Old Fashioned Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Discover the timeless comfort of Old Fashioned Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, a hearty dish that has graced dinner tables for generations. This traditional recipe, known for its tender cabbage filled with a savory mix of meat and rice, and simmered in a flavorful tomato sauce, offers a delicious blend of simplicity and taste that speaks of home-cooked perfection.

What Are Stuffed Cabbage Rolls?

Stuffed cabbage rolls, often referred to in Eastern European cuisine as Golubtsy or Golumpki, are a delightful dish consisting of cooked cabbage leaves wrapped around a variety of fillings. At the heart of this dish is a combination of ground meat and grains, often rice, seasoned with herbs and spices, then baked or simmered in a sauce. This dish not only provides a comforting warmth but is also versatile and can be adapted to suit different dietary preferences and flavors.

Ingredients for Old Fashioned Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

To prepare this dish, you will need:

  • 1 large head of cabbage: This will be used to wrap the filling.
  • 1 pound of ground beef: Choose lean ground beef for a healthier option.
  • ½ pound of ground pork: This adds juiciness and flavor to the filling.
  • 1 cup of cooked rice: Acts as a binder and extender for the meat.
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 egg: Helps to bind the mixture together.
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups of tomato sauce: Homemade or store-bought.
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar: This adds a slight tanginess to the sauce.
  • 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce: Enhances the flavor.

How to Make Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Step 1: Prepare the Cabbage
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Core the cabbage and carefully peel off the leaves, blanching them in the boiling water for about 2 minutes, or until they are pliable. Drain and set aside.

Step 2: Make the Filling
In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, ground pork, cooked rice, onion, garlic, egg, salt, and pepper. Mix well until the ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Step 3: Assemble the Rolls
Take a cabbage leaf, place a portion of the filling in the center, fold in the sides and roll up tightly. Repeat this process with the remaining leaves and filling.

Step 4: Prepare the Sauce
In a saucepan, combine the tomato sauce, brown sugar, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a simmer and stir until the ingredients are well blended.

Step 5: Cook the Cabbage Rolls
Place the cabbage rolls seam side down in a baking dish or large pot. Pour the sauce over the rolls, cover, and simmer on the stovetop or bake in a preheated oven at 350°F for about 1 hour.

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Step 6: Serve
Serve the cabbage rolls hot, with the sauce spooned over them. They pair wonderfully with a side of mashed potatoes or crusty bread.

Nutritional Benefits

Stuffed cabbage rolls are not just tasty; they are also packed with nutrition. Cabbage is a low-calorie vegetable high in vitamins C and K. The meat provides a good source of protein, while rice acts as a gluten-free carbohydrate, making this dish balanced and satisfying.


Old Fashioned Stuffed Cabbage Rolls are more than just a meal; they are a heartwarming dish that brings nostalgia and comfort to the kitchen. Whether you’re making them for a family dinner, a festive occasion, or simply to enjoy throughout the week, they are sure to satisfy your cravings for something deliciously homey. Try this recipe today and enjoy a classic that has stood the test of time!

Serving and Storage Tips for Old Fashioned Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Stuffed cabbage rolls are a delightful and satisfying dish that can be served on various occasions. Whether you’re hosting a family dinner or preparing meals for the week, proper serving and storage are key to maintaining their flavor and freshness. Here are some useful tips for serving and storing your Old Fashioned Stuffed Cabbage Rolls:

Serving Tips:

  1. Temperature: Serve the cabbage rolls hot. Reheating them thoroughly ensures they are warm throughout and helps to enhance their flavor and texture.
  2. Accompaniments: Stuffed cabbage rolls are traditionally served with a side of sour cream or a dollop of plain yogurt to balance the tanginess of the tomato sauce. For a complete meal, consider serving them alongside mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables, or a simple green salad.
  3. Presentation: Serve the cabbage rolls with some of the tomato sauce spooned over the top. Garnish with fresh herbs like parsley or dill to add a touch of color and freshness.
  4. Beverage Pairing: A light red wine, such as a Pinot Noir, or a crisp white wine, like a Sauvignon Blanc, can complement the richness of the meat and the acidity of the tomato sauce beautifully.

Storage Tips:

  1. Refrigeration: Allow the cabbage rolls to cool to room temperature after cooking. Then, place them in an airtight container with some of the sauce to keep them moist. They can be refrigerated for up to 3-4 days.
  2. Freezing: Old Fashioned Stuffed Cabbage Rolls freeze exceptionally well. Wrap each roll individually in plastic wrap and then place them in a freezer-safe bag or container. Pour extra sauce over the rolls before sealing to help protect them from freezer burn. They can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  3. Reheating: To reheat, thaw the cabbage rolls in the refrigerator if they were frozen. You can reheat them in the microwave, or for best results, cover them with foil and warm in an oven at 350°F until heated through (about 20-30 minutes). If they seem a little dry, adding a bit more tomato sauce or a splash of water before heating can help.
  4. Avoid Repeated Reheating: Repeatedly reheating cabbage rolls can cause them to lose their flavor and texture. It’s best to only reheat the amount you plan to eat.
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By following these serving and storage tips, you can ensure that your Old Fashioned Stuffed Cabbage Rolls remain delicious and fresh, ready to be enjoyed anytime. Whether freshly made or reheated, these cabbage rolls promise a comforting and hearty meal.

1. Can I make stuffed cabbage rolls vegetarian?

Absolutely! To make vegetarian stuffed cabbage rolls, you can replace the ground meat with a mixture of cooked lentils, chopped mushrooms, or a combination of both. These substitutes offer a meaty texture and flavor while being entirely plant-based. Just ensure to adjust the seasoning accordingly, as you might want to add more herbs or spices to enhance the filling’s flavor.

2. What if my cabbage leaves tear while I’m trying to wrap them?

It’s common for cabbage leaves to tear, especially if they are not blanched long enough to become pliable. If a leaf tears, you can either double up by adding a smaller piece of cabbage leaf to cover the tear before adding your filling, or you can use two smaller leaves overlapped to create a single larger wrapping surface. This helps ensure the filling stays secure inside the roll.

3. How can I make the tomato sauce for the cabbage rolls from scratch?

Making tomato sauce from scratch is simple and can be more flavorful than using pre-made sauce. Start by sautéing finely chopped onions and garlic in olive oil until translucent. Add crushed tomatoes, a pinch of sugar (to cut the acidity), salt, pepper, and your favorite herbs like basil or oregano. Let the sauce simmer for about 20-30 minutes to thicken and develop the flavors. For a tangy twist, a splash of red wine vinegar or lemon juice can be added.

4. Are stuffed cabbage rolls suitable for meal prep?

Stuffed cabbage rolls are excellent for meal prep. They keep well in the refrigerator and freeze beautifully, making them a convenient option for preparing meals in advance. You can make a large batch, eat some for dinner, and store the rest for future meals. When ready to eat, simply reheat them in the oven or microwave. For meal prep, remember to store them with a bit of sauce to keep them moist and flavorful upon reheating.

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