Joan Nathan's Chosen Stuffed Cabbage

By • September 4, 2013 21 Comments

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Author Notes: Sweet and sour comfort food. A perfect one-dish meal for the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, or for any time! Joan Nathan

Makes 24 rolls


  • 1 head cabbage, frozen, about 2 pounds
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup rice, uncooked
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped


  • One 35-ounce can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 lemons
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Defrost the cabbage the night before cooking. When it is completely defrosted, separate the leaves.
  2. To make the filling: In a large bowl, mix the ground beef, salt, pepper, eggs, rice, ketchup, and chopped onion; set aside.
  3. Place 1 heaping tablespoon of the filling on each cabbage leaf. Tuck the ends in and roll up like a big cigar. Place them, open side down, in a 6-quart casserole.
  4. To make the sauce: Cook onions with oil in a saucepan for a few minutes, then add the tomatoes, tomato paste, salt and pepper to taste, onions, ketchup, the juice of one lemon, brown sugar, and raisins. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 15 minutes, covered.
  5. Pour the sauce over the cabbage. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for one hour and a half, and then uncover for an additional half hour, adding water if too dry. Taste for sweet and sour and, if needed, squeeze the juice of the remaining lemon over all.
  6. Turn the stuffed cabbage rolls onto a serving platter, spoon the sauce over, and serve. This is even more delicious the second day.

More Great Recipes: Ground Beef|Beef & Veal|Vegetables|Entrees|Cabbage

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Comments (21) Questions (0)


5 months ago sbf-ct

Could I cook this in a slow cooker?


6 months ago Jocelyn

Should the stuffed cabbage rolls be cooked before freezing, or frozen uncooked? It's a Sunday night, and I want to serve this Saturday evening... Thank you!


11 months ago lena16

Ground beef is usually not pre-cooked before being mixed with other stuffing ingredients. The rice, however, should be partially cooked before using to minimize the risk of it being undercooked in a finished dish.


over 1 year ago Bev Hoffman-Hoffman

Why is the cabbage frozen?


about 1 year ago HalfPint

HalfPint is a trusted home cook.

Softens the cabbage and makes the leaves easier to stuff and roll. Freezing skips the extra step of boiling the cabbage that some recipes employ to soften the leaves.


over 1 year ago Marsha Gainey

Made this and it's great! It was my first time eating AND making stuffed cabbage. Great inaugural experience!


almost 2 years ago Elaine Greene Weisburg

My sister is the cabbage stuffer in the family and she follows Barbara Kafka's method of coring the raw cabbage and giving it six minutes in the microwave. She says the leaves peel right off.
From Elaine Greene


over 1 year ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I tried this technique today and it worked great. Thanks for sharing it.


almost 2 years ago Trena Heinrich

I've never made stuffed cabbage before. This was absolutely delicious! I really enjoyed the freezer technique for wilting the cabbage...worked like a charm!


almost 2 years ago Doreen Cheyne

thank you for the tip on freezing the cabbage.I've been making stuffed cabbage for years, and the part I wasn't fond of was boiling the cabbage. I'm definetely going to try this and this recipe, sounds delicous


almost 2 years ago Gayle Engle

Do you provide nutritional values to your recipes?


almost 2 years ago JGinLSL

I don't understand, why freeze the cabbage only to have to thaw it overnight before using?


almost 2 years ago Kate

Because when it is frozen, and then thawed, the leaves are limp, and you don't have to boil them.


almost 2 years ago QueenSashy

QueenSashy is a trusted home cook.

Kate is right. This tenderizes the cabbage, and it also helps with separating the leaves...


almost 2 years ago Fred Frost

Ladies and Gentlemen, adding katchup or tomato puree to stuffed cabbage is gross and disgusting... see hungarian recipes...PLEASE


almost 2 years ago QueenSashy

QueenSashy is a trusted home cook.

I come from the region and the recipes I’ve seen, call for a cup or so of tomato juice or tomato pulp in the sauce for the stuffed cabbage, when it is made from fresh cabbage leaves. This is the summer version of the dish. The winter version of the dish, made with sour cabbage (preserved cabbage) leaves is typically made without the tomato juice.


almost 2 years ago Kukla

We never use any eggs in the filling for stuffed cabbage, bell peppers, grape leaves or Zucchini. The uncooked rice is keeping the filling together perfectly.
It is also very tasty, piquant and traditional in Romanian recipes to stuff sour cabbage leaves. Many European delis carry jarred whole sour cabbage leaves. A good brand is “ZerGut”. You’ll just need to soak them for a few hours in cold water, changing the water a couple of times. We also add a heaping cup of the tomato sauce to the filling, which makes it moist and very flavorful. And one more thing: the meat should be not les then 80/20 % fat. Rice love fat; it makes them plump and delicious.


almost 2 years ago QueenSashy

QueenSashy is a trusted home cook.

Ha! I really like the trick with freezing the cabbage. Stuffed cabbage is one of the "national dishes" of Serbia (where I am originally from) and for about 30 years I have been using the boiling water method, and this is sooooo much easier. Thank you!


about 2 years ago Joan Nathan

This one is really a recipe for Sukkot -- so you've still got a couple weeks to plan :)


about 2 years ago sexyLAMBCHOPx

sexyLAMBCHOPx is a trusted home cook.

Love the recipes you share, but they're often way too late to consider since my holiday menus usually planned in advance (or the day before)!