Vegan Cabbage Rolls

by on January 23, 2013
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Vegan Cabbage Rolls Stuffed with Lentils

Last week two people wrote to me on the same day asking for a recipe for cabbage rolls, and since I’d never made them before, I decided to take that as a sign. I’m always on the lookout for dishes that I haven’t yet cooked, and besides, cabbage is one of the few green vegetables in season this time of year. It seemed like cabbage rolls and I were meant to be.

Of course, I didn’t know at the beginning just how much work was involved in stuffing cabbage. I decided right away that the filling would be lentil-based; traditional stuffed cabbage recipes require some kind of ground meat, usually cow or lamb, and I find that a combination of lentils and grain is a good vegetarian replacement. So on Sunday, I cooked my lentils (1 1/4 cup lentils, 3 1/2 cups water, 2 cloves minced garlic, salt and pepper to taste and boil uncovered until tender) and soaked my bulgur wheat (1/3 cup bulgar, 2/3 cup boiling vegetable broth).

Then I noticed that the “whole” cabbage I thought I had in my fridge had, in fact, been partially sacrificed to make last week’s Cabbage Noodle Soup. Since it was too close to dinnertime to run to the store for cabbage and still have time to get dinner on the table, I put the lentils and bulgur into the fridge, asked my Facebook followers to tell me what to make with the contents of my fridge, and threw together a modified Aloo Gobi. Buying and stuffing a cabbage would have to wait until Monday.

When I got home from the grocery store on Monday, with the cabbage and 142 other things my family needs in the average week, I was glad I’d already cooked the lentils and grain. Rolling up the filling in the cabbage leaves turned out to be easier than I expected–cabbage leaves just seem to want to wrap themselves around stuff–but the whole process of making the tomato sauce, boiling the cabbage to get the leaves to come free, and trimming the leaves before stuffing them took longer than I expected. I could have made the whole process much easier by using canned lentils and jarred tomato sauce, but I think the recipe would have suffered. Of course, if you’re not up for an afternoon of cabbage stuffing adventures, do whatever you can to make this recipe quicker and easier.

Some things are easier to show rather than tell, so in the spirit of “a picture’s worth a thousand words,” here’s 8000 words’ worth of instruction. I’ve made it printable, so just click on the link above it if you’d like to have a copy to keep with the recipe.

Since it was my first time making cabbage rolls, I decided to be conservative and stick to the seasonings in the non-vegetarian recipes I found in cookbooks and online–meaning very little seasoning. As a result, these cabbage rolls are an excellent showcase for the earthiness of the lentils, the sweetness of the roasted tomatoes and raisins, and the, um, cabbaginess of the cabbage. I thought they were delicious as-is, but I’ve added a few seasoning suggestions to the recipe for those of you who like things highly seasoned.

