If you love cabbage rolls, this is a must-try. They’re stuffed with ground beef, rice, eggs, onions, and seasonings then rolled into cabbage leaves and baked in tomato sauce. They’re easy to make and perfect for serving with your favorite sides!
How to Stuff Cabbage Leaves
First, you’ll need a large head of cabbage. Buy one that’s bright green and firm to the touch so it will be easier to stuff and roll.
Remove the core and then carefully peel off the outer leaves. It can be difficult to get the cabbage leaves off the whole head, so it’s best to work in batches.
Blanch the large leaves to soften them for easy peeling. You can also steam them in the microwave.
In a large bowl, mix together the ground meat, onion, breadcrumbs, rice, egg, salt and pepper. Add about 1 cup of the sauce and mix lightly.
Assemble the cabbage rolls by placing a scant 1/2 cup of the filling into the center of each cabbage leaf (you may need to adjust quantities depending on the size of your cabbage leaves). Fold over the two sides and then roll it like an egg roll or burrito, being careful not to tear the leaves as you go.
Lay each cabbage roll seam side down in a 9×13 baking dish, sprinkling with some of the remaining sauce. Repeat until all of the cabbage rolls are done and in the dish.
Bake in a Crockpot
When all of the cabbage rolls are ready, place them in your slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or until the cabbage is tender.
If you’re in a hurry, just put them on high and cook for 30 minutes to an hour. They’ll be tender but still retain their shape and have a delicious texture.
How to Freeze the Cabbage Rolls
Once all the cabbage rolls are cooled, transfer them to freezer-safe Ziploc bags in single layers, adding a little sauce to each bag. Push out any excess air then seal and freeze. When you’re ready to thaw and cook them, simply defrost in the refrigerator overnight before cooking.
Reheat and Bake in Tomato Sauce
Once the cabbage rolls are finished, they can be re-cooked in a slow cooker. They’ll take about 6 hours on low or 30 minutes on high, and they’ll be tender but still have a delicious texture.
If you want to serve these stuffed cabbage rolls right away, they’re also great reheated in a skillet. Just thaw them in the refrigerator, add a little oil and cook over medium heat until heated through.
Then, pour some of the reserved cabbage water over top of them and stir. This will help keep them from getting a dry and crumbly texture when re-heated.
If you’re looking for a more hearty version of this recipe, try replacing the tomato sauce with some canned tomatoes, or mixing in a few tablespoons of tomato paste into your homemade tomato sauce before putting it in the pot to simmer. You’ll end up with a rich and thick sauce that’s the perfect complement to the meaty cabbage rolls!