Go Back
+ servings

Cabbage Rolls

These not quite authentic Cabbage Rolls aren't pretty, but they taste amazing.  With no rice filler to be seen, it's an all meat explosion.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 438kcal


  • dutch oven
  • small mixing bowl
  • food processor
  • 13"x 9" baking dish


  • 1 medium head green cabbage cored
  • 1 tbs vegetable oil
  • 1 onion minced
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 28 oz tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 slices hearty white bread torn into small piece (do not use Wonderbread)
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¾ lbs lean ground beef
  • ¾ lbs uncooked bratwurst casing removed


For the Sauce:

  • Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. 
  • Cook onion until golden, about 5 minutes. 
  • Add garlic, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg, cooking until fragrant, about 30 seconds. 
  • Transfer half of the onion mixture to a small bowl and reserve. 
  • Remove the Dutch oven from heat, and into the remaining half of the onion mixture, stir the tomato sauce, sugar, vinegar, ½ tea salt, and ¼ teas pepper.

For the Meat Filling:

  • In a food processor, pulse bread and milk to a smooth paste.
  • Add the reserved onion mixture, beef, bratwurst, ½ teas salt, ¼ teas pepper.
  • Pulse until well combined (about ten 1 second pulses).

Make the Cabbage Rolls:

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Place cabbage in a large bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave on high until outer leaves of cabbage are pliable and translucent, 3 to 6 minutes. 
  • Using tongs (because this will be a steam bomb of hate), carefully remove the outer leaves; set aside. 
  • Cover with plastic wrap again and repeat steps as needed to get 15 to 17 large un-torn leaves.
  • Trim the tough ribs from the cabbage leaves, overlap cut ends from the middle, and add 2 heaping tablespoons of meat mixture to each leaf before rolling tightly and placing seam side down in a 13 x 9″ baking dish.
  • Pour the sauce over the cabbage rolls and cover with foil. 
  • Bake until the sauce is bubbling and rolls are heated through, 45 to 50 minutes. 
  • Carefully remove foil, and bake, uncovered until sauce has slightly thickened and cabbage is tender, another 15 minutes.


Inspired by Cook’s Illustrated Make Ahead Meals. You can also serve with a white béchamel style sauce if you like.  


Calories: 438kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 79mg | Sodium: 1291mg | Potassium: 1170mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 755IU | Vitamin C: 66.5mg | Calcium: 162mg | Iron: 4.2mg