Vegan Cabbage Rolls Stuffed with Lentils

Vegan Cabbage Rolls
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Be sure you have cooked lentils and grain on-hand before beginning this delicious but somewhat time-consuming recipe. I advise cooking them the day before. You can also mix the filling ingredients and store them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to make the rolls.
Serves: 5
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • pinch baking soda
  • 4 cloves garlic clove, minced
  • 28-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes*
  • 16-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes*, pureed in blender
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt* (or to taste)
  • generous grating black pepper
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 large cabbage
  • 3 cups cooked lentils (from 1 1/4 cup dry)
  • 1 cup cooked grain (bulgur wheat, kasha, brown rice, quinoa, etc.)
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (smoked or regular)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt* (or to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  1. Sauce: Heat a large non-stick pan and add the onions and a pinch of baking soda. Cook until the onion softens, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute. Add all remaining sauce ingredients except the raisins, reduce heat to low, and cover. Cook for at least 30 minutes as you prepare the cabbage leaves and filling.
  2. Fill a large deep pan with enough water to cover a cabbage and bring it to a boil. Remove all torn or ragged outer leaves from the cabbage. Use a paring knife to cut at an angle around the core and remove as much of it as you can. Put the cabbage core-end up into the boiling water and cook until the leaves soften and begin to come free of the cabbage; you may use a fork or tongs to loosen leaves if they become stuck, but be careful not to tear them. Remove each leaf and repeat until you have 10-12 whole cabbage leaves. (I’ve also read that you can freeze the cabbage overnight and let it thaw the next day; the leaves will be softened the same as after boiling. I haven’t tried this, though.)
  3. Place the leaves and the remaining cabbage head in a strainer and rinse under cold water. Finely shred the cabbage remaining on the head and add it to the sauce along with the raisins. Keep the sauce covered and continue to cook on very low.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix the lentils and all remaining ingredients, adding salt and pepper to taste. Dry each cabbage leaf gently and trim the thick rib near the stem end of each leaf.
  5. Put a cabbage leaf on your work surface with the concave side up, like a cup, and the stem end toward you. Place about 1/3 cup of the lentil mixture near the stem end (a little more for large leaves, less for smaller ones) and mold it into an oblong shape. Fold the stem up over the filling and then fold each of the sides toward the middle. Roll the filling up the rest of the leaf. You should have a nice, tight package. Place it on a plate and repeat with remaining leaves. (If you have some filling left over, it makes a delicious salad.)
  6. Spread about half of the tomato sauce in the bottom of a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot. Place each cabbage roll, seam-side down, on top of the sauce in a single layer. (It’s okay if it’s a snug fit.) Spread the remaining sauce over the rolls. Cover and cook on your lowest heat setting until the cabbage is tender, about 45-60 minutes, being careful not to burn the bottom.
  7. To serve, place two cabbage rolls on a plate and cover with sauce.
This is a very mild filling, inspired by Eastern European recipes that don’t use a lot of seasonings. Therefore, you can use it as a template to make rolls that reflect whatever culinary heritage you like. Here are some seasoning ideas:

Spice it up with red pepper flakes or cayenne, or go in a Louisiana direction by adding some Creole seasoning.

Add chili powder and cumin for southwestern flair.

Make them more like Polish golabki by adding sauerkraut to the sauce or filling.

Throw in some chopped fresh dill or caraway seeds

Give it an Italian twist with oregano and basil.

Go in a Middle Eastern direction by increasing the allspice and adding cinnamon and perhaps some mint (or season like stuffed grape leaves).

*For low-sodium diets, omit the salt and use salt-free canned tomatoes.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1/5th of recipe Calories: 356 Fat: 1.2g Carbohydrates: 72.3g Sugar: 25.4g Sodium: 1333.4mg Fiber: 19.8g Protein: 18.1g


More Vegetarian Cabbage Rolls

Golabkis (Stuffed Cabbage Rolls) guest blog by Vegan Yack Attack
Cabbage Rolls from Vegan Dad
Vegan Cabbage Rolls by Girl Makes Food
…and check out my Collards Stuffed with Red Beans and Rice for another green option


Follow these steps to easily make delicious vegan cabbage rolls filled with lentils and grains.

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{ 90 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Gina January 23, 2013 at 3:25 pm

I grew up eating these every winter–my Polish grandmother always made them–We called them galumpkis. Love to see a delicious vegan version~thanks!!


2 Pam January 25, 2013 at 9:10 pm

My Russian grandmother called them “galumpkis” too! I love cabbage rolls and these sound very much like hers.


3 Patty @ Vegetarian Recipes February 9, 2013 at 12:57 pm

I also grew up eating galumpkis – cooked by a Polish grandmother. Instead of a tomato sauce she used a cream sauce with a little vinegar. They were delicious.


4 ShyAnne February 15, 2013 at 7:06 pm

I’m suddenly missing Grandma’s galumpki’s rolled in Kapusta! It’s been over 20 years since I had them. perhaps soon!!


5 Kristina January 23, 2013 at 3:29 pm

Susan, these sound and look SO very good! I loved my mom’s cabbage rolls as a kid – and I can almost taste them now… I cannot wait to make these, thank you!


6 Abby January 23, 2013 at 3:48 pm

I’ve been looking for vegetarian stuffed cabbage recipe for awhile and this sounds delicious… What are your thoughts on the freezer friendliness of the dish? Also, do you think Step 6 is do-able in the oven?


