Italian Stuffed Cabbage

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Italian Stuffed Cabbage

I love stuffed cabbage.  I have a paleo version but this is my Italian version made my way.  My Nana loved making stuffed cabbage and I do too!  It's comfort food that warms the soul.  

I always have Italian sauce in my freezer as I make it in large batches.  I will include a simple sauce at the end of the recipe.




  • 2 large heads cabbage
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onions, 1/2 cup chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/4 cup steamed white rice, cooled
  • 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 3-4 cups tomato sauce


  1. Take cabbage heads and remove any damaged or brown leaves.  Cut out the core with a sharp paring knife.  Set aside.  Heat a large pot of water and bring to a boil.  Add in about 2 tablespoons of salt.  Add in cabbage and boil for about 15 minutes.  Drain and run under cold water. Let cool for a few minutes then start removing the leaves.  Any that are tough set them aside.  

  2. In a sauté pan over medium heat add in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Once hot add in the onions and cook for about 3 minutes. Add in garlic and continue cooking for about 1 minute.  Add in tomato paste with a small spoon and press into the pan to dissolve into the pan.  Add in vinegar and reduce to medium for about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool.

  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a large bowl add beef and pork.  Use a fork to loosen up.  Whisk in egg.  Add in rice, parsley, basil, thyme, salt and pepper.  Once the onions cool down add to the mixture.  Mix around to incorporate ingredients using a fork or your hands. 

  4. Take a large baking sheet and line with the leaves you pulled that you are not going to use to line the bottom of the pan.  Pour in 3/4 cup of sauce over the leaves.  Take the leaves yo will be using. Cut the center vein of the leaf and lay flat on your work surface.  Add about 3-4 tablespoons of the meat mixture to the center of the leaf.  Fold the sides in over the meat then roll to enclose tightly. Place the cabbage seam side down.  Continue the process creating a single layer.  Press tight together to fit all of them.  

  5. Pour another 3/4 cup of sauce to cover the stuffed pepper then layer with the remaining leaves. Drizzle with olive oil.  Cover and bake for 2 hours.

  6. Tomato Sauce

    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes (san marzano)
    • 1 6 ounce can tomato paste
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
    • 1 teaspoon dried basil
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

    In a medium sauce pan add oil.  Once hot add in garlic and cook for 30 seconds.  Pour in tomatoes and bring to a simmer.  Add in paste and use the back of the spoon to dissolve into the sauce.  

    Add in oregano, parsley, basil, salt and pepper. Stir, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.  Taste for seasoning.

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