Meat or Vegetable Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Meat or Vegetable Stuffed Cabbage Rolls are a delicious way to please both Paleo and plant based eaters! This recipe for Traditional Stuffed Cabbage Rolls is a family heirloom passed down from my Nana to my mom and then me.  It holds deliciously fond memories of family gatherings! When growing up, my mom and Nana made these meat stuffed cabbage rolls often and for good reason, it not only tasted yummy, it was a an easy one pot that could be made ahead and even frozen and reheated for later eating!

Cabbage is a wonderful green vegetable that gets overlooked a lot- and for good reason! It comes with a stinky stigma! Hello… GAS explosions! BUT hold off on the potential, not everyone gets gassy after eating!  It’s benefits far out-way it’s stinking possibilities for sure! AS part of the cruciferous family, its well known anti-cancerous and healthy benefits, are so worthy of eating! Perhaps your gut needs a little help, even understand why you get gas after eating any cruciferous veggies…  It could possibly have to do with leaky gut or and imbalance with your digestive enzymes. 

Cabbages are nutrient powerhouses and anti everything vegetable, AND it’s so very versatile! Serve cabbage stuffed, baked, sautéed or raw in a slaw or fermented in sauerkraut or Kim Chi.  That’s just a few ideas! What’s your favorite way to prepare and eat cabbage? Pegs loves to simply sautée or boil it and then… top with a wonderful beneficial butta then sprinkled with Maldon or Celtic Sea salt! OH YUM!!! It can be a bit addictive when eaten this way, so beware, as with any good thing, there is a point of over doing it! And then, well, let the eruptions flow! LOL Its worth it! Need more reasons why we all should add more cruciferous veggies into our life? Check out this article.

More wonderful ways to eat cabbage!  Saint Patricks Day Boiled cabbage and corned beef dinner. Another fun dinner to celebrate the other half of our family’s heritage.  Our famous cole slaw is wonderful for our Sunday Burger nite!  

Watch Pegs make both meat and vegetable Stuffed Cabbage Rolls LIVE on their Instagram IGTV page! 

Meat Cabbage Rolls Ingredients:

1-2 Head Cabbage, parboiled

1 lb. ground chicken or grass fed beef                      

½ uncooked rice or par cooked rice ( par cooked is about 1/2 way through cooking, drained)

1 Onion, red or brown, minced or grated for filling

2-3 small garlic cloves, minced                                    

¼ C Brown or coconut sugar                                                                                       

1 Egg or 1 flax egg for binding ( 1 Tbsp. fresh ground flax seeds and 2-3 Tbsp water mixed together to create a flax “egg”)

1/2 tsp. ground fennel

1/2  C Water                                                        

1 15 oz. Can Tomato Sauce ( use the larger can if you have more rolls and you want to freeze some.)                  

1 tsp. Sea Salt 

1/4 – 1/2 tsp. ground pepper or fresh ground

1 tsp. Caraway or fennel seeds: Pegs prefers fennel seeds, but caraway is traditional.

½ Cup Sauerkraut, rinsed and squeezed (optional)                                             

1 onion brown or red onion, sliced for bottom of baking pan


  1. Core cabbage. In a large stock pot using a steamer or or not, add cabbage to boiling water. Steam or boil until the leaves begin to peel and separate. Once wilted, carefully remove leaves from water and place into a colander. Leaves are delicate so be gentle. Let cabbage cool.
  2. In a large bowl, combine ground chicken, uncooked or par cooked rice, salt pepper to taste, onion, garlic, egg and peppers.   Mix well.
  3. Form the mixture into ½ Cup balls, place in thick part of cabbage leaf and tuck sides in and flip once. 
  4. Layer bottom of 9 x 13 baking dish w/ sauerkraut, remaining cabbage that you did not use to stuff, and sliced onions.  Place all stuffed rolls over shredded cabbage and onions and sprinkle with caraway or fennel seeds.  Combine tomato sauce, water, and brown sugar and pour over rolls. 

Cooking Tester TIP!

If possible, make a small roll as your tester with the meat and rice. When checking to see if its done, pull out your small tester. Brown rice takes a bit longer than white and if rice is uncooked or partially cooked its good to know. Rice and ovens all cook differently.  So having a tester allows you to check it out without messing with a larger rolls. The meat rolls should feel firm to the touch or firm when poked. Just like a meatball. 

If using raw or partial cooked rice with ground meat: bake covered in a preheated 350-degree oven for 1 hour. Check to see if it the rice needs more time. You can also cook it at a lower temp for 2-3 hours @ 250-degrees.

If using almost cooked rice or leftover rice with ground meat: bake covered in a preheated 350-degree oven for 40-45 minutes until hot and bubbly. 

If using almost cooked rice or leftover rice with cooked veggies: bake covered in a preheated 350-degree oven for about 40 minutes until hot and sauce bubbles. 

Vegetable Cabbage Rolls Filling Ingredients:

1 cup diced mushrooms ( brown or shiitake)

1 small onion, minced

2-3 garlic or shallot, minced 

1 medium carrot, diced

1 medium zucchini, diced

1 Cup riced cauliflower

1 Cup cooked short-grain brown rice

1/2 Cup beluga or French lentil, cooked

1/4 up toasted and ground sunflower seeds

1 egg

1/4 up coconut sugar

1 tsp. Celtic sea salt

1/2 tsp. ground fennel

Fresh ground pepper to taste

Optional: 1/2 Cup red or green bell pepper (traditional) 

Vegetable Cabbage Rolls Method: 

Follow the meat cabbage rolls method for wilted cabbage leaves, making the simple tomato sauce and baking. 

One comment on "Meat or Vegetable Stuffed Cabbage Rolls"
  1. Curry Girls Kitchen August 31, 2015

    You can mail us or ask here, what else you would like to know about cabbage 🙂 XOXO

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