7 Tammy January 29, 2013 at 6:53 am

I’m wondering the same thing. I wonder how well these would freeze?


8 Howard January 30, 2013 at 6:08 pm

I stuffed my cabbage with cooked Polenta(pressure cooker), sauted shitake mushrooms and added Mole sauce on top of the cabbage . I also placed my dish in the oven for about 45 minutes (I added about 1/4 -1/2 cup of low sodium broth , so it would not dry out). It was excellent


9 Anna@stuffedveggies January 23, 2013 at 3:51 pm

Thanks for a great recipe idea – I’ve never made them, either!

A few years back, I read directions for microwaving an entire cabbage to prepare all the leaves for stuffing at one time. I believe that the cabbage was to be wrapped in plastic wrap, and microwaved 5 minutes.

That might make a good shortcut for some who find the cabbage-leaf-boiling process tedious.


10 Cabbage Recipes July 30, 2014 at 7:24 am

That seems to be a good idea. It saves time, and also I think it prevents in over-cooking the leaf.


11 ALB January 23, 2013 at 3:59 pm

In Poland we’ve got very similair ones and it’s our national dish. We call them gołąbki – eng.pigeons – I’ve got no idea why 🙂 They’re stuffed with some rice&meat and then boiled in tomato sauce 🙂 but I prepared them in a veg-style way 🙂 If you’re curious you may check 🙂 and this what I also mulled over and it was just great! –

Greetings from snowy Poland!


12 C Luker January 23, 2013 at 4:20 pm

My mother, who makes cabbage rolls the hard work way, gave her lazy daughter a recipe that takes most of the work out of the equation. Simply make whatever filling and sauce you’d use for filling and topping (mine is tomato, rice, veg ground round, onion etc.) While it simmers (to cook the rice) chop cabbage into shreds (I use 4 cups total.) Then layer half the cabbage in bottom of an oiled, deep casserole dish, top with half tomato mixture or whatever you are using, rest of cabbage, then rest of tomato mixture. 350 F oven, covered for an hour. Makes tons and tastes just the same.


13 Eliza January 23, 2013 at 4:22 pm

Hey, you gotta try making these with pickled cabbage or vine leaves. Romanian Foodie tip of the day :p


14 Emily January 23, 2013 at 4:24 pm

This is like a healthy version of my Ukranian grandma’s cabbage rolls (she made them with white rice and ground beef, and lots and lots of butter–ugh)…Love it!


15 Teri January 23, 2013 at 4:30 pm

This is great. It has been a while since I have made these, thank you for the re-inspiration!

I just wanted to add that a great way to amp-up the nutritional density of this dish is to use Collard Greens in place of the Cabbage. I follow the same de-stemming process and steam lightly but often find that I can get 2 rolls out of 1 large leaf.

Yumm – I now have our dinner planned for tomorrow night – THANKS!


16 Maddy January 23, 2013 at 4:38 pm

Hi, I am from Central – Southeastern Europe and I have always loved these as a child, even if I hated meat. But when I got older, I made my own version of it. I hope you don’t mind me sharing how I do it 🙂
I have never used fresh cabbage, always used pickled cabbage leaves, it just gives it that wonderful taste. I have been advised however, to put a fresh cabbage in the freezer to freeze, then get it out and let it come to room temperature, and the leaves will be soft and perfect for rolling. Never tried it though. You can also use vine leaves instead of cabbage, some people love them.
For the stuffing, what I do is saute a lot lot lot of onion – about 4-5 large ones, shredded carrots or mushrooms can be added too, then add rice (the kind that is sticky), saute a bit more, then add a bit of the tomatoes from the can, for color, and finally add condiments: a lot of dried thyme and lovage (that’s just how my grandmother always makes them), salt, pepper and cayenne pepper powder. When rolling, I leave space for the rice to expand. Then place rolls in a pot for boiling, adding tomatoes directly from the can, and the most important, a few bay leaves. That’s it.
I will most definitely, try your version too!!! 🙂


17 Maddy January 23, 2013 at 4:58 pm

I am sorry, I skipped the cabbage boiling part and didn’t see the freeze tip.


