Stuffed Cabbage Rolls; more spices

Making stuffed cabbage leaves with the common white cabbage I grew up with in the Midwest is a challenge.

Most recipes say to boil the entire head of cabbage so that you can get the tight leaves apart without ripping them to shreds.

I believe I did this once.

Then we moved to this side of the pond and I discovered green (Savoy) cabbage. The leaves are loose and come off the head easily. Just pull off as many as you want and save the rest of the head for later.

I have no idea if green cabbage is as common in the US now as it is here having never shopped for cabbage on my return visits.

If it is – use it.

My leaves were from a large head. If yours are smaller, or you just want smaller rolls, use more leaves. (Duh!)

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Total time: 75 minutes


  • 8 green (Savoy) cabbage leaves
  • 1/2 cup brown Basmati rice
  • 1 cup (8oz, 240ml) beef broth
  • 1 onion, chopped finely, divided
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 rib celery, chopped finely
  • 12oz (350gr) ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbs Dijon-style mustard
  • 1 tbs bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 cups (15oz, 450gr) tomatoes, chopped, juices reserved
  • 4oz (120gr) mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tbs olive oil

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls


  • Blanche cabbage leaves in boiling water for 2 minutes.
  • Remove and drain.
  • Cook rice in beef broth for 16 minutes, or whatever your package says.
  • When done, uncover and spread on a plate to cool slightly.
  • Sauté 1/2 onion, celery in a small skillet in olive oil until tender. Remove from heat
  • Sauté remaining 1/2 onion, mushrooms, garlic in a medium skillet in olive oil until tender.
  • Add chili powder and sauté  briefly
  • Add Worcestershire, basil, tomatoes and simmer until needed. It should thicken slightly.
  • In a large bowl whisk egg.
  • Add crumbs, mustard, oregano, basil, paprika, cumin and combine.
  • Add onion / celery, beef and mix well
  • Add rice and mix well..
  • Divide mixture into 8 parts (or however many leaves you have).
  • Lay the cabbage leaves as flat as reasonable. Cut out the tough stem in a deep, narrow ‘V’.  Normally this cut will be about half the length of the cabbage leaf.
  • Take a leaf and lay it with the round end toward you and the (former) stem end away.
  • Place 1/8 of the beef mixture on the round end and fold the cabbage leaf over snugly.  Tuck the sides of the leaf in, folding over the rest of the leaf to the size of the roll.
  • Roll it up and place it, seam side down, in a baking dish.
  • Repeat with remaining leaves and meat mixture.
  • Pour sauce over the top, cover and bake, 400F (200C) for 40 minutes.
  • Remove and serve from baking dish.

Print Recipe

This is the last in the series on Herbs and Spices.

It’s easy and economical to make your own blends. You know exactly what you have and can adjust it to your own taste.

The following are examples of spice blends from:The Spice and Herb Bible

Barbecue Spice
1/4 cup paprika                          2 tbs sea salt
2 tbs garlic powder                     4 tsp sugar
3 tsp dried parsley                      1 tbs black pepper
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon                     1 1/2 tsp ginger

Cajun Spice Mix
1/4 cup paprika                          1/4 cup dried basil
8 tsp onion flakes                       1 tbs garlic powder
4 tsp salt                                  4 tsp black pepper
4 tsp fennel seeds                      1 tbs dried parsley
1 tbs cinnamon                          1 tbs dried thyme
1 tsp white pepper (or to taste)    1 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)

Chinese Five-Spice
2 tbs ground star anise               2 1/2 tsp ground fennel seeds
1 1/2 tsp ground cassia              1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp ground cloves

  Madras-style Curry (one example of curry blends) – all ground spices
1/3 cup coriander seed                2 tbs cumin
1 tbs turmeric                               2 tsp ginger
1 tsp yellow mustard seed           1 tsp fenugreek seed
1 tsp cinnamon                           1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp cardamom seed              1/2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp black pepper

Garam Masala  all ground spices
4 tsp fennel seeds                       2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 1/2 tsp caraway seeds             1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cloves                             1/2 tsp green cardamom seeds

Harissa – made into a paste
1/4 cup dried chili flakes               1/4 cup hot water
6 fresh spearmint leaves               2 tbs crushed garlic cloves
2 tbs sweet paprika                       2 tsp caraway seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds                   1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp salt                                       1 tbs olive oil

Jerk Seasoning
4 tsp ground allspice                    2 tsp chili flakes
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger                1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp dried thyme

Paella Seasoning
50 saffron stigmas                          2 tbs mild Spanish paprika
2 tbs sweet Hungarian paprika       1 tbs sweet smoked paprika
2 tsp onion powder                         2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder                  1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp black pepper

Tagine Spice Mix
2 tbsp mild paprika                        2 1/2 tsp ground coriander seed
1 tsp cassia                                   1 tsp medium chili powder
1/2 tsp ground allspice                  1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground green cardamom seed

Do you have blends or combinations that you regularly use?

Last update on February 11, 2018

10 thoughts on “Stuffed Cabbage Rolls; more spices”

  1. I like the savoy cabbage with cabbage and noodles when I use a delicate noodle. I use the regular cabbage when I’m using heavier noodles like handmade Amish. When I make stuffed cabbage, I cheat and make a casserole. It’s easier, not as time consuming and tastes just as good. 🙂

  2. I’d include ras el hanout in the spice mixes. Here is my recipe: Spanish Fly. I’ve got half a dozen blanched cabbage leaves rolled up into cigars and in the freezer. I must get round to using them. Your recipe is good inspiration.

  3. Yes, cabbage is abundant here in the US, especially in the winter. My mother made stuffed cabbage (golubki) often; it was one of my favorite dishes. I also love cole slaw year round, which is a good way to use the rest of the cabbage.

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