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Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

When we are going to a social gathering and I really want to make a big impression about how good eating healthy and plant-based can be, these Stuffed Cabbage Rolls are a dish I love to make.

white plate with 3 healthy stuffed cabbage rolls with fork

The first time I made this completely nutritious plant-based version was during the holidays. I decided to try them out on one of my toughest crowds–my husband’s coworkers’ at their office luncheon. I am happy to report that the rolls were a hit. He even texted me to say they were disappearing fast!

glass baking dish filled with 8 cabbage rolls and marinara

What are cabbage rolls made of?

There are no special ingredients needed to make these stuffed cabbage rolls. They are made with a cabbage leaf that has been slightly steamed to make it soft enough to bend and make a wrap. Inside is deliciously colorful wild rice, sauerkraut, celery, carrots, onion, and garlic. The rolls are topped with a nice thick layer of herby tomato marinara.

How to make stuffed cabbage rolls

Don’t be intimidated by the number of steps it takes to make this recipe. It’s actually very easy to make. Because there are a number of different ingredients going into the rolls, I’ve tried to give very detailed instructions with step-by-step photos to make it even easier.

large stockpot with steaming basket and head of cabbage

Steaming the cabbage

The first step of this recipe is to steam a head of cabbage. First, remove any wilted or dark leaves and carefully remove the core with a sharp knife.

To steam the cabbage head, you’ll need a large stockpot with a lid and steamer basket. Place the steamer basket inside the pot and fill it with water until just before it touches the basket.

Cover the pot and cook on medium-high heat for approximately 20 minutes or until the cabbage is soft when pierced with a fork.

Remove from heat and, when the cabbage head is cooled enough to handle, pull off 8 or more large leaves that will be used as wraps, and set them to the side.

fry pan with veggies

Making the filling

This is a really easy stuffed cabbage filling to make, and it only takes a few minutes.

While the cabbage is steaming is a good time to go ahead and cook the wild rice. It usually takes about 15-minutes on the stovetop. Cook according to the package directions.

While the rice and cabbage are cooking, start preparing the veggies. First, dice up the garlic, onion, celery, and carrot into small pieces.

In a nonstick pan, add a little veggie broth (3 Tbsp) and then the diced veggies. Saute on medium heat for approximately 5 minutes until they become slightly tender. Add more veggie broth one tablespoon at a time as needed to keep from sticking.

Add the sauerkraut (drain first), dill weed, and salt, and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Now, cover the bottom of a 9″x13″ baking dish with a thin layer of marinara sauce. I have included some of my favorite marinara options below.

cabbage leaf filled with rice and vegetables

How to roll up the cabbage leaves

The steamed cabbage leaves should be tender enough to bend and wrap. Go ahead and place one leaf on a cutting board or another flat surface.

Fill the leaf with a layer of cooked wild rice or another rice blend (approximately 1 heaping Tbsp).

Next, add a layer of the seasoned mixture of sauerkraut and cooked veggies (celery, carrots, onion, and garlic). Then, sprinkle with a little of the Sesame Seasoning if you’re using it. The recipe is below.

Rolling these up is simple because the cabbage head has been steamed allowing the leaves to be easily folded.

hand rolling up stuffed cabbage leaf on wooden board

Fold the bottom end (stem end) up and over the filling.

Next, fold the side edges of the leaf over the middle-filled portion.

Begin to roll up firmly to the end, then place roll side down into baking dish with marinara sauce.

Continue making rolls until you have 8 or more prepared and in the baking dish. Then pour a layer of marinara sauce over the top. Sprinkle with a little more of the sesame seasoning.

Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 25 minutes, or until sauce is good and bubbly. Serve warm.

uncooked stuffed cabbage rolls in baking dish covered with marinara

Oil-free marinara sauce options

Believe it or not, the Aldi discount grocery store has a marinara brand that is Dr. John McDougall compliant, with no oil. It’s called Simply Nature and is organic. Here in North Carolina, it sells for about $2 for 25 oz.

Make sure to read the labels, because some variations do contain oil or animal products. Aldi stores often carry different products, so do a quick check of the ingredient list. 

Another great oil-free marinara is the DeLallo Fat-Free Brand. It can be ordered on Amazon and delivered straight to your door. I actually love this particular brand.

If you would rather, you can make your own marinara sauce.

*Originally published December 16, 2016.

3 cabbage rolls in stainless pan

Tips for making vegan cabbage rolls

  • Any type of rice you prefer can be used to make these rolls. My personal favorite is RiceSelect Original Royal Blend.
  • During the baking process, be sure to pour a thin layer of marinara on the bottom of the baking dish before placing the rolls. This keeps them from sticking and adds extra flavor as well.
  • These keep well in the refrigerator for up to a week. They also freeze well in an airtight container.

Follower comments

These are so great! My boyfriend has been vegetarian since high school. It’s been 45 years since he had the ones his mother used to make. He loves me even more now! LOL! Thanks for this–Demaris

Amazing. Best vegetarian meal I have ever had. Thanks so much. I cannot wait to make it again. I grew up eating the meat version (golumpki)–Eric

I made these last night for dinner…they were awesome! Thank you again for another great recipe!! Luckily, I made extra so I could have them for lunch today, too! –Debora

bright blue and white plate with 2 stuffed cabbage rolls

What to serve with stuffed cabbage rolls

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure here.

white plate with 3 healthy stuffed cabbage rolls with fork

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

When we are going to a social gathering and I really want to make a big statement about how good eating healthy and plant-based can be, these Stuffed Cabbage Rolls are a dish I love to make.