18 Marty January 23, 2013 at 4:39 pm

I used to make a version that mother made growing up I think from the NYT cookbook. I made it vegan, but using raisins and pine nuts still. The raisins add a nice sweetness to the stuffing. I’ve not made them for years, now I know what I’ll make for dinner! Thank you!


19 augusta January 23, 2013 at 4:49 pm

If you have time, freeze the whole cabbage the day before making the stuffed cabbage rolls. When defrosted, the leaves will be limp and easy to remove and roll around the filling.


20 Susan Voisin January 23, 2013 at 4:52 pm

I mention that option in the recipe. Glad to know it works!


21 Shannon January 23, 2013 at 4:51 pm

Wow this looks amazing! This is getting pinned and I will make it soon with my husband to help me with some of it.


22 Jessica January 23, 2013 at 6:06 pm

These look so good. I’m going to have to try them! I was a vegan years ago but now am just a vegetarian but have contemplating on going back to veganism so I’m looking for new recipes to try to get inspired! Thanks for this one.


23 Laura T. January 23, 2013 at 6:22 pm

This looks great 🙂 I love cabbage. We get an organic veg box delivered weekly and we have been receiving around 3 small cabbages a week and there is only two of us (!) so it’s great to have more ideas.
Just wondering, what is the baking soda in the sauce for? I’ve never seen it used in anything but baked goods.


24 Susan Voisin January 23, 2013 at 6:42 pm

Baking soda speeds up the cooking of the onions so that they begin to caramelize without any oil. They wind up more flavorful than onions that have been simmered in water or broth, as other fat-free cooks suggest doing. Or at least I think they do! 🙂


25 moonwatcher January 23, 2013 at 6:46 pm

Hi Susan,

These are beautiful! I love cabbage, and have long toyed with making something like this. But I usually end up using collard greens and just rolling something up in one or two for lunch. I am intrigued by the “freeze the cabbage” tip and may try it. For the gluten free option, kasha sounds good to me in this. And I liked the your suggestion of dill and caraway, and also one comment about lovage (which I fell in love with last Summer, and hope to see sprouting in my yard come Spring. I still have some dried from my neighbor’s giant plant). What a wonderful Winter dish. Look forward to trying it when I am feeding more than one.




26 shirley gordon January 23, 2013 at 7:17 pm

if you do not want to boil the cabbage you can put the whole cabbage in the freezer and when you defrost it it will come apart very easy


27 Dorothy January 23, 2013 at 7:58 pm

Thanks for this great recipe! I’m going to prepare it this week…it brought the Polish out in me!


28 Alexandra January 24, 2013 at 5:47 am

How well I know that feeling of blithly starting to make a recipe, and then gradually realizing there are more steps than you could have imagined, and then realizing how much time was going to be invested. And that feeling of wanting to back out gracefully, but its too late to do so.
I have made stuffed cabbage and remember feeling somewhat overwhelmed.
Its good to be reminded of the time commitment required, and good to have another of your wonderful recipes.


29 Dazzle59 January 24, 2013 at 7:34 am

Susan, thanks so much for this recipe – it looks delicious. My family is German and Polish, and cabbage rolls were a staple on our dinner table. As my folks are eating more plant-based meals these days, I will send them your version!


30 Charul @ Tadka Masala January 24, 2013 at 10:57 am

Loved the recipe and your 8000 word instructions! 😉


31 CLEvegan January 24, 2013 at 3:23 pm

I like Abby’s idea of step 6 in the oven, and what about a crock pot on low?


32 Susan Voisin January 24, 2013 at 3:49 pm

Yes, both tightly covered in the oven or in a crockpot should work.


33 aga January 24, 2013 at 3:41 pm

I can confirm this dish is a Polish thing (gołąbki). I am very happy to see you have used the white cabbage that is tradicionally used for this receipe (some people use savoy cabbage, as it is easier to roll golabki, but does impact the flavour).

and there is only one traditional sauce to go with these- tomato (made of broth that golabki were boiled in and tomato puree).

