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Easy Stuffed Cabbage Rolls Recipe

Stuffed cabbage rolls may sound daunting, but they're surprisingly easy to make and incredibly flavorful. These rolls combine tender cabbage leaves filled with a savoury mixture of ground beef, rice, and onions, all tucked in a rich tomato sauce. The result is a hearty and satisfying dish that's sure to impress your guests. It's a classic comfort food with a twist.

Easy Stuffed Cabbage Rolls Recipe
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Most ingredients for this recipe should be readily available in your pantry. However, you might need to check for a few items like ground beef, a fresh cabbage, and canned tomato sauce. Also, fresh parsley leaves are used in this recipe, which may not be a staple for everyone; it adds a fresh, vibrant touch to the dish. Lastly, don’t forget the red wine vinegar, which lends a subtle tangy flavor to the tomato sauce.

Ingredients for Easy Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Butter: Used to sauté the onions and garlic for the tomato sauce. It provides a rich, creamy flavor.

Onion: Adds a sweet, caramelized flavor when sautéed. It is used in both the tomato sauce and the filling for the cabbage rolls.

Garlic: Gives a strong, pungent flavor to both the tomato sauce and the cabbage rolls.

Tomatoes: They form the base of the tomato sauce. Opt for canned tomatoes for convenience.

Tomato Sauce: Adds depth and richness to the tomato sauce.

Salt and Pepper: Essential for seasoning.

Brown Sugar: It balances the acidity of the tomatoes and vinegar in the sauce.

Red Wine Vinegar: Imparts a tangy flavor to the tomato sauce.

Ground Beef: The main protein in the cabbage rolls. It provides a hearty, meaty texture.

Cooked Rice: Adds bulk and texture to the filling.

Parsley Leaves: Provide a fresh flavor contrast.

Egg: It binds the ingredients in the filling together.

Cabbage: Used as the wrapper for the filling. It becomes tender and sweet when cooked.

Cooking Spray: Used to prevent the cabbage rolls from sticking to the baking dish.

One reader, Alyss Duval says:

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The easy stuffed cabbage rolls recipe was a game-changer for me! The tomato sauce was rich and flavorful, and the cabbage rolls were tender and delicious. The step-by-step instructions made the process a breeze. I'm thrilled to have found such a tasty and satisfying dish. Highly recommended!

Alyss Duval

Techniques Required for Making Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

How to prepare tomato sauce: Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, salt, and pepper to the pot. Stir in the brown sugar and red wine vinegar. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

How to assemble cabbage rolls: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Immerse the cabbage head in the boiling water and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until cabbage leaves are pliable. Peel 12 large leaves off the cabbage. Place the ground beef, rice, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, 2 tablespoons of parsley, and egg in a bowl. Add ½ cup of the tomato sauce to the bowl and stir to combine. Lay each cabbage leaf on a flat surface and use a small knife to cut a v-shaped notch to remove the thick part of the cabbage rib. Shape ⅓ of a cup of the meat mixture into a log shape and place it in the center of a cabbage leaf. Roll the cabbage leaf around the meat mixture and repeat with the remaining meat and cabbage leaves.

How to bake cabbage rolls: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9 by 13-inch pan with cooking spray. Place ½ of the tomato sauce in the bottom of the baking dish. Place the cabbage rolls, seam side down, in the dish and top with the remaining sauce. Cover with foil and bake for 60 to 90 minutes or until the cabbage is tender and the meat is cooked through.

How to serve: Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of parsley and serve.

How To Make Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Ground beef and rice seasoned in various herbs and spices are wrapped in cabbage leaves and smothered in tomato sauce to make these cabbage rolls.

Preparation: 30 minutes
Cooking: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 30 minutes

Serves:

Ingredients

For Tomato Sauce:

  • 2tbspbutter
  • ½cuponion,finely chopped
  • 1tspgarlic,minced
  • 28oztomatoes,crushed, do not drain
  • 15oztomato sauce
  • salt,to taste
  • pepper,to taste
  • 2tbspbrown sugar
  • 1tbspred wine vinegar

For Cabbage Rolls:

  • 1lbground beef,use 90% lean
  • 1cupcooked rice
  • ½cuponion,finely chopped
  • 1tspgarlic,minced
  • 1tspsalt
  • ½tsppepper
  • ¼cupparsley leaves,fresh chopped, divided use
  • 1egg
  • 1cabbage,head
  • Cooking spray

Instructions

Tomato Sauce:

  1. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until translucent.

