worth trying for sure.

  2. Thanks for a great pick, Keely! I have always meant to try this and I’m glad I did. I also tried it with collard greens and made a “burrito” with some of the filling today for lunch. I’ll take that any day over a flour tortilla burrito (at least when I am eating healthy at home……). Thanks for introducing stuffed leaves other than grape leaves to my diet 🙂
    Aura recently posted..Migas Breakfast TacosMy Profile

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