There also is another popular version of golabki (totally vegan, and that is not common as Polish cuisine is based on meats)- stuffing is made of cooked buckwheat and mushrooms (served with mushroom sauce), cooked buckwheat and grated raw potatoes (which need to be drained to get rid of exces liquid), again served with mushroom sauce. When I say mushrooms i mean wild mushrooms like porcini (which are comonly used in Poland fresh and dried)


34 Ben KARLIN January 24, 2013 at 6:20 pm

Hi Susan,

I check your recipes frequently. Even when I don’t use them exactly they inspire me! We eat very little soy but have a daughter with celiac disease; not vegetarians but meat is too expensive to eat regularly.

Saw this was tagged as glutenfree and it would be with rice substituted for bulgar wheat. Rice is the traditional grain. Quinoa might be interesting instead.

Buckwheat, which is not a wheat at all, could also be used but I wouldn’t mix it with the filling because of its tendency to go mushy. I’d start by toasting the groats in a cast iron skillet, then adding water and covering until the water was all absorbed. That’s the way my mother taught me to cook kasha. I’d stuff the leaves with a couple of spoonfuls of filling and one of the buckwheat groats before rolling.

It would really be, as they used to say on Iron Chef, “doubling down” on the nuttiness in the lentils and buckwheat. Mmmm. Wonder if we have cabbage in the fridge.


35 Chris January 25, 2013 at 9:09 am

I use collard greens instead of cabbage. They are less time
consuming…3 minutes in boiled water….and are thinner and
very tender after baking.


36 Susan Voisin January 25, 2013 at 9:40 am

I also love collard greens for Collard Rolls, but cabbage rolls taste totally different to me. Both are wonderful, so it’s good to have options.


37 Lablascovegmeu January 25, 2013 at 11:57 am

Filled with lentils? Absolutely genius! Going to try this soon.


38 Gina January 25, 2013 at 12:31 pm

So delicious, this recipe. Thanks!


39 Leah Troiano January 27, 2013 at 1:14 pm

So very happy to see this recipe. Been missing cabbage rolls.


40 Kelly P. January 27, 2013 at 1:54 pm

Thank you so much. Cannot WAIT to try these. I LOVE stuffed cabbage and would definitely miss it. Looking forward to making a healthy version!


41 shane palus January 28, 2013 at 11:25 am

Great recipe. I’m looking for ideas to create recipes to put on my vegan blog on transitioning to a raw vegan diet.


42 cindy January 29, 2013 at 3:20 pm

I love cabbage rolls – thank you so much for posting the step by step pictures of how to roll. I can never quite get mine to roll up properly, but now I have your handy and very helpful guide. 🙂


43 Trish January 30, 2013 at 4:36 pm

I made your vegan cabbage rolls and they were delicious! Both my husband and I enjoyed them. I had more filling than leaves so I layered the shredded cabbage with the sauce and filling into a casserole dish.
I forgot to put in the raisins and I added in more ground black pepper and no sale Spike seasoning and some hot sauce.
Thanks for the recipe. I am trying to cook vegetarian and vegan more often and this recipe had lots of flavour.
My Polish aunt called them galumpkis too.
Now I have to work on getting kale into our diet.


44 Eva Antoniak February 1, 2013 at 6:31 pm

I am new to the Vegan world and love your Vegan cabbage rolls, although cabbage is not a great favourite of my family. I previously made the meat version but with Swiss Chard. Swiss Chard is prepared exactly the same as the cabbage but has such a better taste than the cabbage, so I’m looking forward to the Vegan version but with Swiss Chard.
A couple of notes:
a) Before baking, you can freeze cabbage rolls up to a month- make sure they are well wrapped.
b) Put a couple of the broken leaves on the bottom underneath the rolls and a few on the very top and then they won’t burn when you are baking them.
Hope you find these suggestions helpful.


45 maureen February 2, 2013 at 5:16 pm

if you want something spectacular for a dinner party, follow the directions but instead of making rolls, line a colander with cheese cloth. add outer layers of cabbage alternating with filling until you reach the center or run out of space. tie the bundle securely and poach in watered down tomato sauce for about an hour. allow to cool all tied up for a good 15 minutes. unwrap and move to serving plate. surround with moodles, rice or boiled potatoes. cut in wedges to serve. provide regular strength tomato sauce to top each wedge.


