Save on Pinterest

Spicy Cabbage Rolls

This delightfully delicious recipe came from my Aunt Helen. I serve it alongside ham or turkey for the holidays or on its own with a salad and rolls.—Darlene King, Estevan, Saskatchewan
  • Total Time
    Prep: 20 min. Bake: 1 hour 20 min.
  • Makes
    8-10 servings


  • 1 large head cabbage
  • 2 cups cooked barley
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 pounds ground pork
  • SAUCE:
  • 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup chili sauce
  • 1 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  • Cook cabbage in boiling water just until outer leaves pull away easily from head. Set aside 10 large leaves for rolls. (Refrigerate remaining cabbage for another use.) Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the barley, garlic, onion, soy sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, ginger, salt and pepper. Crumble pork over mixture and mix well.
  • Cut out the thick vein from the bottom of each leaf, making a V-shaped cut. Place about 1/2 cup pork mixture on a cabbage leaf; overlap cut ends of leaf. Fold in sides. Beginning from the cut end, roll up. Repeat. Place rolls, seam side down in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish.
  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the sauce ingredients; cook and stir until smooth. Pour over rolls. Cover and bake at 350° for 80-90 minutes or a thermometer reads 160°.
Nutrition Facts
1 each: 306 calories, 14g fat (5g saturated fat), 61mg cholesterol, 819mg sodium, 26g carbohydrate (10g sugars, 5g fiber), 21g protein.

Recommended Video


Click stars to rate
Average Rating:
  • Becky
    Feb 23, 2018

    I love traditional cabbage rolls but these were absolutely delicious as well. Definately will make again!

  • tt2b123
    Jun 17, 2016

    excellent flavor profile

  • danielleylee
    Sep 17, 2014

    Nice change to a traditional stuffed cabbage. The chili sauce, soy and ginger added a good asian flavor to the dish. We did use fresh ginger instead of ground. I love that the barely added some whole grain goodness as well.

  • rinshin
    Feb 3, 2014

    I saw soy sauce in the sauce and in the filling which made me choose this recipe. Not only soy sauce but also barley instead of rice. I halved the filling recipe and doubled the sauce. Instead of ground ginger, I used about 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger. For sauce I added about 1/4 C white wine and I did not heat the sauce since there was no point in that. I also placed 2 slices of bacon on top before baking. Loved the filling. I love how it was loose compared to rice and I thought the use of pork was very good. Next time I plan on mixing pork and beef. This recipe is worthy of repeats. Perfect with buttered noodle and green salad.

  • dzm388
    Apr 7, 2013

    There is supposed to be 1/4 cup packed brown sugar in the sauce (I still have the original magazine!). We love this! My husband does not like the sweet type of sauce so this is perfect. I leave out the ginger, personal pref. I have used rice in place of the barley. When the direction says "large" cabbage, no kidding. 10 leaves from a regular sized cabbage will use about 1/2 the filling! I chop the leftover cabbage and put it in bottom of the baking dish, putting the rolls on top.

  • Lexi0145
    Nov 4, 2010

    It is missing the amount of sugar needed in the sauce or the kind. I made this from the book but no longer have it so just guessed and tasted as I went. Lexi0145

  • Simone65
    Jul 15, 2010

    Too much ginger. Didn't much care for the barley in it even though we love barley. Sauce was good I used hot salsa instead of the chili sauce. I will make my regular rolls with rice but will use the sauce recipe.

  • XOBasia
    Aug 26, 2009

    I didn't put any sugar in the sauce and thought it was delicious....just heated it through and poured over. Great change on the filling using the barley instead of the usual rice. Loved it!

  • hokenson
    Aug 5, 2009

    Did you get an answer to your sauce question.  I was planning on making them and had the same question.  Thanks, Joan

  • ProblemChild
    May 21, 2009

    This recipe looks great! For those who've tried making it already I have a question about the sauce. It says in the directions to heat the sauce until the sugar melts but I don't see any sugar in the ingredients (except for the tablespoon of dark sugar in the meat mixture). Could you tell me how much & what type of sugar you added to the sauce. Thanks!!