Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (VIDEO)
Stuffed cabbage rolls are a classic feel-good meal made with simple and inexpensive ingredients. This easy recipe is full of flavor and freezer-friendly!
- 2 cups white rice (uncooked), to make 6 cups cooked rice
- 2 cabbages (medium)
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 2 eggs
- 6 carrots (medium), divided
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 6 Tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 Tbsp sour cream
- 1 tsp salt-free seasoning such as Mrs. Dash
- 1 1/2 Tbsp sea salt, divided
Preparing Rice and Cabbage:
Rinse 2 cups of rice and transfer to a large saucepan. Add 3 1/2 cups of water with 1 Tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp salt. Bring to a boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 min, or until all water is absorbed.
Fill 2/3 of a large soup pot with water and bring to boil. Add 1/2 Tbsp salt and 4 Tbsp vinegar.
Peel and discard the two outer leaves from each cabbage. Use a knife to cut out the cabbage cores. Place first cabbage in water, cork side down, for 5 minutes, flip cabbage over and continue cooking for 5-6 min. Pull off leaves as they begin to soften. Leaves cook faster if pulled apart. Remove the leaves to a platter to cool when they are done. Leaves are done when soft and yellowish and larger leaves will turn a dull green. Repeat with the second cabbage, adding more water if needed. Reserve 4 cups of water from the pot.
Prepare the Stuffing:
In a large bowl, or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine meats and rice.
Grate 4 carrots and saute in a large pan in 3 Tbsp oil and 1 Tbsp butter over med/high heat until softened then add 1 cup marinara sauce and saute another minute. Add mixture to rice and meats then add 2 eggs and 1 Tbsp salt and mix well.
Cutting Leaves and Making Stuffed Cabbage:
Large leaves: cut the leaves in half down the center along the stem and remove the tough stem portion. Place 2 Tbsp meat mixture at top of each leaf (or what you can fit since leaf sizes vary). Roll the leaf into a cone shape with the thicker part of the leaf at the base and stuff the wide, thinner leaves into the top. Arrange stuffed cabbage in layers in a dutch oven or heavy-bottomed soup pot.
Small Leaves: slice off the raised surface of the tough center stem to flatten leaves for easier rolling. Fill each cabbage leaf with about 2 Tbsp meat mixture. Place the filling over the stem/ bottom portion. Roll like a burrito and stuff both ends in at the end.
Make the Sauce:
Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a skillet. Saute the remaining 2 grated carrots with 1 tsp of Mrs. Dash, cooking until soft. Add 1 Tbsp sour cream and 1 cup marinara sauce. Saute another minute and remove from heat.
Pour Podliva sauce over stuffed cabbage and add enough reserved water to almost cover rolls (2 1/2 to 3 cups).
2 Ways to Cook Stuffed Cabbage:
Oven Method: If using a dutch oven (recommended method), cover and bake at 450° F for 20-25 min in the bottom third of the oven then reduce heat to 350°F and bake for 1 hour.
Stovetop Method: If using a heavy-bottomed pot, bring to a light boil over medium heat, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 40 min.
To Freeze: Once cabbage rolls have cooled, transfer to freezer-safe Ziploc bags in single layers, adding a little sauce to each bag. Push out any excess air then seal and freeze.
To Reheat: Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Add 1 Tbsp oil to a non-stick skillet, then add thawed cabbage rolls, cover, and cook over medium heat, turning a few times until heated through.