46 Jennifer February 3, 2013 at 11:14 am

You can also freeze cabbage rolls for later — after rolling them, line them up on a cookie sheet and freeze them separately — then store the frozen bundles in a bag. You can cook them straight from frozen — it takes about 15 minutes or so in a steamer, so watch the water — then plate and add your sauce on top.


47 Patty February 3, 2013 at 8:45 pm

Are these freezable??? And if so, should you freeze them raw or cooked in the sauce?


48 Jennifer February 4, 2013 at 7:05 am

Freeze them raw, separate from the sauce. See my post just above.


49 Lanz February 6, 2013 at 8:48 pm

Dear Suzan,

Yummy …i used to make vegetarian spring rolls …… as I and mom are vegan ….. maybe I will share some other recipes with you in the near future ….. regards



50 Vegan Radhika Sarohia February 9, 2013 at 2:58 am

These look terrific
I wonder if I can figure out a low-carb stuffing mix instead of the lentils and grains…must play around with this
When I make the stuffed grape leaves from the recipe on this site (I make a quick raw version of those–it’s DELICIOUS) I always use riced cauliflower in place of the rice and skip the lentils altogether
Maybe something like that would work here…or perhaps a zucchini stuffing…will try out some options and post back 🙂


51 world best February 14, 2013 at 9:23 pm

This is one of those recipes that impresses me. Usually the family don’t accept such vegan ideas, but this they liked a lot. Delicious yet so quick and easy and less mess.


52 tricia February 20, 2013 at 7:23 am

“When I got home from the grocery store on Monday, with the cabbage and 142 other things my family needs in the average week” LOL! I mean seriously, I laughed out loud for real. This is my family too. I go in for one thing, come out with 142, and no more money. But we EAT well if nothing else. Glad to see this is a universal issue. And I will be making these, of course. I hated my Grandma’s cabbage rolls and stuffed peppers as a child, but I have a new found love for them – especially since I actually make them with FLAVOR! 😉


53 Patty Gibbs February 24, 2013 at 11:33 am

The cabbage rolls were delicious! Boiling the cabbage leaves takes a little patience, but no big deal. I had brown rice in the cupboard, and along with the spices called for in the basic recipe, I added fresh basil, oregano, and a dash of hot pepper sauce for a great seasoning palate. I also used white wine instead of lemon juice. A few drops of sesame seed oil offers a great finishing taste, but it’s really not necessary.

I had lots of left over lentil/rice mixture, so I added some garam masala, potatoes, shredded a couple of carrots, thinned out the mixture with veggie broth, and made a great stew. Jeeze, we’ll be eating very well for the next week or so, and everything was in my cupboard.


54 bikeandhikenc February 25, 2013 at 1:36 pm

Made this on Sunday and it turned out great. I had a bit more cabbage than I thought left so my sauce had lots of cabbage in it but is turned out delicious. I baked it in the oven covered at 350 for 45 minutes and served with corn on the cob. We were stuffed and will have enough for another night.


55 Trish March 16, 2013 at 9:51 am

Nice pictures! Really makes a brilliant post. Like your bare-bones recipe with suggestions for spicing it up. And especially appreciate the vegan focus. Everyone needs some vegan in their repertoire, just to get up close and personal with vegetables, and recognizing what “vegan” means–not something out of the ordinary, but simple and straightforward, and oftentimes food we already have in our menu.


56 robin March 21, 2013 at 9:05 pm

delicious and I cooked them in the oven


57 Egads April 2, 2013 at 5:20 pm

Sold! Soaking barley tonight, making these tomorrow. Thank you for the recipe & instructions.


58 lovemyfamily April 5, 2013 at 10:08 am

This was pretty good. My cabbage rolls didn’t look nearly as nice as yours, my husband was pretty impressed though. I also took all the cabbage leaves that were too small and chopped them up and added them to some of the extra lentil mixture and covered it in sauce; I put that in the freezer for a later date.


59 Anon & invis May 28, 2013 at 9:53 pm

Great idea


60 Nisha April 19, 2013 at 11:38 pm

Your step-by-step pictures are very good and clear. I made these rolls today. First I thought boiling the cabbage would make it tender, why bother trimming the thick center ribs? But then realized it IS important for cabbage to roll properly.
Thanks for sharing!