  2. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, salt and pepper to the pot.

  3. Stir in the brown sugar and red wine vinegar. Bring to a simmer.

  4. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Cabbage Rolls:

  1. While the sauce is simmering, assemble the cabbage rolls. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

  2. Immerse the cabbage head in the boiling water. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until cabbage leaves are pliable. Peel 12 large leaves off the cabbage.

  3. Place the ground beef, rice, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, 2 tablespoons of parsley and egg in a bowl. Add ½ cup of the tomato sauce to the bowl. Stir to combine.

  4. Lay each cabbage leaf on a flat surface. Use a small knife to cut a V-shaped notch to remove the thick part of the cabbage rib.

  5. Shape ⅓ of a cup of the meat mixture into a log shape and place in the center of a cabbage leaf. Roll the cabbage leaf around the meat mixture. Repeat with remaining meat and cabbage leaves.

  6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  7. Coat a 9 by 13-inch pan with cooking spray. Place ½ of the tomato sauce in the bottom of the baking dish. Place the cabbage rolls, seam side down, in the dish. Top with remaining sauce.

  8. Cover with foil. Bake for 60 to 90 minutes or until cabbage is tender and meat is cooked through.

  9. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons of parsley, then serve.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 378.47kcal
  • Fat: 24.10g
  • Saturated Fat: 8.75g
  • Trans Fat: 1.05g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 10.48g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.99g
  • Carbohydrates: 24.30g
  • Fiber: 3.71g
  • Sugar: 10.23g
  • Protein: 17.26g
  • Cholesterol: 90.51mg
  • Sodium: 840.11mg
  • Calcium: 65.54mg
  • Potassium: 831.67mg
  • Iron: 3.35mg
  • Vitamin A: 129.03µg
  • Vitamin C: 29.60mg

Pro Tip for Perfecting easy stuffed cabbage rolls recipe

When preparing the cabbage for the rolls, it's important to blanch it properly to make the leaves pliable for rolling. To do this, immerse the whole head of cabbage in boiling water and let it cook for a few minutes. As the outer leaves soften, you can peel them off one by one using tongs, and let the next layer of leaves cook. This way, you'll get perfectly soft and flexible leaves that are easy to roll without tearing.

Time-Saving Tips for Making easy stuffed cabbage rolls recipe

Prep ahead: Prepare the tomato sauce and filling a day in advance to save time on the day of cooking.

Use a food processor: Use a food processor to quickly chop the onions, garlic, and parsley for the filling.

Freeze extra: Make a double batch of cabbage rolls and freeze the extras for a quick and easy meal later.

Cook the rice in advance: Cook a large batch of rice and store it in the fridge for quick use in recipes like this one.

Instant pot: Consider using an Instant Pot to cook the cabbage rolls more quickly and efficiently.

Pre-cut cabbage: Look for pre-cut cabbage in the produce section to save time on preparing the cabbage leaves.

Substitute Ingredients For Easy Stuffed Cabbage Rolls Recipe

  • butter - Substitute with olive oil: Olive oil can provide a similar richness and flavor to the dish while also being a healthier alternative.

  • ground beef - Substitute with ground turkey: Ground turkey is a leaner option and can be used as a healthier alternative to ground beef.

  • tomatoes - Substitute with canned diced tomatoes: Canned diced tomatoes can be a convenient substitute for fresh tomatoes, especially when they are not in season.

  • tomato sauce - Substitute with crushed tomatoes: Crushed tomatoes can be used as a substitute for tomato sauce, providing a chunkier texture to the dish.

  • brown sugar - Substitute with honey: Honey can add a natural sweetness to the dish and can be used as a healthier alternative to brown sugar.

