Easy Way to Separate Leaves for Stuffed Cabbage

Detail Shot Of Cabbage
Matsuda Mashimaru / EyeEm / Getty Images

When you make stuffed cabbage, instead of boiling the whole cabbage head to remove the leaves, freeze it! 

Removing Cabbage Leaves the Old-Fashioned Way

Cabbage rolls exist in every cuisine but especially in Central and Eastern Europe.

One of the most tedious aspects of this recipe is blanching the cabbage head in a pot of boiling water until the leaves disengage from the core and can be removed one by one without tearing them.

Removing Cabbage Leaves with the Help of a Freezer

Now, with the help of your freezer, you can put the boiling pot away and have rollable cabbage leaves as soon as you defrost a frozen head. 

How to Do It

  • Remove the tough outer leaves, rinse and core the cabbage.
  • Pat it dry and place each head in a separate zip-top plastic bag and freeze.
  • When ready to use, defrost the cabbage and the leaves will peel off easily.

Cabbage Roll Alternatives

Even with this quick tip, stuffing and rolling individual cabbage leaves can become a time-consuming and tiresome project. Here are some cabbage roll alternatives:

  • Easy Unstuffed Cabbage Recipe: No blanching or rolling of the cabbage is required in this easy recipe that comes together with ground beef and chopped cabbage and onion but no rice.
  • Beef-and-Rice Unstuffed Cabbage RecipeThis recipe comes together quickly with ground beef, instant rice, tomato soup, chopped tomatoes, and onion.
  • Whole Head Stuffed Cabbage Recipe: In this Polish recipe, an entire head of cabbage is blanched and the leaves are removed. But, then the cabbage is reassembled on a linen cloth and each layer is spread with a well-seasoned beef, pork, and rice filling. It is reshaped into a ball, tied with butcher's twine, boiled, baked and sliced into wedges to serve. It's not a quick recipe but definitely a visual stunner.

    Unusual Stuffed Cabbage Fillings

    • Pork-and-Kasha Stuffed Cabbage RecipeYep, you'll have to roll the cabbage leaves the traditional way for this recipe from chef Marek Widomski of Cracow, Poland. But the filling here is rather interesting. It calls for buckwheat groats, also known as kasha, instead of rice along with pork and seasonings. A tomato sauce recipe is included.
    • Potato-Kasha Stuffed Cabbage RecipeThis Ukrainian vegetarian stuffed cabbage filling recipe calls for finely grated potatoes, onion, buckwheat groats, and sour cream.
    • Bread-Stuffed Beet-Leaf Rolls Recipe Here is another Ukrainian vegetarian recipe that calls for blanched beet leaves that are wrapped around walnut-sized pieces of yeast bread dough. If larger rolls are desired, a larger piece of dough is used, bearing in mind the dough will expand as it rises.