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Test Kitchen: Whole Head Stuffed Cabbage

Cabbage Rolls are a big staple in Knox County (they seem an instinctive second only to Johnny Marzetti)! Luckily, I'm a fan and this was perfect for all those crushed tomatoes and juice I hastily froze at the mad dash end of summer!

Recently this recipe from the Sweet & Savory Meals website caught my eye for this whole head take on cabbage rolls, and with this wintery weather in full effect, testing it this week made for some great comfort food - I highly recommend it, although I'm not sure it's any less work compared to the traditional rolls. I especially enjoyed the way it serves up like a hot wedge salad!

Try it!

Let us know what you think of this recipe in the comments - I'd LOVE to hear about a veggie or vegan version.

Ingredients Sauce:

  • 1 can 28 ounces diced tomatoes undrained

  • 1 can 6 ounces tomato paste

  • 4 garlic cloves minced

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1 teaspoons dried oregano

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • 1 large head cabbage such as savoy or green cabbage

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

  • 1 medium onion chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic minced

  • 1 pound ground beef

  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 3/4 cup cooked rice

  • 1 large egg beaten

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs

  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary

  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth divided

  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch

  • 2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese

  • Garnish:

  • Fresh thyme

  • Oregano leaves


  • Combine sauce ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.

  • Place cabbage in a bowl with the core facing up and remove the core and center of cabbage, leaving a 1-in. shell. Discard core the chop and chop the cabbage leaves you removed from the center, set aside.

  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add oil.

  • Cook onion, garlic, and 1 cup of chopped cabbage until tender, 4-5 minutes.

  • Remove from the heat and cool slightly.

  • In a medium bowl, combine beef, onion mixture, Worcestershire sauce, 1 cup of sauce, rice, egg, salt and pepper, dried Italian herbs, rosemary.

  • Spoon mixture into the prepared cabbage shell.

  • Place cheesecloth in the bowl of the cabbage, big enough to cover the cabbage, and place the cabbage on top of it.

  • Gather cheesecloth around the cabbage and twist it tightly to securely enclose the cabbage leaves and filling.

  • Place 1 cup of broth, remaining chopped cabbage, and remaining sauce in a Dutch oven and mix well.

  • Add the stuffed cabbage, with twisted cheesecloth facing down. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until whole cabbage is tender and a thermometer inserted in the middle of the cabbage reads 165 degrees F, about 1 to 1-1/4 hours.

  • Remove cabbage and discard cheesecloth. Place cabbage on a serving platter.

  • Combine the cornstarch and remaining 1/4 cup water until dissolved and add to the mixture in the Dutch oven.

  • Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and boil until thickened, about 2 minutes.

  • Cut cabbage into wedges and serve topped with sauce and Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle with fresh thyme and oregano leaves on top.


Calories: 332kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 942mg | Potassium: 603mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 224IU | Vitamin C: 62mg | Calcium: 132mg | Iron: 3mg

NOTE: I hollowed out my cabbage head by scoring the cabbage and then scooping it out with the knife. It just kind of happened that way because I was enjoying the noise and feel of doing it that way, but I would repeat it. It left the cabbage pre-chopped as it spilled out onto the cutting board and I was ready to go for the next step.

*Interested in being a kitchen tester for us? how about a test EATER!? Just ask us how - you can leave a comment, email, or message us anytime!

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