Elaine's Cabbage Rolls

Elaine Douglas


This is a very old recipe that I have been using since 1965. Can be made ahead of time. They taste even better the second day. Leftovers freeze well. Sometimes I double the recipe so that I will have some to freeze.
The leaves from Savoy Cabbage or Chinese cabbage are easier to work with.
Preparing the cabbage leaves is the most time-consuming part of process.
My cousin freezes the cabbage heads so that when they defrost the leaves are already pliable.

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Makes 16 cabbage rolls
1 Hr
3 Hr
Convection Oven


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1 large
cabbage (pref. savoy)
1 lb
ground beef (or 1/2 beef or 1/2 pork)
3 Tbsp
cooked rice or 1 1/2 tbsp uncooked rice)
2 Tbsp
2 Tbsp
grated onion
1 Tbsp
lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp
salt, divided
1/4 tsp
1/2 tsp
paprika, divided


1 large
onion, chopped fine
1 pinch
2 Tbsp
vegetable oil
1/2 c
hot water
1 can(s)
tomato sauce (398 ml or 14 oz)
1/3 c
brown sugar
1/4 c
lemon juice

How to Make Elaine's Cabbage Rolls


  • 1Wash cabbage; cut out core. Drop cabbage, core side down into a large saucepan of boiling salted water to cover and blanch five or six minutes or until softened. Drain and carefully separate leaves. Alternatively, you can put the cabbage in the microwave to soften the leaves. Take the leaves off the head as they soften and then put the cabbage back in the microwave to soften the next layer.
  • 2Combine beef, rice, sugar, grated onion, one tablespoon lemon juice, one teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1/4 teaspoon paprika.
  • 3Drain cabbage leaves. Trim the tough center rib to make leaf more pliable. Place a spoonful of meat mixture on each leaf; roll up from the stem end leaving the sides loose. After it is rolled up, tuck in the sides like a dimple. This will secure the rolls without using toothpicks.
  • 4Saute fine-chopped onion with remaining 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp paprika and pinch of pepper in hot oil in skillet or dutch onion for about 10 minutes. Add hot water and transfer onion misture to casserole or leave in dutch oven. Arrange cabbage rolls on top of onions.
  • 5Mix tomato sauce with sugar and the 1/4 cup lemon juice; pour over cabbage rolls and cover.
  • 6Bake at 325 F for two to three hours. Taste and add more sugar and lemon juice if necessary. If cooked on stove top, cook over low heat.

Printable Recipe Card

About Elaine's Cabbage Rolls

Course/Dish: Casseroles
Main Ingredient: Beef
Regional Style: Canadian
Other Tags: Healthy, Heirloom

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