Adaptable Stuffed Cabbage for These Unusual Times

Stuffed Cabbage Recipe

Stuffed Cabbage with Mexican Crema and Walnuts
Jasmine Rice, Beef, Castelvetrano Olives, Herbs, Lemon

When I saw this recipe from Bon Appétit, I thought… I have a head of cabbage, I can make my own version without having to go to the dreaded grocery store. The result was a mighty tasty and quite striking Stuffed Cabbage made with everything on hand.

Give it a try! Use the recipe as a blueprint to incorporate what you have available. It’s actually quite fun to make the substitutions.

You’ll definitely need a cabbage, any kind will do. And long grain rice, fresh herbs, some kind of sour cream or yogurt, some nuts, an egg or two. And there you go!

The recipe is flexible; add meat or not, onion is nice but not mandatory. I like savory olives but you may like sweet raisins. Lemon is good for tart notes, but no lemon? No problem, Bon Appétit uses sumac in their recipe. No dill? Use parsley. Butter is great but olive oil would work just fine.

The recipe is easy, I did use quite a few pots and pans however. But hey, there’s plenty of time for doing dishes…

Adaptable Stuffed Cabbage Recipe

Stuffed Cabbage with Mexican Crema and Walnuts


  • 1 large savoy cabbage
  • 3/4 c. jasmine rice
  • 1/2 lb. ground beef
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1 onion, small dice
  • 1/2 c. chopped walnuts, plus more for garnish
  • 1/3 c. dill, chopped, loose packed, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 c. tarragon, chopped, loose packed
  • 1/3 c. cilantro, chopped, loose packed
  • 1/2 c. chopped castelvetrano olives
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • zest from 1/2 lemon
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 3 T. butter
  • Mexican crema for serving

Stuffed Cabbage Recipe


Bring a large pot and a medium pot of water to boil.

Remove the leaves from the head of cabbage. Cut a V-shaped notch in the base of each leaf to remove the tough base of the leaf.

Add salt to the large pot and cook the cabbage leaves, about four at a time, for 2 1/2 minutes each until softened. Transfer leaves to a baking sheet lined with a dish towel.

Add rice to the medium pot and cook for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain and rinse under cool water. Set aside. (The rice will finish cooking inside the cabbage rolls).

Cook ground beef, season with salt and pepper, drain excess fat. Set aside.

Sauté onion in olive oil until golden. Add nuts and cook for a few more minutes. Add olives and herbs and stir to combine. Remove from heat and add lemon.

Combine rice with beef. Add onion mixture. Season with more salt and pepper. Add egg and stir to combine.

How to Make Stuffed Cabbage

Melt butter in a large stock pot with enough room to place the cabbage rolls in a single layer. Turn off the heat while rolling the cabbage.

Fill cabbage leaves with rice mixture by placing approximately 3 T. in the center of the leaf. I use an ice cream scoop and press the mixture in tight. Roll the bottom of the notched leaf over the mixture then fold in the sides. Continue to roll to make a tight bundle.

Place each bundle in the pot, seam side down. Add 1/2 cup of water to the pot and bring the heat to medium-high. When the water is boiling cover and lower the heat. Steam for 25 minutes.

Stuffed Cabbage with Mexican Crema and Walnuts

To Serve:

Place the stuffed cabbage rolls on plates. Drizzle with Mexican crema, top with chopped walnuts, salt and fresh ground pepper plus a sprig of dill.

Stay Safe and Be Flexible!

8 thoughts on “Adaptable Stuffed Cabbage for These Unusual Times”

  1. These look absolutely delicious I love cabbage rolls! When you place them in the pot and you say add water and bring to a boil and then steam is it a double boiler or are you cooking the cabbage rolls in water?

    1. Hi Theresa – yes they are cooked in the water, there is some butter on the bottom to keep from sticking and flavor too, then add 1/2 cup of water, so it is just a thin layer of water on the bottom of the large pot, the rolls are not submerged. No double boiler needed. Works great.

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