Classic Cabbage Rolls Classic Cabbage Rolls

Food styling by Noah Witenoff | Prop styling by Sasha Seymour Image by: Jeff Coulson

Our classic recipe for hearty cabbage rolls is a labour of love that won't disappoint. Use two smaller cabbages rather than one large head, as the leaves will be more consistent in size. The best leaves for rolling are in the middle of the head, so save the outer ones for coleslaw or soup. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a little fresh dill.

  • Prep time 45 minutes
  • Total time 2 hours & 45 minutes
  • Credits : Canadian Living Magazine



Using sharp knife, remove core from each cabbage. In large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook cabbage, 1 at a time, until leaves are softened, about 8 minutes. Transfer to bowl of ice water to chill. Remove outer leaves from each head; set a few of the outer leaves aside to cover the rolls while baking.

Working from core end, remove 12 leaves from each cabbage; return cabbage heads to boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes if leaves become difficult to remove. Drain leaves on paper towels. Trim coarse veins; set aside.

Meanwhile, in saucepan, bring broth to boil; add rice. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer to large bowl.

Meanwhile, in skillet, cook bacon over medium heat, stirring often, until crisp, about 5 minutes; drain fat. Add butter to skillet; cook onions, red pepper, garlic, marjoram and thyme, stirring, until onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Add to rice along with beef, parsley, egg, salt and pepper; mix well.

Arrange cabbage leaves on work surface; spoon about 1/4 cup of the beef mixture onto each leaf, just above stem. Fold 1 end and both sides over filling; roll up to form cylinders.

In 24-cup (6 L) Dutch oven or roasting pan, spread one-third of the sauerkraut; sprinkle with one-third of the brown sugar. Arrange one-third of the rolls, seam side down, in single layer over top. Spread another one-third each of the sauerkraut and brown sugar over rolls. Arrange another one-third of the rolls in single layer over top; cover with remaining sauerkraut and brown sugar. Arrange remaining rolls over top.

Pour tomato juice over rolls. Arrange a few of the reserved outer cabbage leaves over top to prevent scorching. Cover and bake in 350 F (180 C) oven for 1-1/2 hours. Uncover and bake until tender, about 30 minutes. Discard top leaves.

Makes 24 rolls.

Nutritional facts per roll: about

  • Fibre 2 g
  • Sodium 552 mg
  • Sugars 6 g
  • Protein 8 g
  • Calories 138.0
  • Total fat 7 g
  • Cholesterol 31 mg
  • Saturated fat 4 g
  • Total carbohydrate 12 g


  • Iron 9.0
  • Folate 12.0
  • Calcium 4.0
  • Vitamin A 6.0
  • Vitamin C 37.0
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Lunch & Dinner

Classic Cabbage Rolls