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How To Make Cabbage Rolls The Old Fashioned Way

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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Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on April 03, 2013:

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Awesome Farmette - thanks for stopping by!

Farmette on April 03, 2013:

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.

Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on December 19, 2012:

cclitgirl--me too~ Go figure!

Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on December 19, 2012:

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

sweetguide from River side on February 16, 2012:

great hub ,Thanks dear akirchner

Scott R on November 19, 2011:

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

sania on October 23, 2011:

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

Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on March 13, 2011:

Thanks htodd - I love this dish!

htodd from United States on March 13, 2011:

great hub ,Thanks

Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on October 26, 2010:

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 from Nashville, Tennessee on October 26, 2010:

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.

Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on February 05, 2010:

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

Darlene Sabella from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ... on February 05, 2010:

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

Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on February 05, 2010:

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!

Holle Abee from Georgia on February 05, 2010:

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

Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on February 04, 2010:

Thanks - they really are.

Daddy Paul from Michigan on February 04, 2010:

Sounds great!

Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on February 04, 2010:

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 from Asheville, NC on February 04, 2010:

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.

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