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RECIPE!! Cabbage Rolls Deconstructed

December 6, 2011 by Kenton Delisle

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Recipe: Cabbage Rolls Deconstructed

I LOVE cabbage rolls!

I grew up eating my grandma's cabbage rolls. She would make them with pickled cabbage or fresh cabbage. Both work for me.

In fact, it's the cooked cabbage that is my favourite part - the tomato-ey goodness soaking into the cabbage with the heartiness of the beef, rice and pepper infusing from the inside - what's not to like? I've eaten cabbage rolls most of my life, but have yet to make them myself.That has to change.

Maybe I'll start with Mary Gale Smith's simple "Lazy cabbage roll" recipe. It's quick, easy, affordable and tasty. Grandma would be proud.

Mary Gale Smith's Lazy Cabbage Rolls

8 servings


  • 1/2 medium cabbage, shredded
  • 1 lb (481 g) ground beef
  • 2 onions, chopped fine
  • 2 tins (10 oz/284 mL x 2) tomato soup - low sodium
  • 3/4 (about 200 mL) water
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 3 cups (750 mL) cooked rice


  1. Place 1/2 cabbage in a buttered 9X13" ovenproof dish
  2. Combine soup with 3/4 tin water, and pour about a fourth on the cabbage
  3. Sauté onions in butter & brown the ground beef
  4. Mix beef, onions, spices, rice and another fourth of the soup mixture and place on the cabbage
  5. Top with the rest of the cabbage, and then add the rest of the soup mixture
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour

For a vegetarian version, omit the beef or try a ground beef soy alternative.
Cabbage heads can be made into cabbage rolls and frozen, or stored in cold rooms for future use.

Nutritional information per serving:
Calories 265
Fat 10 g
Saturated Fat 4 g
Sodium 68 mg
Protein 18 g
Carbohydrate 25 g
Dietary fibre 2 g

Recipe adapted from Mary Gale Smith

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Comments (9)


Posted on Friday December 9, 2011 a 10:33pm



Posted on Saturday December 10, 2011 a 12:12pm

sounds easy and delish! will be trying this recipe for sure.


Posted on Sunday December 11, 2011 a 5:46pm

I am going to try these!


Posted on Tuesday December 13, 2011 a 9:44am

Is there a salt free tomato soup? I went to the grocery store to find tomato soup and all of them had ALOT of sodium!! The lowest one I could find had 900mg a can. There would be over 180mg of salt per serving, not counting the added salt.


Posted on Tuesday December 13, 2011 a 4:48pm

To up the nutritional value on Lazy Woman's cabbage rolls, use brown rice instead of white, use beans or torn, extra firm tofu; instead of meat (reduces the chlosterol), use canned tomatoes, or for a Hungarian flavour, sourkraut (spelling may be off) instead of tomatoes. Remember that "ground beef soy alternative" is usually high in sodium. Use a crockpot instead of the oven, 5 to 6 hours. Prepare the night before, put the crockpot on a timer to start at about 10 a.m., and by time you get home, supper is ready. Nothing beats cabbage rolls!

cpetelski's picture

HealthyFamilies BC

Posted on Wednesday December 21, 2011 a 4:19pm

Thanks For all the comments. Looks like there are some fellow cabbage roll lovers out there.

Mylissa, you bring up a good point. Prepared soup is often quite high in sodium, and to my knowledge there are no brands on the market, that are "salt free", but there are lower and reduced sodium options in many brand's product line ups. This of course means label reading to tease out what that means for each brand and each product. Compare several brands using the Nutrition Facts table and choose the ones lowest in sodium. There are many reasons for salt in food processing, such as canned soup, and Dean discusses some of these roles in his entry Salt and Your Taste Buds.

Processed foods are convenient but often higher in sodium than foods we make at home from scratch. So when you have the time, one way to control the amount of sodium is to make homemade soup. In reality, keeping these considerations in the bigger picture of what we do most of the time is what is important. Joanna has a great entry, Having Your Ginger Beef and Eating it Too, that speaks to this concept and might help with putting foods into context for the day when you are having trouble with the amount of sodium that may be in a dish or single meal, whether it's readymade or homemade.

- Kenton

Posted on Sunday December 25, 2011 a 8:36am

a great recipe!!so easy and nutricious. a real delight to make and eat.


Posted on Wednesday January 4, 2012 a 10:52pm

Don't forget to add lemon juice and some brown sugar to the recipe! My grandmother's recipe called for this and it is delicious! I agree with adding brown rice (be sure to precook it), also to reduce sodium use unsalted canned tomatoes (don't add water), instead of tomato soup. It's sure to be delicious!


Posted on Thursday January 5, 2012 a 8:04am

Marcia (etc.): I agree with the tomatoes instead of soup. My husband's ancestors didn't have tinned soup to use in the recipe over 100 years ago. To intensify the flavour a bit more I also add in a small can of tomatoe paste when I break up the tomatoes. He also likes sauerkraut in it too. It is yummy especially with brown rice. Who has time to do all the fancy rolling these days anyhow? :)


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