About this Recipe
Cabbage rolls are an easy cabbage recipe the whole family can enjoy. Cabbage rolls are delicious, the fillings will vary from recipe to recipe and they are a great recipe idea for Sunday dinners. This easy cabbage recipe uses savoy cabbage, onion and butter, cooked rice and is topped with tomato sauce. This is a meatless recipe for the stuffing, and we do give an option in the recipe to roast a Farmers sausage on top if you want to serve meat with this dish. When you slice and roast the sausage on the top of the cabbage rolls, the juices work their way down and immerse in the flavors. This family-friendly meal idea is so easy to make. The nice thing about cabbage rolls is that they are even better the next day, so you can pack in in your lunch or reheat for supper the next day. You can also use regular cabbage in the recipe. Our mother was Ukrainian and this is the recipe she used and we ate all our life.
When we started to use the freezing method for preparing the cabbage, we felt life got a whole lot easier and the process quicker. Plus, you don't have the smell of the boiling cabbage in the kitchen.
1. Freeze your cabbage ahead of time.
2. Remove the frozen cabbage from the freezer and place it into a large bowl of hot water. This does not need to be boiling water, just hot. It is easiest to do this right in the kitchen sink. Use a paring knife to slice off the hard base of the cabbage leaves row by row and peel the leaves off one at a time.
3. If your cabbage leaves are really large like the outside leaves often are, you will need to slice them in half on the spine, being sure to remove the spine and discard the spine. If the leaves are too large you are going to end up with a few monster cabbage rolls and the rest smaller. It is nice to try to get them to look a similar size for serving.
4. Serve with sour cream.
5. You can make cabbage rolls ahead of time. It works equally well to pre-cook then reheat the cabbage rolls, or refrigerate or freeze rolled and ready cabbage rolls and bake at serving time.
6. Cabbage rolls freeze very well.
7. You can use either canned tomato soup plus one can of water or a nice flavored tomato sauce. We like Hunts original tomato sauce flavor the best. Some people use stewing tomatoes or a combination of both.
8. The other method to prepare the cabbage leaves is to boil the fresh head of cabbage in a large pot of water and keep cutting off the outside leaves from the core as they cook. Place the cooked leaves into a bowl and keep going with the process until all the leaves are released from the cabbage. Pouring boiling water over the separated leaves sitting in the bowl and letting them sit a few minutes in the boiling water will make them extra tender.
Makes 20-40 cabbage rolls, depending on the size of the cabbage leaves
1 large head of savoy cabbage or 2 medium size heads, OR regular cabbage (frozen for at least a full day so it freezes all the way through)
6 cups pre-cooked rice (about 3 cups uncooked)
2 Tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, diced
1 teaspoon salt
1 tetra pack(946 ml) tomato sauce (4 cups)
Optional* 500gram Farmers sausage rings
1. The day before place a head of cabbage into the freezer.
2. On the day you cook the cabbage rolls, you will preheat oven to 350 degrees F. But, not until all the cabbage rolls are rolled and ready. The process of actually making cabbage rolls takes some time to do. Have ready a roasting pan large enough for the amount of cabbage rolls you are making or you can do it in two smaller roasting pans.
3. To start, cook the rice. Follow the directions on the rice package but it is generally two cups water for each one cup of rice. We use a rice cooker. If you are doing in a pot, measure the rice and the water into a medium size pot. Bring to a boil, uncovered. Once it boils, reduce to a simmer and cover for 15-20 minutes until cooked. Shut off and set aside when ready.
4. Meanwhile chop and saute the diced onions in butter over medium high heat until they are golden brown. Once they are brown, spoon into the cooked rice and stir to combine. Stir in the salt. The filling is now ready for rolling into the cabbage leaves. Do a taste test and add seasonings if desired.
5. Remove the frozen cabbage from the freezer and place it into a large bowl of hot water. This is easiest done in the kitchen sink.
6. Use a knife to cut out the core of the cabbage. Remove the leaves one at a time and place on a paper towel to dry. Carefully cut away any hard part of the cabbage stem. When you get to a point in the cabbage where the leaves are too small to use, you can save that portion of the cabbage to freeze and use for homemade soup or lazy cabbage rolls. If the water cools off and the cabbage is not coming apart easily, add more hot water from the tap. It does not need to be boiling water. The process works great with hot tap water.
7. One at a time, fill each cabbage leaf with a big spoonful of filling. Pat the filling nice and tight. You will judge how much by the size of the cabbage leaf. You will know if you put too much as you won’t be able to easily tuck in the sides.
8. Roll at the center of the leaf first, fold in both of the sides of the leaf and then continue to roll up the cabbage, encompassing the filling.
9. Line the bottom of the cooking pan with a few of the cabbage leaves that were too small for rolling. This just helps to keep the cabbage rolls from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Spoon a thin layer of tomato sauce next.
10. Place the prepared rolled up cabbage roll into your casserole dish. Continue rolling and place the cabbage rolls closely together. When one row is done, spoon on more tomato sauce and do the next row. Top with remaining tomato sauce.
11. If you are using sausage, slice it into rounds and then place on top of the cabbage rolls for baking.
12. If your pans have a lid, cover and if not, cover with aluminum foil.
13. Cover with a lid or tinfoil and bake for 45 minutes. Serve and Enjoy!
Cabbage rolls have been around for centuries. They to going back at least two thousand years as part of the Jewish tradition.
The sauce and filling will be the things that will vary from culture to culture. Early recipes indicate some regions making a savory sauce for their cabbage rolls and other making a sauce that was more of a sweet and sour combination. Although the earliest cabbage rolls go back to the Jewish tradition, the cabbage roll is well known and loved all across Europe and Asia.
The cabbage roll filling could include beef, pork or lamb as the meat filling accompanied by various spices. The grain inside also can vary from rice to barley and other grains and vegetables might have included give a very broad range of choices. The cabbage rolls could have been baked or slowly cooked or prepared in many other ways. Cabbage rolls are usually eaten with some kind of sauce or accompaniment.
Cabbage rolls may be sour cream, yogurt, mint or some kind of sweet or sour jam.
Using a meat filling is another option for cabbage rolls. Ground beef, lamb and pork are used as fillers. Some recipes ask you to stuff the cabbage rolls with uncooked meat, while others will have you cook the meat first. Seasonings included onions, garlic and a variety of spices. Some cultures include eggs and mushrooms.
Whenever we do a facebook post of cabbage rolls we get a lot of interesting feedback about how they are made from kitchen to kitchen. At the bottom of the photos posted we show you images of cabbage rolls also made with regular cabbage as well as the savoy cabbage in the main image.