Spicy Italian Stuffed Cabbage Rolls are a kicked-up twist on a classic East European favorite! This hearty, comforting meal will put a smile on everyone’s face and it’s sure to become a new favorite!
Stuffed cabbage of any variety definitely puts a smile on my face! It’s one of my favorite hearty, comforting meals that goes back to my Polish roots.
Sadly, I don’t remember my mother ever making stuffed cabbage yet my mother could pull off Polish cooking like a champ. However, I do remember my oldest sister making it and when eating stuffed cabbage rolls, I thought I had entered nirvana!
Stuffed cabbage rolls are something I crave and have to make at least once a year. This year, I decided to make a spicy, Italian-style version to share with you! Check out my highly-rated post for Spicy Asian Pork Cabbage Rolls from two years ago!
Friends! For my Spicy Italian Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, a combination of spicy Italian sausage, ground beef, rice, cheese and onion fill cabbage leaves that are then blanketed in a spicy tomato sauce and baked.
The inspiration for the spicy tomato sauce is a phenomenal Calabrian Hot Chili Paste (Affiliate Link) one of my customers introduced me to! Oh, the flavor!
How to make Spicy Italian Stuffed Cabbage Rolls:
- First, you’ll need to cook a whole head of cabbage to grab 12 of the leaves. Make sure the head is nice and big!
- Then, combine the filling ingredients. Soften some onion and mix it together in a large bowl with the meat and rice.
- So that you don’t have to spread all the cabbage leaves out and try to divide the filling out evenly among them all, simply cut the filling into quarters in the bowl…
- Then cut the quarters into thirds! Voila! 12 even portions! This works well when stuffing bell peppers, too!
- Then, start filling and rolling the cabbage leaves. Cut a “V” at the bottom, removing the tough stem.
- Place the filling at the top of the “V.”
- Place the sides of the cabbage leaf over the filling….
- Then, simply roll it up!
- Place in a prepared baking dish….
- Top with the sauce you mixed up in a skillet (to save a bowl) after softening some onions….
- And friends! Spicy Italian Stuffed Cabbage Rolls!
Please don’t tell my Polish relatives I’ve gone Italian with the cabbage rolls! But it could quite possibly be my favorite stuffed cabbage roll recipe ever!
Helpful tools and equipment to make Spicy Italian Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (Affiliate Links):
- Nonstick cooking spray or oil
- 1 large head of cabbage (2 1/2 to 3 pounds)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped (approximately 1 heaping cup)
- 1 pound hot Italian sausage, casings removed
- 3/4 pound ground chuck
- 3/4 cup converted white rice
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 can (28-ounce) crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 cup water (to rinse out the crushed tomatoes can)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon Calabrian hot pepper paste (or 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 13 x 9-inch baking dish by spraying with cooking spray or lightly brushing with oil.
- In a large soup pot, heat 4 quarts of generously salted water to boiling over high heat.
- Carefully place the cabbage head in the water. Cook for 10 minutes.
- Transfer cabbage to a colander. When cool enough to handle, peel off 12 outer leaves.
- Without taking too much out, cut the thick ribs from the base of the leaves in an upside-down V-shape so you have 2 "flaps" and can fold them up easily.
- FILLING: Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, reduce heat to medium-low and cook 3-4 minutes just to soften. Remove from heat. Transfer half the onion to a large mixing bowl.
- To the onion in the bowl, add Italian sausage, ground chuck, rice, Parmesan cheese, water, chopped parsley, 1 teaspoon salt and black pepper.
- Divide the filling into 12 even portions.
- Place even amounts of the filling in the center of each cabbage leaf. Starting at the bottom of the leaf, fold the "flaps" over the filling, then fold in the sides and roll up. Place seam side down in the prepared baking dish and repeat with remaining cabbage leaves and filling.
- SAUCE: To the onions in the skillet (save a bowl) add crushed tomatoes, water used to rinse out the can, tomato paste, hot pepper paste, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt and black pepper to taste. Stir together then pour over the filled cabbage leaves.
- Cover securely. Bake until cooked through in the center to 165 degrees, approximately 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes.
- Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and serve.
Amount Per Serving Calories 577 Total Fat 40g Saturated Fat 14g Trans Fat 1g Unsaturated Fat 27g Cholesterol 101mg Sodium 1165mg Carbohydrates 19g Net Carbohydrates 0g Fiber 2g Sugar 6g Sugar Alcohols 0g Protein 34g