Easy Stuffed Cabbage

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The classic recipe with a few modern, fresh, signature twists. The sauce is quick and easy and utilizes pantry staples.  It's packed with flavor with no added sugar. All the sweetness comes from our secret weapon, apricot preserves.

We recommend steaming the cabbage leaves to make them workable, but you can also freeze the cabbage as a method to make them pliable enough to roll out with advanced planning.  See instructions below.  

stuffed cabbage
  • Duration
  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 6-8Servings

Ingredients

Cabbage and Stuffing

  • 1 (4-pound) head green cabbage

  • 1 ¼ pounds ground meat

  • ½ cup uncooked rice

  • 1 small onion, (¼ cup) grated

  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste, divided

  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Tomato Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, such as Colavita

  • 1 medium onion, (½ cup) finely diced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes 

  • 1 (18-ounce) jar apricot preserves 

  • 2 cups beef broth

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 pound beef bones (optional)

Preparation

  1. Bring a large (10-12 quart) pot of water to a boil.
  2. Remove cabbage core with a sharp knife.
  3. Using tongs, place head of cabbage in simmering water and cook for six minutes. Turn cabbage over and cook another six minutes, until leaves are just tender.
  4. Gently remove from the pot, place in a bowl, and set aside until cool enough to handle, about ten minutes. Gently remove leaves of cabbage.
  5. Slice off tough stem at the bottom outer leaves of each cabbage leaf. (You can chop any remaining cabbage and place in pot of sauce).
  6. While cabbage is simmering, combine ground meat, rice, grated onion, ¼ cup tomato paste, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a small mixing bowl. Place, covered, in fridge until ready to fill cabbage. (You can make the filling mixture up to 24 hours before filling cabbage leaves).
  7. In a Dutch oven heat evoo over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until softened. Add garlic and saute two minutes.
  8. Add remaining tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, apricot preserves, beef broth, salt and beef bones (if using), bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for twenty minutes.
  9. Once sauce is simmering, prepare cabbage rolls:
  10. Place ¼ cup of ground meat filling towards the bottom end of 1 cabbage leaf and roll upwards so meat is covered by cabbage. Fold left and right corners toward the center and continue to roll until sealed. Repeat with remaining meat and cabbage leaves.
  11. Gently lay cabbage rolls, seam side down, into simmering sauce and simmer for 1 ½ hours in a covered pot. You can also bake the stuffed cabbage in a covered pot or baking dish, for 1 ½ hours in a preheated 350°F oven.

Serve hot immediately or store, covered, in the fridge for up to 48 hours or in the freezer for two months.

CABBAGE PREP NOTE:

You can also prep cabbage leaves for stuffing by freezing the head of cabbage overnight in the freezer. Remove frozen cabbage and place in large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and thaw out in fridge, another few hours. Once cabbage is defrosted, proceed with recipe.