Vegetarian Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Mediterranean-style stuffed cabbage rolls with a vegetarian rice filling, packed with fresh herbs, tomatoes, onions and spices.

1 medium green cabbage
1 cup long-grain rice
½ cup shredded yellow onion
1 tomato, chopped or diced
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
½ cup chopped fresh dill
Salt and pepper
1 tsp ground cumin, more for later
½ tsp cayenne pepper, more to taste
½ tsp ground allspice
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (see our Greek olive oil option here)
1 15-oz can tomato sauce, divided
1 medium yellow onion sliced
1-2 Roma tomato sliced

Remove and discard the first couple leaves of cabbage. Wash in cold water. Cut approx ¼” off the bottom of the head and place the whole head of cabbage in boiling water. Boil about 2 minutes. Peel off the softened leaves, using a pair of tongs. Continue the same process, peeling off the blanched layers of cabbage leaves as they soften. Set aside to cool briefly.
Once cooled, cut each cabbage leaf into halves or thirds, removing any thick veins.
Now prepare the rice stuffing mixture. In a large mixing bowl, combine the rice, shredded onions, chopped tomato, herbs, salt and pepper, spices, oil, ½ can of tomato sauce and ¼ cup water. Mix together with a spoon.
Lightly oil a large Dutch oven or heavy cooking pot. Line the bottom with the sliced onions and sliced tomatoes.
Take a piece of cabbage and place on a flat surface, coarse side up. Add 1 teaspoon (more if leaves are larger) of the rice stuffing mixture at the end of the leaf closest to you (see photo). Roll up the leaf to completely enclose the stuffing. Repeat with the remaining cabbage.
Layer the cabbage rolls, seam-side down, in the prepared Dutch oven/pot. Top with the remaining ½ can of tomato sauce, and about 1 ½ to 1 ¾ cups of water (water should barely reach the top layer of cabbage rolls). Add a pinch more ground cumin.
Top the cabbage rolls with a small plate. Cook on high heat for 5-7 minutes until the liquid reduces to half. Reduce the heat to low. Leaving the small plate in, and cover the pot with its own lid. Cook for 30 minutes, then remove the plate but cover with the lid only. Cook for another 15 minutes or until the liquid has been completely absorbed and the rice stuffing mixture is cooked through.
If you’re not in a hurry, leave the cabbage rolls undisturbed before transferring to a serving platter or individual plates. Enjoy!

Cook’s Tips for Preparing Ahead: It does take a bit of time to roll the cabbage leaves, so you can absolutely do this part one night in advance. Assemble the stuffed cabbage leaves in the pot you intend to cook them in but do not add the sauce or water until you are ready to cook.Cover tightly and refrigerate. When you are ready to cook, top the cabbage rolls with tomato sauce and add water. Follow cooking instructions.
Cook’s Tip: These cabbage rolls are smaller. You will have a large pot of them to feed a small crowd as a side dish. As a vegetarian entree, you can easily feed up to 6 people with sides and salads (see suggestions above)
Leftovers: Store leftovers in the fridge in a tight-lid container for 3 to 4 days. Warm over medium heat, adding a little bit of liquid if needed.

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