I’ve been wanting to make cabbage rolls for awhile. One of those old comfort foods. So when a friend from back in Edmonton came to visit, she agreed to be my guinea pig and I made my first batch. I was actually inspired after watching an episode of Triple D. It featured a Jewish deli that made a rice free cabbage roll. What crazy deliciousness was this?!

Of course they had to ruin it and put some kind of sweet raisin sauce on it.

So when I made mine, I took the inspiration of the rice’less meat center and a tomato based Ukrainian style cabbage roll. And low carb. Picking the crushed tomatoes with the lowest carb / sugar ratings, not using the carb laden soups, no rice, etc. etc. The rolls got a thumbs up from friend and hubby, and I ate more than I should have probably.

Note: next time I’m going to add some cheese I think. In and on top. Thinking maybe an asiago or parmesan. Something sharp.


Cabbage Rolls


  • 1 head of green cabbage
  • 1 lb italian sausage meat
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 2 onions rough chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano
  • 2 leaves of basil
  • 1/2 tbsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp concentrated tomato paste
  • 2 c tomato juice


Prep the cabbage

  • Remove the core of the cabbage and set in boiling water for 14-16 minutes until the leaves are soft. As you peel the leaves off, you may have to pop the head back into boiling water to soften the leaves.
  • Once softened, remove the head and place in an ice bath

The meat mix

  • Put onion and herbs in a food processor and chop fine
  • Put all ingredients (EXCEPT the tomato juice) in a large bowl and mix
  • In a large dutch oven, put a scoop of the sauce on the bottom.
  • Place a couple leaves on top of the sauce, add another scoop of sauce on top of the leaves
  • Remove the hard spine from a leaf and somewhat overlap the cut edges
  • Depending on the size of the leaf, put about 1/4 - 1/2 c of meat mix on top of the cut edge fold
  • Fold sides of leaf over meat, the one edge, and roll
  • Place seam side down in the dutch oven
  • I had 2 layers of the rolls and put a layer of sauce between them
  • Cover with a layer sauce, gently pour tomato juice around edges
  • Put cover on dutch oven
  • Bake for 2 hours at 325F
 May 24, 2015 edit: I made this in a casserole form today since my cabbage was just not cooperating. The leaves were small, ripped, and it was just a frustrating experience trying to get the rolls nice and tight. I added some grated parmesan to the meat and then put a bit of sauce in the bottom of a lasagna pan, one layer of the cabbage, half the meat, some sauce, grated spiced gouda cheese. Repeated. Ended with sauce and cheese and baked, at 324F, for 1 1/2 hours covered with foil, removed the foil and baked for another half hour.

Due to a combination of having no rice to soak up the juice, the watery cabbage, and in a small container, it was very juicy. It tasted just like a flattened cabbage roll, but was swimming in liquid. I drained off the watery juice and baked for another half hour and it turned out fine.

Cabbage roll lasagna

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