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How To Make Cabbage Rolls The Old Fashioned Way

Updated on August 17, 2012

Cabbage Rolls The Traditional Version

Okay - I did a recipe on the easy way to make cabbage rolls and now I feel that I should also do the traditional so as not to slight one way or the other! This recipe is equally delicious and is a bit different from the other but it is still a by-product of Finnish recipes.

The health properties of cabbage are legend and they are reported to fight such things as cancer so finding healthy and palatable ways of eating cabbage is a good thing. This recipe is more than palatable - it is flat out delicious! Just think while you are eating it how healthy it is as well - so maybe worth the little extra effort of making it traditionally.

Stuffed cabbage rolls originated in Finland and there are many, many recipes. This is a Scandinavian variation in a creamy white sauce. Boiled potatoes are a favorite served with them and if you are going traditional Scandinavian – lingonberry preserves are the accompaniment of choice (although cranberry sauce is equally delicious).

For a quick version, try the cabbage and beef loaf.

Traditional Recipe

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (Finish name is Kaldolmar)

6 servings – 2 rolls each


  • 1 large head of cabbage (2 pounds or so)
  • 1-1/2 pounds ground beef (ground chicken, turkey or pork are great subs)
  • 1/3 cup uncooked regular rice
  • 1/2 cup nonfat milk
  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • 1 egg or 1/4 cup egg substitute
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup nonfat half-and-half, non-fat milk or water (or use beef or chicken broth and eliminate the bouillon powder)
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant beef bouillon powder (or substitute chicken if using ground poultry)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Remove the core from cabbage.
  3. Cover cabbage with cold water and let stand about 10 minutes.
  4. Remove 12 cabbage leaves separately.
  5. Cover the leaves with boiling water and cover – let stand for 10 minutes until the cabbages leaves are limp – drain.
  6. Mix the beef, rice, milk, onion, egg, salt, pepper and allspice.
  7. Place about 1/3 cup beef mixture at stem end of each leaf and roll the leaf around the beef mixture, tucking in the sides.
  8. Place the cabbage rolls seam sides down in an ungreased 13-1/2 x 9 x 2 inch pan or dish.
  9. Pour the 1/2 cup water over the rolls.
  10. Cover and cook in 350 degree oven until beef is done – about 1 hour.
  11. Remove the cabbage rolls with a slotted spoon – set aside and keep warm.
  12. Drain the liquid from the baking dish – reserve 1/2 cup liquid and skim the fat.
  13. Stir the 1/2 cup half-and-half (nonfat milk or water) into the flour a saucepan and stir until smooth. Stir in the reserved liquid from the pan/dish and the bouillon (if using). Heat to boiling while stirring constantly.
  14. Boil and stir for 1 minute.
  15. Serve the sauce with the cabbage rolls

Variation on White Sauce - Red Sauce


  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 14.5 ounce can crushed tomatoes, undrained
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Combine salt, pepper, apple juice, vinegar and tomatoes in a saucepan and cook together on simmer for about 5 minutes. Serve with the cabbage rolls.
  2. You can also garnish cabbage rolls with toasted pine nuts and dried cranberries for an interesting change.


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    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 4 years ago from Washington

      Awesome Farmette - thanks for stopping by!

    • profile image

      Farmette 4 years ago

      Now that is how my mama made them 50 years ago. None of that tomato soup stuff. She just made a nice white sauce from the juice in the pan. And she made the filling with an egg, some onion, some allspice and just a little bit of uncooked rice. Thanks for posting this! I could not remember how she did it.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 5 years ago from Washington

      cclitgirl--me too~ Go figure!

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 5 years ago from Western NC

      These look delicious! I can't wait to try them! I love cabbage, especially in winter for some reason. hehe.

    • sweetguide profile image

      sweetguide 6 years ago from River side

      great hub ,Thanks dear akirchner

    • profile image

      Scott R 6 years ago

      My Grandmother passed and took her recipe with her. This looks like t is it. Thank you.

    • profile image

      sania 6 years ago

      oh! hmmmmm it was really yummy i loved it i will again try it

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Washington

      Thanks htodd - I love this dish!

    • htodd profile image

      htodd 7 years ago from United States

      great hub ,Thanks

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Washington

      Thanks for the read, eventsyoudesign - even vegetarian if you substituted another protein such as soybeans or something along those lines would be delicious - it is easily prepared that it was amazing!

    • eventsyoudesign profile image

      eventsyoudesign 7 years ago from Nashville, Tennessee

      I am a vegetarian, but this does sound good. I like to make vegetarian cabbage rolls. My husband prefers meat in his. I will definitely try this recipe.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 8 years ago from Washington

      Thank you - and it is a great old fashioned dish but is so good for you, too! Thanks again for stopping by.

    • Darlene Sabella profile image

      Darlene Sabella 8 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

      Now that is my style healthy and easy, great hub and I am planning this meal real soon. Thanks for sharing.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 8 years ago from Washington

      You bet! I did a recipe actually not too long ago with barley - is that low carb? Or lower than rice? Bob did not care too much for it but it was okay!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      I'm trying to low carb diet, but I don't see why I couldn't do these without the rice. Thanks!

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 8 years ago from Washington

      Thanks - they really are.

    • Daddy Paul profile image

      Daddy Paul 8 years ago from Michigan

      Sounds great!

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 8 years ago from Washington

      Thanks - me too but the easy one tasted so good! I was surprised and it took probably half the time to make. Here is the link if you need it

    • suziecat7 profile image

      suziecat7 8 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Sounds great. I mised your easy cabbage roll recipe so I'l have to check it out. I've always had mine with a red sauce.