  • cabbage - Substitute with Swiss chard leaves: Swiss chard leaves can be used as a substitute for cabbage, providing a similar texture and flavor to the dish.

  • onion - Substitute with shallots: Shallots can be used as a substitute for onions, providing a milder and slightly sweeter flavor to the dish.

  • garlic - Substitute with garlic powder: Garlic powder can be used as a substitute for fresh garlic, providing a convenient alternative when fresh garlic is not available.

  • rice - Substitute with quinoa: Quinoa can be used as a substitute for rice, providing a nutty flavor and additional protein to the dish.

  • red wine vinegar - Substitute with apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar can be used as a substitute for red wine vinegar, providing a similar level of acidity to the dish.

Presentation Tips for Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

  1. Elevate the plating: When presenting the cabbage rolls, focus on creating an elegant and refined presentation. Arrange the cabbage rolls in a circular pattern, ensuring they are neatly aligned and visually appealing.

  2. Incorporate vibrant colors: Introduce pops of color to the plate by garnishing with a sprinkle of freshly chopped parsley. This will not only enhance the visual appeal but also add a touch of freshness to the dish.

  3. Emphasize symmetry: Arrange the cabbage rolls in a symmetrical manner, creating a visually pleasing and balanced presentation. This attention to detail showcases precision and care in the plating process.

  4. Utilize negative space: Embrace the concept of negative space on the plate to allow the cabbage rolls to stand out. This minimalist approach draws attention to the main elements of the dish.

  5. Incorporate texture: Consider adding a delicate drizzle of olive oil around the plate to introduce a subtle textural element, enhancing the overall dining experience.

  6. Add a touch of elegance with microgreens: Sprinkle a few carefully placed microgreens on the plate to add a touch of sophistication and elevate the visual appeal of the dish.

  7. Focus on precision: Pay close attention to the placement of each component, ensuring that the cabbage rolls are meticulously arranged to create a visually stunning presentation.

  8. Highlight the sauce: Use a small spoon to delicately drizzle a swirl of the rich tomato sauce around the plate, adding a decorative element while showcasing the flavorful sauce.

Essential Kitchen Tools for Making Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

  • Large pot: You will need a large pot to blanch the cabbage leaves and to prepare the tomato sauce.
  • Knife: A sharp knife will be essential for cutting and preparing the ingredients, including trimming the cabbage leaves and dicing onions.
  • Baking dish: A 9 by 13-inch baking dish will be used to bake the stuffed cabbage rolls in the oven.
  • Cooking spray: Cooking spray will be used to grease the baking dish to prevent the cabbage rolls from sticking.
  • Mixing bowl: A mixing bowl will be used to combine the ground beef, cooked rice, onions, garlic, and other ingredients for the filling.
  • Foil: Foil will be used to cover the baking dish while the cabbage rolls are baking in the oven.
  • Pot: You will need a pot to prepare the tomato sauce and to boil the cabbage leaves.
  • Food processor: A food processor can be used to finely chop the onions and garlic for the tomato sauce and the filling for the cabbage rolls.
  • Flat surface: A flat surface, such as a cutting board or countertop, will be used to assemble the cabbage rolls.
  • Oven: The oven will be used to bake the stuffed cabbage rolls until the cabbage is tender and the meat is cooked through.

Storage and Freezing Instructions for Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

  • Let the cabbage rolls cool completely before storing or freezing.
  • To store in the refrigerator, place the cooled cabbage rolls in an airtight container. They will keep well for up to 4 days in the fridge.
  • For longer storage, you can freeze the cabbage rolls:
    • Place the cooled cabbage rolls in a freezer-safe container or zip-top bag.
    • If using a container, make sure to leave some space at the top for expansion during freezing.
    • If using a zip-top bag, remove as much air as possible before sealing to prevent freezer burn.
    • Label the container or bag with the date and contents.
    • Cabbage rolls can be frozen for up to 3 months.
  • To reheat cabbage rolls from the refrigerator:
    • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
    • Place the cabbage rolls in an oven-safe dish and cover with foil.
    • Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until heated through.
  • To reheat frozen cabbage rolls:
    • Thaw the cabbage rolls overnight in the refrigerator.
    • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
    • Place the thawed cabbage rolls in an oven-safe dish and cover with foil.
    • Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until heated through.
    • Alternatively, you can reheat frozen cabbage rolls directly from the freezer. Just increase the baking time to 45-60 minutes, or until heated through.

