Classic Cabbage Rolls

Although not difficult to make, cabbage rolls do take some time to prepare and assemble but are well worth the effort. Although not traditional, you can substitute basmati rice for the long-grain rice. Serve with simple boiled potatoes, steamed green beans and a dollop of sour cream for a decadent and cool finish.
Yield 6 Servings Prep. Time 45 min Cooking Time 135 min Total Time 180 min


Here are the following ingredients:

  • 1 green cabbage, about 4 lb (2 kg)
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup (125 mL) uncooked long-grain white rice
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) sweet paprika
  • 1 lb (500 g) Extra Lean Ground Beef
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) EACH salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 jar (680 mL) strained puréed tomatoes (passata)
  • 2 cups (500 mL) reduced-sodium beef broth (approx)

Shopping List

Here are the following shopping items to buy:


Follow these cooking methods/directions:

  1. Place cabbage on a cutting board with the bottom pointing up. Firmly push a fork into the core of the cabbage and grip the fork to hold the cabbage in place. Using the tip of a thin sharp knife, insert point-down just outside the core on an angle, then cut around the core to remove (the core should be a cone shape once removed).

  2. Bring 3 inches (8 cm) of water to a boil in a large, deep pot over medium-high heat. Place cabbage, core-side down, in water. Cook cabbage, covered, for 3 to 5 minutes or until outer leaves are wilted and pliable. Leaving cabbage in the pot, use tongs to carefully pull outer leaves from cabbage and transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet. If leaves do not release easily, cover pot again and steam cabbage for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, continuing process until there are 18 to 20 large leaves. Drain remaining head of cabbage and set aside. Let leaves cool completely.

  3. Meanwhile, heat oil over medium heat in a medium nonstick skillet. Cook onions and garlic, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes or until starting to soften. Add rice and paprika; cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes or until well coated. Transfer to a large bowl; let cool completely. Gently mix in ground beef, egg, salt and pepper with a fork (careful not to over-mix).

  4. Thinly slice remaining cabbage on the head and arrange 2 cups (500 mL) in bottom of a greased large roasting pan. Set aside remaining sliced cabbage to cover rolls once assembled. Trim hard veins from center of each large cabbage leaf; discard.

  5. Working with one leaf at a time, place 2 tbsp (30 mL) beef filling on core end of the leaf, fold in sides over filling and roll up tightly from core-end to tip of leaf to enclose. Place rolls, seam side down, in prepared roasting pan. Top with bay leaves.

  6. Pour passata and broth over cabbage rolls to cover. Add a splash of broth or water to the passata jar, cap with lid and shake to rinse jar; pour into the pan. (If cabbage rolls are not covered, add some water or additional broth). Top with reserved sliced cabbage.

  7. Cover and bake in preheated 350°F oven for 1½ hours or until cabbage is tender. Uncover and add up to 2 cups (500 mL) water or additional broth if cabbage rolls look dry. Bake, uncovered, for an additional 30 to 45 minutes or until sauce has thickened. Discard bay leaves. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.