Summer Rerun: Guest Recipe: Cabbage Rolls

I am reposting this because John Cole had a birthday last week and his dad made him cabbage rolls again and everyone was asking for the recipe. Here it is. Originally published August of 2010:

I was catching up on my Balloon-Juice reading one afternoon, when blog host John Cole mentioned that his dad was making cabbage rolls that night for dinner.  It so happens I’ve been looking for a good recipe for cabbage rolls for a while.  I figured if it was served in the Cole household it must be good.  John was kind enough to fulfill my request, so here is Dad Cole’s recipe:

Dad’s Cabbage Rolls

  • 1 medium size head of cabbage
  • (If you use Savoy cabbage, the cabbage will cook faster and the rolls are more delicate.)


  • 1 pound ground beef mixed with ½ pound ground pork
  • 1 small to medium onion, chopped small
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup uncooked rice
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley, oregano, and basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons tomato paste


  • 1 large can of tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp parsley, oregano, and basil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes dissolved in a cup of hot water
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 small can of sauerkraut

Boil three quarts of water in a large pot. Cut the core out of the cabbage and remove each cabbage leave carefully. When the water is boiling, drop the cabbage leaves into the water. Leave for at least two minutes. Remove and cool in ice cold water. Drain and then use a pair of shears to remove the hard ridge that is the spine of leaf. Set leaves aside on a paper towel to drain.

In a bowl, mix the beef and pork with the eggs, seasonings, rice, and tomato paste as though you were making a meatloaf.

Take a leaf, place a large tablespoon of the meat mixture at the core end of the leaf. Roll once, then fold each side over the mixture and complete rolling the filling to the end of the leaf.

Place rolls in a crock pot or baking casserole. As you layer them, spread the sauerkraut and any leaves not used after (chopped into fine strips). Mix sauce ingredients and pour over the rolls. Make certain there is enough liquid to cover the rolls. If using a crock pot, select the time. They can be cooked slowly over a 6-8 hour period, or within 4 hours. If baking, set the oven at 350 and bake for at least 1 ½ hours or until a fork can easily pierce a top roll. If more liquid is needed to keep the rolls covered, mix a small can of sauce with an equal amount water and add during the cooking time.

Serve with a sprinkle of freshly grated aged Parmesan.

I can’t wait to have an occasion to try these out.  And I’ll let you in on a little secret.  I only hang out at Balloon-Juice because I have a huge crush on this guy:

Balloon-Juice Lord and Master

John, I had to go back 4 months to find a good picture of Tunch,  which means one thing, MORE TUNCH please.