Cabbage Rolls

Cabbage Rolls

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4
Author Connie Veneracion


  • 500 grams ground pork
  • 1 small carrot
  • 1 small onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 6 shiitake mushrooms (button mushrooms will work too)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 whole white cabbage
  • 3 cups tomato sauce (I used homemade)


  • In a large sauce pan, start boiling about three liters of water.

Make the filling

  • Peel and finely chop the carrot and onion.
  • Peel and mince the garlic (or finely chop, if that's easier for you).
  • Discard the stems of the shiitake. Coarsely chop the caps.
  • Place the ground pork in a mixing bowl. Add the chopped carrot, onion, minced garlic, chopped shiitake, parsley, salt, pepper and Parmesan. Mix well. Cover the bowl and let the filling sit in the fridge while you prepare the cabbage.
    How To Make Cabbage Rolls: Step-by-step Guide
  • No egg in the filling? None. The grated Parmesan acts as binder. It's tastier, believe me.

Prep the cabbage

  • Place the cabbage on a cutting board.
    How To Make Cabbage Rolls: Step-by-step Guide
  • Using a small pointed knife, cut around the core in the shape of a cone. Keep going until the core is loose. Pull it out and discard.
  • Drop the cabbage into the boiling water, cored side down, and let the water come to a rolling boil once more.
    How To Make Cabbage Rolls: Step-by-step Guide
  • Lower the heat, cover the pan and cook the cabbage for about 10 minutes. 
  • Scoop out the cabbage and dump in a bowl of iced water. When cool, place in a strainer, cored side up, and allow to drip for a few minutes.
  • Carefully loosen the cabbage leaves to separate.
  • Take one cabbage leaf and, using a sharp knife, shave off the thick portion that runs vertically in the middle of the leaf. Be careful not to shave too deep to avoid tearing the cabbage. Do this with all the cabbage leaves. 
  • The too small ones near the core, you may chop finely and mix into the filling. But that's entirely optional. 

Assemble the cabbage rolls

  • Take the filling out of the fridge.
    How To Make Cabbage Rolls: Step-by-step Guide
  • Lay a trimmed cabbage leaf on your work surface. Position it so that the thicker side is pointing towards you. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling near the center. Fold the thick side of the cabbage leaf over the filling. Then, fold in the left and right sides. Roll the cabbage leaf away from you to seal in the filling. Repeat until all the cabbage leaves have been filled or until you run out of filling. Optionally, you may secure the cabbage rolls with toothpicks.

Cook the cabbage rolls

  • Heat up your tomato sauce if you've made it already. Use a pan wide enough to contain all the cabbage rolls snugly in a single layer.
    How To Make Cabbage Rolls: Step-by-step Guide
  • Or start cooking your tomato sauce (get the recipe). If you're not into homemade tomato sauce, use store-bought. 
  • When the tomato sauce is hot, arrange the cabbage rolls in the pan, seam side down, in a single layer.
    How To Make Cabbage Rolls: Step-by-step Guide
  • To prevent the cabbage rolls from opening during cooking, pack them as tightly as you can. AND keep the heat on LOW so that the sauce is barely simmering. The least agitation taking place in the pan during cooking, the less the chance that the cabbage rolls will open up and look ruined.
  • Cook the cabbage rolls over LOW heat for about 30 minutes.
  • Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the cabbage rolls and arrange in a bowl.
    Cabbage Rolls
  • Spoon the sauce over and around them. Optionally, sprinkle with more chopped parsley. 
  • Serve the cabbage rolls hot. With rice or crusty bread.