61 Evelyn April 28, 2013 at 7:42 am

If you don’t mind using a microwave, the cabbage preparation is amazingly simple. It works better if the cabbage is at room temperature, and best if you buy the cabbage from a farmers market the day you make it, but you can adjust. Just core the cabbage, rinse it, and put it in a bowl large enough to cover most of it, then put plastic wrap on top, leaving an open edge, where the plastic doesn’t cover the whole bowl but does cover the top of the cabbage. Put this in your microwave for 10 minutes and voila! You can easily peel the leaves when you are done. Peel as many as you can and if the leaves are less done toward the center, repeat with the remaining cabbage if you need more leaves.


62 Anon & invis May 28, 2013 at 9:48 pm

I don’t really have a question but I was looking for a cabbage roll recipe on a lark. I habitually pull the meat out of recipes and substitute this or that so I was really pleased when I saw lentils as an ingredient. One reason is I am overdue to serve them. Lol. I plan to make this recipe with lentils and rice not bulgar this time. I also love buLgar. I sincerely appreciate all the effort you put into this I am very much looking forward to trying it.
thank you again.

anonymous and invisible


63 Terra Kelly June 1, 2013 at 1:48 pm

First off this is a great recipe! I have made cabbage rolls many times before, but always with bacon. Today is the first day of making vegan cabbage rolls.

Tip: another way of getting the cabbage soft enough to roll properly is placing the cabbage in the freezer for at least two weeks… but now that I think of it, I do not know how the vitamins and minerals in cabbage reacts to being frozen.


64 Ashley July 8, 2013 at 11:22 am

I loosely based my lunch of this recipe today 🙂 It turned out delicious! I used a canned pasta sauce instead of making my own (Didn’t even have tomatoes in the house!) And I used black quinoa in the stuffing and also added kidney beans. It was soo good!


65 Lisa July 19, 2013 at 4:51 pm

These are delicious and this is a beautiful blog post! Love the step-by-step pictures for the cabbage folding. Thank you.


66 Josie July 24, 2013 at 2:38 am

This looks and sounds very delicious! I have been searching for the perfect dish to serve at the potluck my office is having on Friday and I have been having a hard time because I want to make something that is vegan for my boss. I’m not big on potlucks so I never know what to bring and this looked like the perfect dish. But my question is, can I serve these at room temperature? They will be sitting out for a good 3 hours..


67 Susan Voisin July 24, 2013 at 7:12 am

I think they’re probably better hot, but there’s no reason why you couldn’t serve them at room temperature.


68 Angie August 27, 2013 at 1:37 pm

I made your cabbage rolls for the first time today, they look and smell delicious !
I am sending some off to university with my daughter so I have put them in a container with the sauce already on them for her. I was hoping to see a comment about whether I could make them and than refrigerate them over night? I am planning on putting them in the oven with the sauce already on them and wondered if I put the sauce on today and than refrigerate over night if they will be mushy?
May be trial by fire.
Thanks for the great recipe 🙂


69 Susan Voisin August 27, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Angie, I think they will be fine refrigerated overnight. I hope your daughter likes them!


70 Metala Theart November 14, 2013 at 2:43 pm

I get an organic vegbox delivered every week so I never know what ingredients I will have and am always looking for new, exciting vegan recipes to use up my veg!

I brought a tagine back from morocco this summer and got a huge organic cabbage in my vegbox this week, so this recipe was perfect!

Super easy to make and tasted amazing! Looks pretty impressive too, so i will be putting this recipe on my dinner party list 🙂

I think I may make these as a side dish for Christmas dinner too, as a sort of alternative to sausages in bacon!




71 Lauren December 1, 2013 at 9:52 am

I actually made a mushroom-nut loaf for Thanksgiving, and I’m wondering if I could just crumble up the leftovers and use that as filling. Hmm!


72 Becky March 12, 2014 at 8:49 pm

These were delicious!! A bit of work, but definitely worth it.


