Cabbage Rolls

While perusing the interwebs for a recipe to make for St. Patrick’s Day, I came across one for cabbage rolls. Now, I’m no food expert, but these cabbage rolls didn’t seem to fit into the Irish food category. I did some research (aka Googled “cabbage roll”) and found out that cabbage rolls, according to Wikipedia, are “common to the ethnic cuisines of the Balkans, Central, Northern, and Eastern Europe, as well as the Middle East.”  The Wikipedia page goes on to list and describe several variations of the dish.

Cabbage Rolls

Cabbage rolls 2


  • 1 medium head green cabbage
  • 1 1/2 cups onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz each) Italian stewed tomatoes
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp (packed) brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 1/4 lb Italian sausage (I used ready-to-eat Italian sausage links and simply peeled off the skin)


  1. Place cabbage in freezer overnight. When ready to use remove from freezer and let sit for a few minutes to thaw. Peel off two outermost leaves and discard. Remove next eight leaves,  cutting through thick vein at base if needed. Set cabbage leaves aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over low-medium heat. Add 1 cup onion and saute until it begins to soften. Add the tomatoes, garlic, brown sugar, and 1/2 tsp salt to the pan. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring as needed.
  3. While sauce is cooking, combine rice, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, remaining onion and salt in a large bowl. Add the ground turkey and sausage and mix well.
  4. Pour about half of the prepared sauce in a large skillet. Place 1/2 cup of the meat mixture in each cabbage leaf and roll like a burrito. Place each roll, seam side down, in the skillet pan. Once all of the rolls are  in the pan pour the rest of the sauce over them.
  5. Cover and cook for about 1 hour over low-medium heat. Stick a meat thermometer in the middle of rolls to check for doneness (temp will depend on what kind of meat you use), and cook a bit longer if needed.

As I’ve mentioned before, I have a very finicky stove that thinks low means medium and medium means burn everything. Most of the cabbage rolls and the sauce burned onto the bottom of my skillet. I was able to salvage a lot of it, but was left with a very big mess. One good thing to come out of my stove misadventures: I’ve become an expert on how to remove burned-on gunk from pans and stove tops.

Despite the mess and work required to clean the pan, these turned out really yummy. I may try making the next batch in a crockpot.

Source: Adapted from Taste of Home.


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