Stuffed Cabbage Rolls


Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, also known as “Golubtsi” in Russian or “Sarma” in Eastern European cuisines, are a comforting and hearty dish made with tender cabbage leaves filled with a savory mixture of ground meat, rice, and seasonings. This dish is perfect for family dinners, and it brings together a medley of flavors and textures in every bite. While it takes a bit of time to prepare, the result is well worth the effort, providing a meal that’s both satisfying and nutritious.


  • 1 large head of cabbage
  • 1 lb ground beef (or a mix of beef and pork)
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  1. Prepare the Cabbage:
    • Remove the core from the cabbage head. In a large pot, bring water to a boil and blanch the cabbage head for about 5-7 minutes, or until the outer leaves become pliable. Carefully remove the cabbage from the water and let it cool slightly. Gently peel off the large, softened leaves, trying to keep them whole. You will need about 12-14 leaves.
  2. Prepare the Filling:
    • In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground meat, cooked rice, chopped onion, minced garlic, egg, parsley, salt, black pepper, paprika, and thyme. Mix well until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
  3. Assemble the Rolls:
    • Lay a cabbage leaf flat on a clean surface. Place about 2-3 tablespoons of the meat mixture in the center of the leaf. Fold the sides of the leaf over the filling, then roll from the bottom up to enclose the filling completely. Repeat with the remaining leaves and filling.
  4. Prepare the Sauce:
    • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes (with their juice), and beef broth. Stir to combine and bring the mixture to a simmer. Let it cook for about 5 minutes to meld the flavors.
  5. Cook the Cabbage Rolls:
    • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). In a large baking dish or Dutch oven, spread a thin layer of the tomato sauce mixture. Place the cabbage rolls seam-side down in the dish, arranging them snugly in a single layer. Pour the remaining sauce over the rolls, ensuring they are well covered.
  6. Bake:
    • Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil or a lid and bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour. After 1 hour, remove the cover and bake for an additional 20-30 minutes, or until the rolls are tender and the sauce is bubbling.
  7. Serve:
    • Let the stuffed cabbage rolls rest for a few minutes before serving. Serve hot, spooning some of the sauce over each roll.


  • Cabbage Selection: Choose a large, firm head of cabbage with pliable leaves. If the outer leaves are tough, blanch them a bit longer until they become soft.
  • Meat Mixture: You can use a combination of ground beef and pork for a richer flavor. Ground turkey or chicken can be used for a lighter option.
  • Make Ahead: Stuffed cabbage rolls can be assembled a day in advance and stored in the refrigerator until ready to bake. They also freeze well for future meals.


Stuffed Cabbage Rolls are a classic comfort food that brings together the savory flavors of meat, rice, and aromatic spices wrapped in tender cabbage leaves. This dish is both satisfying and wholesome, perfect for a family dinner or a special occasion. With its rich tomato sauce and perfectly cooked filling, these rolls are sure to become a beloved addition to your recipe collection. Enjoy this traditional dish that has stood the test of time across many cultures!


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