A twist on tradition – Cabbage Roll Meatballs

Being of Polish birth, cabbage rolls were a regular thing in my house growing up. It is a bit of a lengthy process, much like other traditional Polish dishes. I’m not one to mess with tradition, however with today’s busy schedules, who has time to boil the cabbage separately while peeling each leaf and setting aside… so on and so forth.

This led me to try to experiment and simplify the process by eliminating the cabbage boiling steps. I’ve integrated the cabbage into the meat mixture essentially and made these one-pot, fun to eat, cabbage roll meatballs. With local cabbage season upon us in Ontario (hopefully in your area as well), what better reason to try this recipe. Download and print a PDF of Cabbage roll meatballs for your recipe book here or follow below.



What you’ll need:

1 large shallot, minced
1 large clove of garlic, minced
3/4 lb extra lean ground beer (I used local beef raised without the use hormones or antibiotics)
3/4 tsp fresh ground sea salt
3/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups of shredded cabbage
1 1/4 cup cooked rice, cooled
1 1/2 cup good quality, organic tomato sauce


What to do:

Cook the rice according to package instructions, set aside to cool.

Peel and mince the garlic and shallot and place in a  bowl, add ground beef. Add 2 eggs, salt and pepper and mix with your hands until well combined. Shred the cabbage either using a mandolin or slice very thinly with a knife. If the shreds are too long, cut them up, they shouldn’t be any bigger than 1/2 inch. Add the cabbage to the meat mixture and with your hands combine well. Lastly add the rice and again with your hands combine gently.

Take the amount of about 1/4 – 1/3 cup of the finished mixture into your hand and press firmly while rotating the mixture until a ball forms. Place into an oven safe casserole dish. Repeat until all of the mixture has been formed into balls. Place the casserole dish into a pre-heated 375°F oven for about 45 minutes. About half way through the cooking process, add your favourite tomato sauce, either home-made or good quality organic sauce to the casserole dish, and allow to finish.

Once plated, sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley and Enjoy!


3 replies

  1. Interesting. We also have cabbage rolls in Romania (they are called ‘sarmale’), but there is one city (Cluj) who has put a spin on it and invented something called Cabage a la Cluj, a kind of deconstructed cabbage rolls. Making it into a ball is another level though, it looks awesome. I’ll definitely try 🙂 Love the pic too.

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