Cabbage Rolls – A Family Recipe
These amazing cabbage rolls are a family recipe that has been on many generations. They are a complete meal and also great as part of a holiday meal for Christmas, Easter or Thanksgiving!
If you have ever wondered how to make cabbage rolls, then you have come to the right place. These cabbage rolls are a family recipe that I learned from my mom. She learned from my dad’s mom, who learned from her mom and so on.
Cabbage rolls are a dish that we typically have for family holiday meals like Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter. I love big family holiday dinners. Pierogies, kielbasa, cabbage rolls, mushroom gravy are some examples of great Ukrainian food that we would have at big family get togethers.
I love learning these dishes that are part of our family heritage. In the end, it wasn’t that hard to make cabbage rolls and the taste brought back so many memories! I cannot wait to teach my kids how to make these cabbage rolls to keep this family tradition going.
Ingredients You Will Need
- 1 large head of cabbage – Instead of boiling the cabbage, we keep it in the freezer. Once thawed, it is easy to handle and actually stays together better than if it was boiled.
- Garlic cloves
- Ground pork
- Ground beef
- Can of condensed tomato soup
- Can of whole tomatoes – 28oz/796ml
- Tomato juice
How to Make a Cabbage Roll
- Cut the spine off the larger cabbage leaves. Place them on the bottom of a large baking pan.
- Hold the cabbage leaf in your hand. Spoon some filling into the centre of the leaf (larger leaves can obviously hold more filling than smaller leaves).
- Fold the bottom part of the leaf up over the stuffing and tuck it under the stuffing a little bit. Fold the right side of the leaf over toward the other. Roll the leaf and stuffing from bottom up.
- With your finger, press the remaining part of the leaf into the cabbage roll.
- It takes a bit of practice to make the cabbage rolls but once you get the hang of it, you can do it quite quickly.
How Long to Cook Cabbage Rolls in the Oven?
Baking the cabbage rolls is the time when all the flavours come together. Place the cabbage rolls in a large baking dish and put them side by side next to each other. If desired, you can pout a little bit of the tomato juice first before you start placing the cabbage rolls.
Depending on the dish of the dish, there may be a couple layers of cabbage rolls. That is completely fine. We typically make a big batch for family gatherings and use a large roasting dish and still have a couple layers of them.
Now it is time to cover with the can of whole tomatoes. Break up the tomatoes and spread them on top of the cabbage rolls with the juices from the can. Pour the tomato juice on top. Bake, covered, in a 325F oven for 2 hours.
Once they are baked, the cabbage rolls are ready to serve. They are delicious and I like to serve cabbage rolls with a dollop of sour cream. There is so much about cabbage rolls that I love. The filling tastes incredible, the baked cabbage the filling is wrapped in is packed with flavour. But, one thing that might be overlooked are those roasted tomatoes. They are so good!
Other great recipes
Over the years, I have learned many different recipes that my mom made when I was a kid. Here are some of my favourites!
- Traditional Ukrainian Pierogies
- Cabbage Roll Casserole
- Chicken and Broccoli in a Creamy Dill Sauce
- Chicken Cacciatore
Cabbage Rolls - A Family Recipe
- 1 head of cabbage , frozen then thawed
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1/2 onion , minced
- 4 strips bacon , minced
- 2 garlic cloves , minced
- 2 cups rice
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1/2 pound ground beef
- 1/2 can condensed tomato soup
- 1 can whole tomatoes , 28oz/796ml
- 2-3 cups tomato juice
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- Have the cabbage in the freezer for at least a week. To thaw, put the cabbage in the fridge for a couple days. On the day of making cabbage rolls, slowly peel one cabbage leaf off at a time. Cut/shave the large part of the spine off the one end of the leaf.
- In a large saucepan, fry the bacon, onion and garlic until the onion is transparent and the bacon is starting to crisp up a bit.
- In a separate pot, put the dry rice in plenty of boiling water. Cook for 8-10 minutes. Drain the rice and then rinse.
- Put the rice back in the pot with bacon and onion mixture along with 1/2 cup water. Boil until the water evaporates.
- Add the ground beef, ground pork, salt, pepper and any other seasonings to your preference, to the rice and cook at medium heat. Stir it constantly to ensure rice doesn't stick.
- Stir in half the can of tomato soup and remove from the heat.
- Make the cabbage rolls - Look at the pictures above with the details that show how to roll up the cabbage roll.
- Lay the cabbage rolls in a baking tray. Break up the whole tomatoes and spread over top of the cabbage rolls along with the juice from the can. Pour the tomato juice on top.
- Bake, covered, at 325F for 2 hours.
Note: This recipe was originally published in 2011 but republished in 2022 with additional information