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! On the side, everyone will love this baked beans recipe!
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!
For my 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 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!
- Roasted Cauliflower with Black Olive Pangrattato
- Roasted Artichokes with Garlic Butter
- Cauliflower Antipasto Salad
- Massaged Kale Antipasto Salad
For more great stuffed vegetable recipes, you'll also love:
- Italian Beef and Farro Stuffed Peppers
- Chorizo and Brown Rice Stuffed Poblano Peppers
- Barley Risotto Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
- Southwestern Beef and Barley Stuffed Bell Peppers
- Spicy Asian Pork Cabbage Rolls
- Beef Stuffed Zucchini with Tomato Sauce
Italian Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
- Cooking spray - or oil for baking pan
- 1 large head green cabbage - 2 ½ to 3 pounds
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion - finely chopped (approximately 1 heaping cup)
- 1 pound hot Italian sausage - casings removed
- ¾ pound ground chuck
- ¾ cup converted white rice - (parboiled rice)
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- Freshly ground black pepper - to taste
- 1 can (28-ounce) crushed tomatoes
- ½ 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.
- 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.
- 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.
These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you're using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.
Jean-Pierre Nadeau says
This is a new twist on the stuffed cabbage. Very tasty. We've made it at least 3 times. We love it.
Paul aka Big Kahoona says
Made this vegan using beyond sausage and cashew based Parmesan. Its in the fridge to be cooked tomorrow but I think its going to be quite good!!
Hi, Paul, Thanks so very much and love how you made it vegan! Hope you enjoy and have a wonderful holiday!
Paul aha Big Kahoona says
Was a huge hit for Christmas Eve dinner! Even the vegan doubters raved over this recipe.
Hi, Paul, So happy to hear that! Glad you and everyone enjoyed! Have a wonderful holiday season!
Such a great recipe !! I added some mozzarella to the rice mix because I am a cheese lover! Highly recommend
Hi, Alexis! Thank you so very much! Glad you enjoyed and some mozzarella added sounds like a great idea. Thanks again!
I made this today. Sorry but I think it has far to much tomato for my taste and the excess liquid resulted in the rolls being loose. However I will make something like this again but adjust for my taste.
Hi, Lenor, Thanks so much for your feedback. By all means, adjust recipes to your taste.
GUNJAN C Dudani says
This looks like a delectable satisfying meal made with healthy ingredients. It would be a nice break from all the baking happening around me this season 🙂
Hi, Gunjan, Thanks so much! Ah, but I'll bet all that baking is delicious, too!