These Cabbage Rolls are DEFINITELY a FAMILY FAVORITE for 40+ YEARS! Plus NO NEED TO STEAM or BOIL your cabbage! Keep Reading….
My family has been eating these Cabbage Rolls for over 40 years! I think that says it all! My mom found this recipe for Cabbage Rolls in a local newspaper in 1979 and she’s been making them ever since, and it’s the only recipe I’ve used all these years! They are that good! Tender cabbage with a savory beef mixture baked in a simple tomato sauce. We always make extra sauce as we are a very saucy family! And we ALWAYS make extras Cabbage Rolls for freezing! It’s a very easy recipe to Double!
No better time than now to use up your big heads of cabbage and those big cabbge leaves from your garden. If you are just using the leaves, pop them in the freezer for a bit so some of the water evaporates and it will make the leaves softer and easier to roll. Let them come back to room temperature while you are making your sauce and filling or pop then in a large pot with a little water and steam for 4 minutes.***Cut out cabbage ribs before steaming.
One quick trick ~ Instead of steaming the cabbage in a pot just freeze a head of cabbage so you will always have cabbage ready for rolling. NO PARBOILING needed!! Just thaw overnight and your leaves are soft and ready to roll!
Or just use the traditional method to separate and soften the cabbage leaves. First, using a paring knife, carefully remove the core from a medium head of cabbage; then carefully place the whole head of cabbage, core side down, into a half-filled pot of simmering water. Cover. After about a minute or two, the leaves will begin to peel away. As they do, gently pull them off with tongs. Then let another layer or two loosen and start to separate, and pull them off, too. By parboiling, you’re softening the leaves for easy rolling.
These can also be made ahead in your 9×13 pan, with the sauce, covered and frozen. When ready to eat, just thaw safely in the refrigerator overnight and cook as directed in the recipe, or pop the fresh Cabbage Rolls and sauce in your slow cooker and simmer 8 hours on low. (I haven’t tried the slow cooker method but my mother has and they turned out perfectly)
Ok, let’s get cooking!
(See pictures at end of blog post for rolling cabbage rolls)
Me Mudder's Cabbage Rolls
- 1 medium head of cabbage, core removed or large green cabbage leaves (8-12)
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 cup cooked rice (white or brown)
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 tsp kosher salt (if using table salt, use only 1/2 tsp)
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- (if doubling recipe, use a large head of cabbage)
- 1 cup hot water
- 1 beef bouillon cube
- 1 cup tomato sauce
***I Recommend Doubling the Sauce!!
- Grease a 9×13 pan and set aside.
- Make the sauce: Combine the beef bouillon cube and the water and stir until dissolved. Add the tomato sauce and stir to combine (I REALLY recommend doubling this sauce; the extra cabbage in the bottom soaks up the extra sauce and there is more sauce for coating your cabbage rolls). Set sauce aside.
- Cook cabbage until outer leaves can be peeled off easily (see notes) Drain and cool cabbage and remove 10 – 12 large leaves.
- Keep large leaves for rolling. Cut out the stems (ribs) of the cabbage leaves if they are big to make them easier to roll. Chop all remaining cabbage and placed in the bottom of your greased pan. It will soak up all the flavor while cooking ~ delicious!!
- Mix the ground beef, rice, onion, milk and salt and pepper until thoroughly combined. TIP~I put this is my KitchenAid mixer with the flat paddle and let it do the work for me. See pic below to see how I portion meat mixture.
- Place a portion of filling in the centre of each cabbage leaf. Fold in the sides of each left to enclose the filling and roll up firmly. Place cabbage, seam side down on top of chopped cabbage. Make the rest of your cabbage rolls until you have used up all the filling.
- Pour sauce over cabbage rolls in greased pan.
- Bake 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours UNCOVERED. If browning too much, cover if necessary.
Or just use the traditional method to separate and soften the cabbage leaves. First, using a paring knife, remove the core a large head of cabbage; then carefully place the whole head of cabbage into a half-filled pot of simmering water. Cover. After about a minute, the leaves will begin to peel away. As they do, gently pull them off with tongs. Then let another layer or two loosen and start to separate, and pull them off, too. By parboiling, you’re softening the leaves for easy rolling.
And one last time, I recommend doubling the sauce! hahaha
These cabbage rolls can also be frozen with the sauce in a 9×13 pan and thawed and cooked as above. You can also cook the fresh cabbage rolls in a slow cooker for 8 hours on low.
Living My Best Life “Around the Bay with DD”