Italian Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Tomato Sauce

Thursday, November 12, 2009
Mom always made these, an inexpensive healthy dish. This recipe was adapted by her since the Traditional way of making isn't at all Italian.

So in went, the garlic and the tomato sauce with Italian herbs and the Italian version was born.

Amazing how healthy these are when made with ground turkey, rice and cabbage delicious blends of herbs and a great sauce.

I usually make sure that all the leaves that you can't roll, that are too small, surround the rolls in the pan.

They make a great side dish with another meal. 

A little different than the original stuffed cabbage, we prefer ours with rice and lamb, you can use your preference for meat.

We use lots of fresh Italian herbs and of course lots of garlic.

 This is one dish I love to make as soon as there is a little nip in the air. Fall brings out those comfort foods, and for us, this was one of them.

Roll up tightly and make sure you don't overfill as the filling will expand.

Layout all cabbage and place filling evenly inside to make sure you have enough for all rolls, then rolls and secure with toothpicks.

1 medium head of cabbage cleaned and thick stalk removed (tip, freeze whole head, thaw leaves in warm water, leaves will wilt, no boiling, it's amazing how that works so well and no smell in the house!)

1 lb of ground hamburger, turkey, pork, Italian ground sausage or lamb ( lamb is what is shown)

2 cups of fast cooking rice

3 chopped fresh tomatoes

4 cloves of whole garlic

2 tablespoon minced garlic

1 large can of tomato sauce

enough water to cover cabbage rolls

4 fresh basil leaves

1/2 teaspoon each oregano, parsley, garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper (if using hamburger, try 1/4 teaspoon of fennel seed)

1/2 cup white wine


In a bowl mix meat, rice, and chopped tomatoes. Add garlic minced, salt and pepper and a dash of cayenne if you like spicy.

Lay wilted leaves on a cutting board, cutting off any thick parts that won't roll. Place one of two tablespoons of mixture on the leaf, roll up and spear with a toothpick. Repeat until all rolls are filled. Place in a dutch oven or large electric fry pan. Add 1 can of large tomato sauce, remaining garlic cloves, water to cover the cabbage rolls as it will boil away and wine, sprinkle with herbs add wine. Simmer on low or if using electric fry pan at 300 . You can also bake these at 350 for approx 1 1/2 hours, checking frequently and adding more water as it evaporates. Cook cabbage is tender.


  1. wow ,sound like traditional recipe from romania"sarmale",with turkish origines.we roll ,and not use toothpicks.a real delight!

  2. Love cabbage rolls. I've only tried to make them once but now I want to make them again :)

  3. haven't made these in a year of so and I think then I used cajun seasonings and sausage - I think I like yours much better....thanks

  4. These bring back memories from my childhood... They sound & look delicious!

  5. Love these cabbage rolls! And with the Italian flair too!

  6. MMm this looks good! My fiance is Polish and has made me Golabki before and I loved it. I will definitely try this recipe, thanks for sharing !

  7. yum! I made a similar cabbage roll dish the other day (followed Martha Stewarts recipe - sort of). Forgot how delicious these are!

  8. @Alison, how wonderful to hear that you also make them similar, what did you use to hold them together?
    @Rochelle thanks for commenting :)
    @ Drick oooo sounds delish with cajun sausage...thanks
    @ Andrea thanks :)
    @ Cajun Chef Ryan thank you :)
    @Joy thanks glad you like this recipe
    @tasty eats at home oh I will have to look hers up bet they were great!

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  12. I haven't made cabbage rolls in a very long time. Thanks for the reminder about how delicious they are.

  13. The kids would love to hep me make these cabbage rolls. Perfect for a tasty family meal!

  14. This is a great recipe to feed a crowd...I can remember these at every holiday, Sunday, Baptism or Funeral spread from when I was a kid.

  15. I just had cabbage rolls last night. It was at a dinner party in a Polish restaurant (I'm just about to review it on my blog) and they served up traditional authentic cabbage rolls that were delicious. It had a tangy orangish sauce that I couldn't identify, but I know it was at least tomato based. Your recipe sounds delicious.

  16. Your recipe is very colourful and tempting enough.

  17. for some reason I am falling in love with cabbage this fall. Your dish is calling me to try it out. Thanks!

  18. I would die for this now. I am big fan of cabbage rolls and this one has just the ingredients I love. It would be great with a bowl of homemade yogurt. YUM YUM!

  19. This one I do have to make it ...I really do...what a combo and both the flavours and the textures are heavenly and lots lots of garlic...please come and cook for me :) kisses xxx


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