73 Aria March 31, 2014 at 6:34 am

Hey Susan!
I tried this recipe and wrote a blog post about it in my new series “CopyCat Cooking” on my blog Artandbeautyfreak, you can check it out here:

Thanks for sharing!


74 sandy60 June 30, 2014 at 1:09 am

I think you could also use the filling for a taco. Just put it in a soft taco with tomato, cucumber, onion, lettuce and top with taco sauce.


75 tropit August 19, 2014 at 4:19 pm


You have this one just right. My grandmother was Bohemian and she also made Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with allspice, (or sometimes a dash of ground cloves,) and raisins. She usually sprinkled the final dish with some crushed, caraway seeds. It was so aromatic and delicious! I went on an online quest for perfect vegan cabbage rolls and yours was the only one that included these ingredients. You’ve hit the nail on the head! Thanks!


76 tropit August 19, 2014 at 6:37 pm

One more thing…If you cut a V-shaped notch out of the thick, bottom end of the leaf stem first, it will make rolling them up much easier. 🙂


77 Graham's Mom December 3, 2014 at 10:28 am

Could this be made in a pressure cooker? (I just bought the Instant Pot.)


78 Susan Voisin December 3, 2014 at 10:57 am

I think you could do it with the slow cooker setting on the Instant Pot. The IP sometimes has trouble pressure cooking tomato-based sauces, so I worry that it wouldn’t work for this, but the higher temperature slow cooker setting should work or the steam setting might work.


79 Kathy February 3, 2015 at 11:02 am

Soooooo where was the polenta?


80 Susan Voisin February 3, 2015 at 11:06 am

What polenta?


81 Anne September 22, 2015 at 6:35 pm

My husband’s grandmother, who is Polish, swore that the key to cabbage roles is celery salt! She claimed that it took her most of her adult life to figure out what was missing from her recipe compared to the one she grew up with. If you can include salt in your diet, check it out – it’s delicious!


82 westomoon January 23, 2017 at 1:20 pm

If you can’t include celery salt, use celery seed.


83 sherri patterson October 4, 2015 at 2:23 pm

I made this in its great. Nice to see vegan meals to are not hard and actually taste good. Thank you.


84 Aleah February 16, 2016 at 5:55 pm

I recently tried this recipe tonight! I am a cabbage roll lover! I’m so happy I found this as I have given up meat for lent! I tried the cabbage in the freezer thing and found it worked great! I will always do it this way. I, however, found it hard to shred the cabbage. Any suggestions? I have never cooked cabbage before and this was my first time so ang suggestions for that would be great! They are currently in the oven @ 350 after reading some tips from various replies on this recipe. Can’t wait to try!


85 Megan April 28, 2016 at 8:36 pm

Oh my, my, my! So yummy!!!


86 shirley July 12, 2016 at 12:16 pm

instead of boiling water to soften the cabbage leaves you can freeze the head and they come out wilted when defrosted


87 lisa September 8, 2016 at 2:57 pm

i found your recipe for stuffed cabbage and i was wondering why you add baking soda to cook the onions?


88 Susan Voisin September 8, 2016 at 3:07 pm

It makes them cook faster.


89 westomoon January 23, 2017 at 1:18 pm

If you’re all thumbs like me, I’ve discovered you can make a lasagna-style version of stuffed cabbage.

You prep the leaves as usual (some great tips here!), then put a splash of the liquid in the bottom of a covered baking dish, lay down a good layer of cabbage leaves, put in a layer of filling, then cover with another layer of cabbage leaves, pour the liquid over the whole thing, cover, and bake. (If your dish is deep, you can do another layer before you add the liquid.)

I’m definitely going to try C Luker’s shredded-cabbage version, but this approach still requires you to use a knife and fork to cut into bites — something I sometimes want, and not so common in veggie main dishes..


90 Eileen January 31, 2017 at 1:40 pm

My mother, who was Ukrainian, made cabbage rolls and stuffed them with whole buckwheat groats mixed with chopped cooked onion and diced fried salt pork. It was a real treat for us! I’m thinking I could recreate them without the salt pork, maybe using a veggie burger of some sort or just leaving it out. She topped them with tomato sauce or soup and put them in the oven for a little bit to cook the flavors together.


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