Classic Cabbage Rolls Recipe
- 1 medium head cabbage
- 1-1/2 cups chopped onion, divided
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) Italian stewed tomatoes
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
- 1 cup cooked rice
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
- 1/4 pound bulk Italian sausage
- 1/2 cup V8 juice, optional
- 1. In a Dutch oven, cook cabbage in boiling water for 10 minutes or until outer leaves are tender; drain. Rinse in cold water; drain. Remove eight large outer leaves (refrigerate remaining cabbage for another use); set aside.
- 2. In a large saucepan, saute 1 cup onion in butter until tender. Add the tomatoes, garlic, brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- 3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the rice, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, pepper and remaining onion and salt. Crumble beef and sausage over mixture and mix well.
- 4. Remove thick vein from cabbage leaves for easier rolling. Place about 1/2 cup meat mixture on each leaf; fold in sides. Starting at an unfolded edge, roll up leaf to completely enclose filling. Place seam side down in a skillet. Top with the sauce.
- 5. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 1 hour. Add V8 juice if desired. Reduce heat to low; cook 20 minutes longer or until rolls are heated through and a thermometer inserted in the filling reads 160°. Yield: 4 servings.
Reviews for Classic Cabbage Rolls
"Really delicious, thanks. My new standard recipe. OF COURSE there will be those who say they don't taste like Grandma's. Nothing tastes like Grandma's especially once she is gone because her love was in them. But as a Ukrainian girl, these are really tasty and good. I use wild rice and all beef to switch things up a bit."
"These are truely amazing. First time made as directed, second time i used hot sausage, both were great"
"blah :(not so much..."
"This is the best cabbage roll recipe that I have tried. Thank you! I used Italian seasoned turkey so very little fat. Served it with a dollop of sour cream on the side in the tomato sauce. Reminded me of meals in Lithuania."
"By far the most amazing cabbage rolls ever, I did add a can of tomato sauce to the sauce, also I cooked them in the oven for an hour at 325"
"Here is a prep hint that makes these seem almost effortless. Freeze the entire head of cabbage. Several days before, drain in a colander. The leaves will peel off like petals on a rose."
"Harv614. Finally someone who appreciates a truly classic cabbage roll! You make them as I do. Sauerkraut and tomatoe juice topping is what raises cabbage rolls to a whole new level of flavour?"
"My family loves these cabbage rolls!!! My only tweak is using sweet Italian sausage instead of just plain Italian sausage. I have served these to friends and they are always a huge hit!"
"Entire family loved it made just how recipe was written."
"This recipe is better than mine and I have made cabbage rolls for 45 years. I changed the stewed tomatoes for simple canned Italian diced tomatoes and 1/2 more cup of rice. I also used chorizo sausages instead of Italian sausages. The last change I made was I mixed in some of the sauce to the rice/meat mixture."
"Overall a decent recipe, but as far as "easy" I have found that NAPA cabbage is the key to making great cabbage rolls...no need to boil a head of cabbage..a simple blanch works and you get to use almost ALL of the cabbage leaves!!!"
"I have made this recipe as directed several times now. It is incredible! My Polish in laws claim they have never had better. That is very high praise!!"
"No TMR031, you're basi making a meatball and baking it inside the cabbage leaf."
"Do you cook meat first..or mix in raw?? Help!! want to make tomorrow"
"My husband loves stuffed cabbage, I also bake mine in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour. If you want to raise this a notch and give a little kick for the tomatoes, use 2 cans mild Rotel tomatoes and 1 T Italian seasoning. I put the tomatoes in the blender, for a smooth sauce."
"I found if you put your head of cabbage in the freezer in the produce bag then a regular shopping bag, and then take out the night before you want to make these, the cabbage leaves are soft and tender when it thaws out, it does not omit that cabbage smell, and then the only smell that is in your house is the actual cabbage and meat, which smells way better. I only do it this way, and I have shared this with others, and they LOVE it, no guess work as to if it has cooked enough, or will the middle of the head be soft? it will all be PERFECT."
"I took the advise of the one reviewer and made the casserole version. Much easier. Still the same great flavor without all the work. I did make a couple of changes. Used tomato sauce instead of stewed and did add the Spicy V-8. Browned beef and sausage, added onions, then added cooked rice. Put in greased casserole dish. Covered with thin sliced raw cabbage. Poured sauce mixture over top. Covered with foil for about 30 min until hot and bubbly, Remove foil for about 10 min. Nummy! There was only an empty dish, no leftovers."
"Been making these for my family for years."
"These were good, but my husband prefers them to be baked, like his mom makes. He doesn't care for them made in a skillet. But the sauce and filling is very good, and I'll use this recipe except I'll bake them."
