Cabbage Rolls with Ground Beef and Rice

Cabbage Rolls
Cabbage Rolls. Diana Rattray
    85 min
Ratings (21)

Cabbage rolls are my favorite comfort food, a dish my mother would make for special occasions. This recipe isn't exactly like hers, but it is very close. It's one of the highest-rated recipes I have! 

I have discovered another, much easier way to prepare the cabbage leaves. The night before you plan to make the cabbage rolls put the whole head of cabbage in the freezer. Take it out in the morning and give it the rest of the day or several hours to thaw. The leaves of the thawed cabbage will peel off easily and are flexible enough to stuff with no pre-cooking required! 

The meat isn't cooked ahead of time, to try to use lean ground beef to avoid the excess fat. I use 90% or 93%.

What You'll Need

  • 1 head of cabbage, about 1 dozen large cabbage leaves
  • Filling
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 3/4 cup cooked rice
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Sauce
  • 1 cans (8 ounces ) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup cold water

How to Make It

  • The night before you will be making the cabbage rolls, put a head of cabbage in the freezer. Take it out the next morning to thaw during the day. 

  • Peel about 12 to 15 large leaves off of the cabbage head. They should be flexible enough to fill without blanching.

  • If you are not working with a frozen, thawed head of cabbage, carefully peel off about 12 to 15 large leaves from the raw cabbage. Drop the cabbage leaves into boiling salted water; cover and cook for 3 minutes. Drain well.

  • Heat the oven to 350° F (180° C/Gas 4).

  • For filling, combine ground beef, rice, onion, egg, and salt, pepper, and milk. Mix well and divide into 12 portions. Place a portion of the beef mixture onto the center of each cabbage leaf. Roll the leaf around the filling, burrito style. Fasten the rolls with toothpicks. Place the rolls in a baking dish or oven-safe Dutch oven.

  • For the sauce, combine the tomato sauce, tomatoes, sugar, vinegar, and 1/2 cup of water; pour over the cabbage rolls. Cover and bake in the preheated oven for about 1 hour. Remove the rolls with a slotted spoon and discard the toothpicks.

  • Place pan with juices over medium heat or transfer the juices to a saucepan and place over medium heat; stir cornstarch and water mixture into the sauce; bring to a boil and cook until thickened.

  • Serve the cabbage rolls with the sauce.

  • Serves 6.

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