Country Cabbage Rolls

Culinary Comfort: Crafting Country Cabbage Rolls

A Homage to Hearty Traditions

In the heart of classic comfort foods lies a dish that resonates with warmth, simplicity, and the embrace of generations – Country Cabbage Rolls. Picture tender cabbage leaves enveloping a savory filling, bathed in a rich tomato sauce. Today, we embark on a culinary journey to master the art of crafting these timeless delights. Join us as we explore the steps to create Country Cabbage Rolls, a dish that brings the essence of home-cooked goodness to your table.


For the Cabbage Rolls:

  • 1 large savoy cabbage

For the Filling:

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 2 medium to large onions, finely chopped
  • 1 cup rice, uncooked
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup beef broth

For the Tomato Sauce:

  • 2 cans (14 ounces each) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • Salt and black pepper to taste


Cabbage Leaf Preparation:

Step 1: Leaf Liberation

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Carefully immerse the whole savoy cabbage into the boiling water. Allow it to simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the outer leaves become tender and pliable. Gently peel off the leaves one by one, placing them on a plate to cool.

Filling Fabrication:

Step 1: Sauté Symphony

In a skillet, sauté the finely chopped onions and minced garlic until they become translucent. Add the ground beef and cook until browned. Drain any excess fat.

Step 2: Rice Incorporation

Stir in the uncooked rice, dried thyme, dried oregano, salt, and black pepper. Allow the rice to toast slightly in the mixture.

Step 3: Broth Boost

Pour in the beef broth to the skillet and simmer the filling for an additional 5-7 minutes or until the rice absorbs the flavors.

Rolling Ritual:

Step 1: Filling Placement

Take a cabbage leaf and place a portion of the filling in the center. Fold the sides of the leaf inward, then roll it tightly from the bottom to create a neat cabbage roll. Repeat the process for the remaining leaves and filling.

Tomato Sauce Symphony:

Step 1: Crushed Tomato Magic

In a bowl, combine crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, beef broth, sugar, dried basil, salt, and black pepper. Mix thoroughly to create a rich and savory tomato sauce.

Step 2: Saucy Blanket

Spread a thin layer of the tomato sauce on the bottom of a baking dish. Arrange the cabbage rolls side by side in the dish, creating a snug assembly.

Step 3: Sauce Enchantment

Pour the remaining tomato sauce over the cabbage rolls, ensuring each one is generously coated. This saucy blanket not only adds flavor but also keeps the rolls moist during baking.

Baking Brilliance:

Step 1: Oven Embrace

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Cover the baking dish with foil and bake the Country Cabbage Rolls for approximately 1 hour. The cabbage leaves will become tender, and the filling will cook to perfection.

Step 2: Unveiling Delight

Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the tops of the rolls achieve a golden hue. This step adds a delightful crunch to the dish.

Step 3: Restful Repose

Allow the Country Cabbage Rolls to rest for a few minutes before serving. This lets the flavors meld and ensures a delightful dining experience.

Cook Notes:

  • Cabbage Leaf Care: Handle the cabbage leaves gently to prevent tearing. If a leaf does tear, it can still be used by folding it strategically during the rolling process.
  • Rice Varieties: Experiment with different rice varieties such as jasmine or basmati to add unique textures and flavors to the filling.
  • Sauce Consistency: Adjust the thickness of the tomato sauce by adding more broth if needed. A well-balanced sauce ensures that the rolls are neither too dry nor overly saucy.
  • Make-Ahead Ease: Prepare the Country Cabbage Rolls in advance and refrigerate them until ready to bake. This convenience makes it a perfect dish for busy days or entertaining.


1. Vegetarian Twist:

Create a vegetarian version by substituting the ground beef with a mixture of sautéed vegetables and cooked lentils or beans. Enhance the seasonings for a robust flavor profile.

2. Mediterranean Medley:

Add a Mediterranean flair by incorporating diced tomatoes, feta cheese, and a sprinkle of chopped fresh mint into the filling. Serve with a side of tzatziki for a delightful twist.

3. Smoky Bacon Bliss:

Infuse a smoky element by wrapping each cabbage roll with a slice of bacon before baking. The bacon imparts a rich and savory essence to the dish.

4. Sweet and Sour Surprise:

Elevate the flavor by adding a sweet and sour element to the tomato sauce. Mix in a tablespoon of honey or maple syrup along with a splash of apple cider vinegar for a delightful balance.

Keto and Low-Carb Versions:

Keto Version:

  • Replace the rice with cauliflower rice to maintain the low-carb profile.
  • Opt for a sugar-free tomato sauce or make one from scratch using fresh tomatoes and keto-friendly sweeteners.
  • Ensure the beef broth used in both the filling and sauce is free from added sugars.

Low-Carb Version:

  • Choose a low-carb rice substitute such as cauliflower rice or konjac rice to reduce the carb content.
  • Use a low-carb tomato sauce with minimal added sugars or make one using fresh tomatoes and low-carb sweeteners.
  • Monitor the quantity of onions in the filling to manage the overall carb content.

A Feast of Heritage and Flavor

Country Cabbage Rolls are more than just a dish; they are a feast that brings the comfort of heritage to your table. Each bite carries the essence of tradition, blending the hearty flavors of ground beef, rice, and the tender embrace of cabbage.

As you savor the warmth of each roll, reflect on the culinary journey that brought these timeless delights to your plate. Experiment with variations to make the dish your own, adding a personal touch to a classic recipe. Whether enjoyed as a weeknight family meal or shared during festive gatherings, Country Cabbage Rolls celebrate the simple joy of home-cooked goodness.

So, set your table, invite loved ones to gather, and indulge in the heartwarming delight of Country Cabbage Rolls. As you take the first bite, let the flavors transport you to a place of comfort and culinary bliss. Bon Appétit!

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