Cabbage Rolls

As promised I’ve posted my cabbage roll recipe below! It was so nice to see how you all reacted to these, I had no idea so many people loved cabbage rolls! Now that I know that I’ll try post more recipes like this and other variations of cabbage rolls using red cabbage, different grains, flavourings like herbs etc. The concept is simple though so I encourage you all to create your own family recipe for cabbage rolls. There are a few tips that I recommend to making good cabbage rolls:

  • Use the freshest cabbage that you can find. Don’t use the half dry cabbage because the fresher the cabbage leaves are the more liquid and flavour they will give out. Autumn and winter are a great time for cabbage. Try using different sorts of cabbage like savoy or other.
  • Use all the leaves apart from the very first few outside ones and the leaves surrounding the centre core of the cabbage. I like to use most of the leaves and try to use the entire cabbage apart from the centre…I compost the first few leaves as they are just a bit too tough but the rest of the usable leaves I separate and blanch in hot water. Once they are all in the pot I recommend cooking the cabbage rolls for longer as the dark and stronger leaves do take a bit longer to cook just to soften them. Just test one roll after about 1 hour of cooking and decide for yourself if you would like the cabbage rolls even softer.
  • Don’t forget to season all the different elements and make sure there is enough liquid that just covers the cabbage rolls or 1 cm under so that the cabbage rolls all cook through evenly.
  • Some nice ingredients and flavourings I recommend experimenting with is using different sorts of grains (rice or millet) and using fresh tomatoes, cooked tomatoes, passata sauce, grated carrot or diced capsicums. Freshly ground caraway seeds are also a nice addition to the meat mix.
  • You can use pre cooked rice, half pre cooked rice or raw rice in the filling mixture.

Recipe for Cabbage Rolls

Prep time: 20-30 minutes

Cook time: 1hour – 1hour and a half  (This time depends on the leaves of the cabbage and the shape/form of your pot or baking tray)

Serves: 6 (These are great to have throughout the week so if you make a batch just re heat lightly before serving)


1 x large cabbage (First couple of outside leaves removed)

1 kg mince (beef and pork or just beef)

1/2 cup raw rice and 1/2 cup water (pre cook it or pre cook halfway, using raw rice will also be fine)

1/2 kg fresh small mixed tomatoes (roasted or fresh) (optional)

1 x large carrot (grated) (optional)

salt and pepper

Other optional extras: diced capsicums, chilli flakes, caraway seeds, passata sauce

To serve:

Sour cream/Greek style or European pot set yoghurt/Creme fraiche

Fresh herbs


  1. To pre cook the rice halfway – bring the water for the rice to boil, add the raw rice and cover with a lid and cook for 5 minutes on a low heat. After 5 minutes set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
  3. If you’re going to cook the cabbage rolls in the oven then preheat the oven to 180 degrees otherwise the most common method is to just cook them in a large pot on the stove top.
  4. Remove the first few outside leaves then separate each cabbage leaf until you get through most of the cabbage (I don’t use the central part of the cabbage as the leaves become too small – so just use as many as you can).
  5. Blanch the leaves in bunches at the same time in the boiling hot water for approximately 2-3 minutes. Use kitchen tongs to continually do this and set the blanched leaves aside in a bowl. You can also slice the centre out of each leaf so that it will be easier to roll or just thinly slice off the edge that sticks out. Don’t worry if some of the leaves tear a little bit.
  6. Make the cabbage roll filling by mixing the mince meat together with the rice and season with salt and pepper.
  7. On a wooden board start filling and rolling each cabbage leaf. Fill each leaf with approximately 1 heaped tablespoon of the meat and rice mixture then cover with the end of the leaf and fold in the two sides and roll. Place into a tray (if cooking in the oven) or a large pot (if cooking on the stove top). Place the cabbage rolls into your tray or pot and add the carrot and tomatoes to the pot of cabbage rolls as you fill them up, layer by layer. If you’re using any other of the optional ingredients that you like, add them at this stage. Once you’ve filled up the whole pot pour in the leftover blanching liquid (use enough liquid to cover most of the cabbage rolls).
  8. Cover with some foil (if using a tray) or cover with a lid (if using a pot). Bring to a simmer and cook on a low heat continuously for approximately 1 hour or 180 degrees if you are cooking the cabbage rolls in the oven.
  9. Serve in a bowl along with the liquid (optional) and top with sour cream and fresh herbs/chilli flakes.


4 comments on “Cabbage Rolls

  1. These looks great, in sweden we call them “Kåldolmar” kål=cabbage and dolmar after the arabic word dolme.

    1. Thanks for picking up on that!

      If you’re going to use the tomatoes, carrots or any of the other optional ingredients – just add them to the pot of cabbage rolls and then pour the blanching liquid over and just cook altogether. Add the extras as you fill up the pot with the rolls…that way the flavours are spread out and divided.

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