3 Cabbage Rolls, Sour Cream Garnish, White Bowl

Phyllis’ Cabbage Rolls

Makes a roasting pan full! And would be great as part of a casual potluck or a buffet! Cabbage Rolls hold a very special place in my heart. I’m not sure where Mom got her recipe, probably from someone in her family. I have adapted her original recipe with a couple of my own ideas and with some ingredients from the Mary’s recipe, my dear, long time friend. They are made with love! Don’t worry about leftovers if you have any, just divide them  up into freezer containers and freeze. They will come in handy one night when you don’t feel like cooking!  Here’s a link  to my story of the meaning of cabbage rolls for me.

Serves 8 – 10 People as a Main Course

For the Cabbage Rolls:

1 ½ lbs. lean ground beef
¾ ground pork
2 large heads of cabbage
1 large cooking onion, chopped
1 cup rice, cooked. (you can use brown rice, I always do, just like Mom)
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 tsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
½ – 1 tsp, salt & fresh ground pepper
1 tsp. dried basil, crumbled
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. parsley, minced
1 large jar sauerkraut (Kuhne is a good brand), drained, or freshly made from a deli. Here in Vancouver, fresh sauerkraut is available from Oyama Sausage on Granville Island & JNZ Deli. on Commercial Drive
3 10 oz. tins low salt tomato soup (or use 2 tins of soup & 1/2 cup or so of passata (jarred crushed tomatoes)

Make the Cabbage Rolls:

Bring a very large pot of water to a good simmer. Core the cabbages and place into the simmering water. Simmer for about ½ hour or until the leaves are soft enough to remove from the heads without breaking or tearing too much.  Remove from the water and drain. Separate each leaf, placing in a colander to continue draining until ready to use. (You can do this step the day before; bring the cabbage leaves up to room temperature before continuing).

Combine ground meats, chopped onion, diced green pepper, cooked rice, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, basil and garlic with enough tomato soup to moisten well, without being sloppy.

Grease a large roasting pan that has a lid or if you don’t have a lid, then use 2 layers of tin foil.

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Place a cabbage leaf on a work surface; put a few tablespoons of the meat filling at the bottom of the cabbage leaf. If the core is too thick at the bottom just cut out that piece. Begin rolling up the cabbage by folding over once, then folding in the sides, then continuing to roll up the cabbage roll. Place in greased roasting pan seam side down. Continue filling and rolling up the cabbage leaves until you have a layer in the bottom of the roasting pan. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and approximately 1 cup of tomato soup and 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup of sauerkraut. This doesn’t need to be exact. Continue  filling, rolling and layering the cabbage until meat mixture is used up, sprinkling each layer with salt, pepper, then spreading with more of the tomato soup,  a scattering of sauerkraut. Topping the final layer with a sprinkle of salt and  pepper, the tomato soup (or use some passata here for some of the tomato soup) and sauerkraut.   Add 2 or 3 tins of water.  If topping with cabbage leaves as below, hold back some of the soup and add the water then.

Note:  A trick my Mom always did was to put a layer of the leftover cabbage leaves over the finished cabbage rolls to prevent browning too much.  She’d hold back some of the soup, Pour on 2 or 3 tins of water which will create the sauce.

Place cabbage rolls in the preheated oven, covered, bake for 1 ½ hours, then reduce the heat to 300 F and continue to bake for another 1 1/2 hours.




  1. My brother Mike mentioned that Mom would add a little bit of Herdez salsa to the mix for some extra tanginess.

    • How Russian is that? Must be Russian/Mexican fusion!

  2. OMG — Delicious!! One of my all time favorite (beside pasta of course) are Cabbage Rolls.

    I grew up with only using ground beef and not adding ground pork, what a beautiful mix and much moister!

    I also grew up using canned stewed tomatoes instead of tomato soup. To my surprise, the tomato soup added thickness to the sauce, which was yummy, but I still added the tomatoes on top! (hard to break tradition).

    Another nice touch was the “sauerkraut” – sinfully delicious!! This was the first time I’ve tried Cabbage Rolls with sauerkraut, which added a wonderful zing!!

    Thank you Phyllis for a wonderful twist on a “traditional’ Cabbage Roll recipe!!

    • So glad you liked them! If you grew up eating them, then it’s always that “mom’s” or “grandmas” were the best but this recipe is a combination of mom’s and a dear friend’s…all they need is sour cream! Hey why not! My sisters and brother used to eat the filling and leave the cabbage which was OK with mom, dad and me!

  3. I haven’t made stuffed cabbage for quite some time now, but I do enjoy it very much, especially when it’s cold outside, as it certainly is right now. There are few dishes as warming and satisfying.

    • And I must concur. In my case, my mom being Russian and the cabbage rolls being something she made for us, along with her family’s version of borscht…it becomes more that just eating dinner! If we don’t “speak” before Christmas, I would like to wish you and your family Buon Natale! And if we do speak before Christmas well…we can wish each other Buon Natale again!!! BTW…very much enjoy our exchanges!

Leave a Reply