"Loved the cabbage role very tastey"
"I have have been using this recipe for years! My whole family loves it. We've even just begun to use the sauce as our recipe for marinara."
"My Husband decided to make this and I was surprised on how good they tasted"
"I hated the fuss, too until I discovered that placing the head of cabbage in the freezer the night before will make the leaves soft and supple when you are ready to use them.."
"The sauce was very sweet. Filling was good. Most probably not make again."
"I have always wanted to try using v8 this sounds fantastic can't wait."
"harv614 is right; it's an East European recipe, but mainly Polish and Bulgarian. Nevertheless, I love them. Usually the rolls are stewed in a good tomato sauce. It's better to use some summer kind of cabbage because it's really hard to remove leaves off the winter cabbage. The leaves of summer cabbage are looser and it's enough to put them into boiling water for a min or two; then they go off very easy. I recommend it!"
"I thought this was vey good. The prep time is longer than what is listed but I found getting everything cooked and ready ahead of time made it easier to cook the cabbage and make the rolls the next day. I also 1 1/2 the sauce recipe since I prefer more sauce. I will definitely make this again. ~Diane (Columbus, OH)"
"I really like cabbage rolls, but always have trouble with the cabbage leaves, so I developed a casserole version. Put the meat & rice mixture in the bottom of a greased casserole. Keep the tomato sauce thick. spoon some on top of the meat & rice mixture. Chop the cooked cabbage and layer on top. Spoon on some more sauce and sprinkle with a little Parmesan cheese. bake at 350 for about 45 minutes or until meat is done. It tastes like traditional cabbage rolls, but, for me anyway, is lots easier to prepare. By the way, leftovers freeze well."
"a word to the wise...pay close attention to the directions! I thought it said cook over medium high heat..not medium low..had a huge mess on my stovetop.lol. Still cooking, but lowered the heat. Preparation time took longer than suggested, but hopefully they will turn out ok."
"excellent, well received comfort food. thanks for sharing."
"A keeper! Whole family loved it! The sauce is so tasty...even DH, who is not a tomato fan, loved this recipe..."
"These were delicious! The sauce was very flavorful and everyone loved them! The prep time was longer than 30 minutes but definitely worth it. I will be making these again."
"Absolutely delicious! My mom, who is a great cook ate them and said "these are the best cabbage rolls I've ever had". Enough said! Takes awhile to make but worth the effort. Once you've made them you realize they really aren't difficult. I use turkey sausage and no V8."
"i enjoyed cabbage rolls similar to this recipe when i was growing up this recipe hits close to home for me now its my family favorite"
"Great recipe. My husband loved it! Really tasty with such simple ingredients. I didn't use the V8 juice."
"This sounds good,but I never cook my rice first I just mix it in the meat mixture,need more sauce and longer cook time tho.."
"This is a delicious recipe. Definitely will be making it again!"
"The best, taste just like my Grandma's."
"Hey harv614-they may not be classic by "old world" definition butI grew up on this type of recipe so maybe they can be called Classic American Cabbage Rolls! I liked them anyway. Please submit your Classic recipe-they sound delicious!"
"We did NOT like this at all! I wish I hadn't wasted an afternoon making them. I was looking through the Irish section when this popped up and I decided to try it... even though it's Soo not an Irish recipe! Cabbage rolls are Polish/Czech/Russian. You won't find brown sugar, Italian sausage/stewed tomatoes, ketchup or Worcestershire sauce in an authentic recipe... can't figure out how it got the name Classic! They are much healthier/tastier without all of the non-traditional ingredients. Some of us add sauerkraut and bacon to the recipe and our meat is a blend of ground beef and pork... use tomato sauce & juice and leave out all of the other stuff and you will have Classic Cabbage Rolls!"
"This recipe is great! Wouldn't change a thing."
"This is simply the best Cabbage Roll recipe I have ever come across. I did not even need to make modifications to it. It reminds me of my Grandma's recipe from years ago. Love it!"
"My family loves cabbage rolls and this is so easy to make. I will be making it fairly often."
"serve sour cream with your cabbage rolls it is very good"
"This is an excellent recipe. My husband fell in love with it."
"I also add a can of sauer kraut to the tomato mixture and it gives it a wonder different flavorHumbalina"
"These are excellent and very similar to the ones my mother used to make."
"INSTEAD OF TOMATOES I USE TOMATOE soup POURED OVER THE ROLLS IT GIVES THEM A GREAT FLAVOR"
"These are very very good. My mom used to make them all the time. I love them!!!!"
Medium-Bodied Red Wine
Enjoy this recipe with a medium-bodied red wine such as Chianti, Sangiovese, Malbec or Zinfandel.