Ingredients

Sesame Seasoning

Instructions

Cabbage Rolls

Don't be intimidated by the number of steps it takes to make this recipe. It's actually very easy to make. Because there are a number of different ingredients going into the rolls, I've tried to give very detailed instructions with step-by-step photos to make it even easier.

  1. The first step of this recipe is to steam a head of cabbage. First, remove any wilted or dark leaves and remove the core with a sharp knife.
  2. To steam the cabbage head, you’ll need a large stockpot with a lid and steamer basket. Place the steamer basket inside the pot and fill will water until just before it touches the basket.
  3. Cover the pot and cook on medium-high heat for approximately 20 minutes or until the cabbage is soft when pierced with a fork.
  4. Remove from heat and, when the cabbage head is cooled enough to handle, pull off 8 or more large leaves that will be used as wraps, and set them to the side.


Making the filling

    1. This is a really easy stuffed cabbage filling to make, and it only takes a few minutes.
    2. While the cabbage is steaming is a good time to go ahead and cook the wild rice. It usually takes about 15-minutes on the stovetop. Cook according to the package directions.
    3. While the rice and cabbage are cooking, start preparing the veggies. First, dice up the garlic, onion, celery, and carrot into small pieces.
    4. In a nonstick pan, add a little veggie broth (3 Tbsp) and then the diced veggies. Saute on medium heat for approximately 5 minutes until they become slightly tender. Add more veggie broth one tablespoon at a time as needed to keep from sticking.
    5. Add the sauerkraut (drain it first), dill weed, and salt, and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
    6. Now, Cover the bottom of a 9″x13″ baking dish with a thin layer of marinara sauce. I have included some of my favorite marinara options below.

How to roll up the cabbage leaves

  1. The steamed cabbage leaves should be tender enough to bend and wrap. Go ahead and place one leaf on a cutting board or another flat surface.
  2. Fill the leaf with a layer of cooked wild rice or another rice blend (approximately 1 heaping Tbsp).
  3. Next, add a layer of the seasoned mixture of sauerkraut and cooked veggies (celery, carrots, onion, and garlic). Then, sprinkle with a little of the Sesame Seasoning if you’re using it. The recipe is below.
  4. Rolling these up is simple because the cabbage head has been steamed allowing the leaves to be easily folded.
  5. Fold the bottom end (stem end) up and over the filling.
  6. Next, fold the side edges of the leaf over the middle-filled portion.
  7. Begin to roll up firmly to the end, then place roll side down into baking dish with marinara sauce.
  8. Continue making rolls until you have 8 or more prepared and in the baking dish. Then pour a layer of marinara sauce over the top. Sprinkle with a little more of the sesame seasoning.
  9. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 25 minutes, or until sauce is good and bubbly. Serve warm.

Sesame Seasoning

  1. Toast sesame seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat. Stir constantly until seeds begin to pop and brown slightly. Do not leave unattended, they will burn quickly.
  2. Transfer to a blender with salt and nutritional yeast. Grind into a fine powder. Place in an airtight container. Can be stored in the refrigerator.

Notes

Oil-free marinara sauce options

Believe it or not, the Aldi discount grocery store has a marinara brand that is Dr. John McDougall compliant, with no oil. It’s called Simply Nature and is organic. Here in North Carolina, it sells for about $2 for 25 oz.

Make sure to read the labels, because some variations do contain oil or animal products. Aldi stores often carry different products, so do a quick check of the ingredient list. 

Another great oil-free marinara is the DeLallo Fat-Free Brand. It can be ordered on Amazon and delivered straight to your door. I actually love this particular brand.

If you would rather, you can make your own marinara. Check out Will, from Potato Strong’s Marina Sauce.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 55Total Fat: .4gCarbohydrates: 9.8gFiber: 1.8gSugar: 1.6gProtein: 1.2g

To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.

Did you make this recipe?

Please rate and leave a comment because I love hearing from you. Remember SHARING IS CARING!

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Reinelle Robinson

Sunday 15th of March 2020

I don’t see the link for your homemade sauce.

Terri Edwards

Monday 16th of March 2020

Hi Reinella- Thanks so much for letting me know that this information was left out. I've updated the recipe now to include both a store-bought marinara recommendation as well as a homemade option.

Janet

Sunday 9th of December 2018

In there anything in these rolls that makes them NOT vegan? And if I omit the oil & salt, won't they be WFPB-noSOS? Thank you! (They look so good)

EatPlant-Based.com

Monday 10th of December 2018

Hi Janet, yes they are completely vegan. The title 'vegetarian' is just used to help Google find them. There's no oil in the recipe, and the salt can certainly be omited if desired. Hope you enjoy them!

Barbara Barg

Tuesday 10th of July 2018

I have to admit, I was skeptical! I grew up eating my Polish mom’s homemade galumpki, and I didn’t think these cabbage rolls would compare. Well, they are just as delicious as mom’s (using hamburger and rice) were! I’m going to be making these often!

EatPlant-Based.com

Tuesday 10th of July 2018

That's fabulous to hear! I look forward to hearing how they hold up with freezing. Thanks!

Barbara

Thursday 5th of July 2018

Do these freeze and reheat well? My enduring problem with many great vegan recipes is that they make 8 or more servings. I can only eat one food for so many meals/days and then I’m DONE, lol. And some recipes cannot easily be cut in half or even less, to be suitable for ONE person.

EatPlant-Based.com

Thursday 5th of July 2018

Barbara, I understand your dilemma with cooking for one. Though I have never frozen these cabbage rolls, I see no reason why they shouldn't do well. Please let us know if you decide to give it a try.

Shannon Martin

Thursday 22nd of March 2018

Prego Lower Calorie sauce is oil-free.

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