How To Reheat Leftover Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the stuffed cabbage rolls in an oven-safe dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until heated through. This method helps to retain the moisture and prevent the rolls from drying out.

  • Alternatively, you can reheat the cabbage rolls in a steamer basket. Bring a pot of water to a boil, place the rolls in the steamer basket, and steam for 10-15 minutes or until heated through. This method helps to keep the rolls moist and preserves their texture.

  • For a quicker option, you can reheat the stuffed cabbage rolls in the microwave. Place them in a microwave-safe dish, cover with a damp paper towel, and microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, or until heated through. Be sure to rotate the dish halfway through to ensure even heating.

  • If you have leftover tomato sauce, you can reheat it separately in a saucepan over medium heat. Once the sauce is hot, pour it over the reheated cabbage rolls for added flavor and moisture.

  • For a crispy exterior, you can reheat the stuffed cabbage rolls in an air fryer. Preheat the air fryer to 350°F (175°C), place the rolls in the basket, and cook for 5-7 minutes or until heated through and slightly crispy on the outside.

Interesting Trivia About Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

The cabbage rolls recipe is a traditional dish in many cultures, including Eastern European and Middle Eastern cuisines. It is a versatile dish that can be adapted to various dietary preferences, such as vegetarian or vegan options. The dish is often associated with comfort food and is a popular choice for family gatherings and celebrations.

Budget-Friendly: Making Stuffed Cabbage Rolls at Home

This stuffed cabbage rolls recipe is quite cost-effective for a household. The main ingredients, such as cabbage and ground beef, are budget-friendly and readily available. The addition of cooked rice and tomatoes further enhances the affordability. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people is around $15-$20, making it an economical choice. The dish offers a satisfying and hearty meal, earning a solid 8/10 rating for its balance of cost and flavor.

Are Stuffed Cabbage Rolls Healthy or Unhealthy?

The easy stuffed cabbage rolls recipe is a hearty and comforting dish, but it may not be the healthiest option due to some of its ingredients and preparation methods. Here's an analysis of the recipe:

  • The recipe includes a significant amount of ground beef, which is high in saturated fat and calories. Consuming too much saturated fat can increase the risk of heart disease and other health issues.
  • The recipe calls for white rice, which is a refined grain and lacks the fiber and nutrients found in whole grains like brown rice.
  • The tomato sauce contains added sugar and butter, which can contribute to excess calorie intake and may not be ideal for those watching their sugar or fat intake.
  • On the positive side, the recipe incorporates cabbage, which is a nutrient-dense vegetable rich in vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber.

To make this recipe healthier, consider the following suggestions:

  • Substitute lean ground turkey or chicken for the ground beef to reduce the amount of saturated fat and calories in the dish
  • Use brown rice instead of white rice to increase the fiber content and provide more nutrients
  • Reduce the amount of added sugar in the tomato sauce or opt for a low-sugar or no-added-sugar variety
  • Replace the butter with a healthier cooking oil, such as olive oil, to reduce the saturated fat content
  • Increase the proportion of cabbage and other vegetables in the recipe to boost the overall nutrient density of the dish
  • Consider using a smaller amount of meat filling in each cabbage roll to reduce the overall calorie and fat content
  • Experiment with adding other nutrient-rich ingredients, such as finely chopped carrots, zucchini, or mushrooms, to the meat mixture to increase the vegetable content and add more flavor and texture to the dish

Editor's Opinion on This Stuffed Cabbage Rolls Recipe

This stuffed cabbage rolls recipe is a classic comfort food dish that offers a perfect balance of flavors and textures. The tomato sauce is rich and tangy, complementing the savory beef and rice filling. The use of brown sugar and red wine vinegar adds depth to the sauce, elevating the overall taste. The cabbage rolls are tender and flavorful, and the addition of parsley brings a fresh, herbaceous note to the dish. Overall, this recipe is a delightful combination of hearty ingredients and comforting aromas, making it a wonderful choice for a satisfying meal.

