Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Stuffed Cabbage

In Greek: λαχανοντολμάδες, pronounced lah-hah-no-dol-MAH-thes
Stuffed cabbage with ground beef and rice are covered with a traditional egg and lemon (avgolemono) sauce. Conventional Greek wisdom is that the best cabbage can be found after the first frost, so all versions of stuffed cabbage are winter favorites.
In Northern Greece, stuffed cabbage called yiaprakia (γιαπράκια, say: yah-PRAHK-yah), are made with toursi (brined) cabbage and ground pork, and are a traditional Christmas dish.

My Greek grandmother used to make this dish when I was little and it always made me feel cozy.  She taught my mother and my mother taught me.  I always think of them when I make this dish. :)

·         1 head of cabbage
·         1 pound ground meat (beef, pork or turkey)
·         2 (14.5 oz) cans of either stewed or diced tomatoes
·         1 onion, chopped
·         2 garlic cloves, crushed
·         1-1 1/2 cups rice
·         Salt/pepper/seasonings to taste


Put ground meat in a bowl and add rice, onion/garlic, tomatoes, seasonings and stir well, then set aside.  My mom used to say it was better to let this sit for awhile so all the flavors blend with each other.

Core out the center of the cabbage and put into a large pot of water to boil.  Your goal is to slowly begin to peel the leaves off, one by one.  After about 5 minutes in boiling water the leaves start to soften, they will turn a brighter green.  I pull mine off with thongs and set aside to cool.  Be careful not to overcook the cabbage.

Note:  Some chefs like to first put their cabbage head in the freezer; however, my Greek grandma Stassa never put her cabbage head in the freezer -- so I don't either. You are welcome to try it if you like.

Once all the leaves are pulled apart, drain the pot and put a few loose baby cabbage leaves back in the bottom to prepare for the stuffed cabbage rolls.  This will prevent the rolls from burning the bottom of the pot.

Using the largest cabbage leaves, place about a handful of the meat and rice mixture on each cabbage leaf.

and roll up, tucking in sides.


Place the cabbage rolls with the seam side down in the cooking pot (I usually put a few leaves that are torn and pieces of the cabbage core at the bottom of the pot so the rolls dont burn), doing layers in a circle in the pot. 

Add water to fill pot halfway.  You can sprinkle peppercorns and add bay leaves on top and cover with any remaining loose cabbage leaves.

Cook on high until water begins to boil, then turn down heat to a simmer and allow to cook for 1 hour.

Drain the water and pull rolls out of the pot one by one.



  1. Yummy Misty! I am Ukranian and we make them, but a little different from you yours. Mom bakes them in the oven with tomato sauce over them. And, sometimes bacon is laid on top! Extra treat ;o)

  2. YES!!! I have a coworker that brought me some she made with a sweet tomato sauce... different! I also hear people eat them with mashed potatos...

  3. I make these in winter, my hubby thinks I don't love him if we go without for a season LOL... we put tomato sauces (with onions & garlic) over the top like Stacy's mom too :)

  4. LOL!!! my family drools when I tell them I'm going to make it (and I usually make it during colder seasons as well but was having a craving and a day off).

  5. My little sister raves about stuffed cabbage but I've not ever had it. I'm going to steal this recipe :)