Cabbage Rolls with Brown Rice
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Celebrate Spring with this recipe for classic cabbage rolls, made with a hearty and unexpected twist by adding brown rice to the mixture.
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Polish
Serves: 12 cabbage rolls
Ingredients for Cabbage Rolls:
  • 1 medium head of cabbage
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • ¼ lb. ground sausage
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ½ tablespoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Ingredients for Sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1.5 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 (15 ounce) can diced fire roasted tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • (optional) parsley , for garnish
  1. Begin by filling a large pot with water, bring to a boil. Add cabbage to the water and let boil with lid on, turning the cabbage once or twice. Boil for 10 minutes.
  2. Once the cabbage is done, place the pot under cold water and let the hot water cycle out. Gently pull the cabbage leaves from the head, being careful not to rip any. I find it easiest to follow the top leave to the stem, then slowly pull away from the stem.
  3. Once all the leaves are removed, pat dry with paper towels then place on a plate lined with dry paper towels.
  4. Clean out the pot, then melt 1 tablespoon of butter in the bottom of the pot over low/medium heat. Add the chopped onions and saute until the onions become slightly transparent. Add the garlic and saute for a minute or two. Then add the brown sugar, continuing to stir until it begins to caramelize.
  5. Add the tomato paste, slowly mixing it in until it becomes smooth. Then add the mustard. Add the apple cider vinegar, then the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes.
  6. Stir well, then add seasonings. Mix to combine, then bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer, uncovered, for about 10-15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  7. While the sauce is simmering, add all the filling ingredients to a large bowl.
  8. Stir them up with a wooden spoon, although you might need to get your (clean) hands in there to make sure it's all combined properly.
  9. Lay your cabbage leaves on a clean surface, and spoon in about 1 tablespoon of cooked brown rice, then add about ⅓ cup of meat mixture. Just eyeball it based on the leaf size, the smaller leaves will obviously hold less filling.
  10. Once you've filled the cabbage with the meat and rice mixture, bring the bottom (stem part) up and over the filling. Then you will fold each side in to cover the filling and then roll it up to the top of the leaf. It's very much like folding an egg roll or spring roll, if you're familiar. Once folded, place seam side down in a large baking dish.
  11. After the cabbage rolls are filled and the sauce is done, spoon the sauce down the middle of the cabbage rolls.
  12. Cover the dish tightly with foil, then bake in preheated oven for 1 hour. After 45 minutes, remove the foil and cook the rest of the 15 minutes uncovered.
  13. Chop up parsley as garnish and sprinkle over the top to serve, once cooled.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2 cabbage rolls
Recipe by Mama Harris' Kitchen at