Farmhouse Cabbage Rolls

Farmhouse Cabbage Rolls

Our take on this international farmhouse standby but you can use whatever is in your pantry

Some dishes are ubiquitous around the world; cabbage rolls are one of the most widespread foods, with versions found in Eastern Europe, North Africa, North America, Scandinavia and even northern China. Their names are many, too: kåldolmar in Sweden, hollapse to Mennonites, galumpkis in Poland, halupki in Russia, holishkes to European Jews, and in the Ukraine, holubtsi. And they’re all a variation on a few key elements: cabbage leaves (blanched or fermented), a meaty filling, rice or grains, and aromatics, all simmered in a tomato-y sauce. Here’s our take on this international farmhouse standby, but really, they can be made with any leftover ingredients you have in your kitchen. Serves 6
Makes about 15 rolls


1 28 oz (796 mL) can chopped tomatoes in juice1 large head cabbage
2 cups mushroom, beef or other stock
1 1/4 quinoa (3 cups cooked)2 tbsp butter, oil or fat + more or non-stick spray for greasing the pan1 lb ground grass-fed pork (ground beef, poultry or even walnuts will work) 1 cooking onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)1 tsp sea salt 
1 tsp pepper
1 small sweet potato, peeled and grated (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh dill + more for garnishing
1 cup finely chopped fresh chives, divided 
1 1/2 cups sour cream, divided


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Lightly butter, oil, or spray one large or two smaller casseroles, roasting pans or Dutch ovens. Pour in canned tomatoes with juice; set aside.

To prepare cabbage leaves for stuffing and rolling, cut off about 1/2 inch of bottom of cabbage head. Cut out core. Remove and discard any blemished or torn leaves from outer part of cabbage. 

Bring large saucepan or stockpot of salted water to a boil and lower in cored cabbage; make sure core hole fills with water. After 1 to 2 minutes, using tongs, gently pull away outermost leaves; tug from bottom end, where leaves are strongest. Keep doing this as leaves loosen and let go. Transfer blanched leaves to bowl of cold water, then to towel-covered tray to dry. This will take up to about 10 minutes; you’ll need about 15 good leaves. 

Trim out thickest part of leaf spine—just the bottom part—so that leaf is pliable; set aside. 

To make filling, in small saucepan over high heat, add stock and dry quinoa; cover with lid. As soon as stock comes to a boil, reduce heat to low and let quinoa cook, covered, for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and remove lid; set aside. 

In large skillet over medium heat, add butter. Add pork, onion, salt and pepper; fry, stirring often and breaking up any lumps of pork, until pork begins to brown, about 5 minutes. 

Add grated sweet potato, dill and 1/2 cup of the chives; stir to combine and cook for 3 to 5 more minutes. Add cooked quinoa and 1/2 cup of the sour cream, stirring to fully combine; set aside and let cool. You’ll have about 5 1/2 cups of filling.

To make rolls, use about 1/4 cup of filling per leaf, placed in centre, just above cutout spine. It may be more or less, depending on leaf size: too much and it will be messy; too little and it will be all cabbage, no filling! 

Starting at leaf bottom, roll away from you, tucking in one side and then the next, to form tight little envelope. 

Arrange rolls stem side down on top of tomatoes in oven-safe dish, fitting rolls tightly together if possible. 

In bowl, combine 1 cup sour cream with 1/2 cup chopped chives; spread over rolls and bake, uncovered, until piping hot all the way through and bubbling, about 35 minutes. If top starts to get too brown, lightly cover with foil. 

Garnish with extra sprinkle of pepper and fresh dill and serve with more sour cream if desired.

TIP For a quick side veggie, chop and sautée any unused parboiled cabbage, as well as the trimmed parboiled spines, in butter or with bacon. 

To view more in the Farmhouse recipe series, click the links below:

Farmhouse Cabbage Rolls
Serves 6 – makes about 15 rolls

Classic Beef Stew With Dumplings
Serves 6

Blueberry Peach Maple Upside Down Cake 
Serves 6 to 8 

Signe Langford
Signe Langford

From Hudson, Quebec, now living in Port Hope, Ontario, Signe is a restaurant chef-turned-writer who tells award-winning stories and creates delicious recipes for LCBO’s Food & Drink, Manna Pro Hearty Homestead, The Harvest Commission, and Today’s Parent; she published her first book – Happy Hens & Fresh Eggs; Keeping Chickens in the Kitchen Garden with 100 Recipes – in 2015.

Posted on Monday, October 18th, 2021

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