Enhance Your Easy Stuffed Cabbage Rolls Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Garlic Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes with a hint of garlic, perfect for pairing with the savory stuffed cabbage rolls.
Roasted Brussel Sprouts: Crispy and flavorful brussel sprouts roasted to perfection, adding a healthy and delicious element to your meal.
Honey Glazed Carrots: Sweet and tender carrots glazed with honey, providing a delightful contrast to the rich flavors of the cabbage rolls.
Fruit Salad with Citrus Dressing: A refreshing and colorful fruit salad drizzled with a zesty citrus dressing, offering a light and refreshing accompaniment to the hearty main dish.

Similar Recipes to Try If You Like Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Savory Beef Stew: This hearty beef stew is perfect for a cozy night in. Packed with tender beef, potatoes, and carrots, it's a comforting and satisfying meal.
Zesty Lemon Chicken: Bright and flavorful, this zesty lemon chicken is a refreshing twist on a classic dish. The tangy citrus pairs perfectly with the tender, juicy chicken for a delicious and light meal.
Creamy Mushroom Risotto: Indulge in this creamy and rich mushroom risotto, made with arborio rice and a variety of mushrooms. It's a luxurious dish that's perfect for a special occasion or a comforting night at home.
Sweet Apple Crisp: Satisfy your sweet tooth with this warm and comforting apple crisp. The tender, spiced apples are topped with a crunchy oat and brown sugar topping for a delightful dessert.

Appetizer and Dessert Pairings for easy stuffed cabbage rolls recipe

Appetizers:
Stuffed Mushrooms: Create a savory and indulgent appetizer by stuffing large mushroom caps with a mixture of cream cheese, garlic, herbs, and breadcrumbs. Bake until golden and serve hot for a crowd-pleasing starter.
Spinach and Artichoke Dip: Whip up a creamy and flavorful dip by combining spinach, artichokes, cream cheese, and a blend of cheeses. Bake until bubbly and golden, then serve with crispy tortilla chips or toasted bread for a satisfying appetizer.
Desserts:
Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a rich and velvety chocolate mousse, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder for an extra touch of decadence.
Apple Pie: Savor the warm and comforting flavors of a classic apple pie, with a flaky, golden crust and a hint of cinnamon in every bite.

Why trust this Easy Stuffed Cabbage Rolls Recipe:

This recipe offers a delightful combination of flavors and textures, ensuring a satisfying dining experience. The tomato sauce is crafted with care, using butter, onion, and garlic to infuse rich, savory notes. The cabbage rolls are filled with a delectable mixture of ground beef, cooked rice, and aromatic parsley leaves, creating a harmonious blend of savory and earthy flavors. The cabbage is carefully blanched to achieve the perfect pliability for rolling. With a meticulous assembly and a slow bake in a flavorful tomato sauce, these cabbage rolls promise to be a delightful addition to any dining table.

Want to share your experience making this Easy Stuffed Cabbage Rolls Recipe or have any tips to perfect it? Join the discussion in the Recipe Sharing forum!
FAQ:
How long does it take to make the stuffed cabbage rolls?
The entire process, from preparation to cooking, takes around 2 to 2.5 hours.
Can I use a different type of meat for the filling?
Absolutely! You can substitute the ground beef with ground turkey, chicken, or even a plant-based meat alternative for a different flavor.
Can I make the cabbage rolls ahead of time?
Yes, you can assemble the cabbage rolls ahead of time and refrigerate them until you're ready to bake. Just make sure to add the tomato sauce right before baking.
Can I freeze the stuffed cabbage rolls?
Definitely! Once the cabbage rolls are cooked and cooled, you can freeze them in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Just thaw and reheat when you're ready to enjoy them.
What can I serve with the stuffed cabbage rolls?
These rolls go great with a side of mashed potatoes, a fresh green salad, or some crusty bread to soak up the delicious tomato sauce.

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