Vegetarian Cabbage Rolls

Told you I was gonna give you some cabbage this week! I wasn’t lying, you know!

Truth is, even if I wanted to, I couldn’t even do that.

I’m a very poor liar…

I recently got this craving for cabbage rolls. Funny how I get cravings for some of my good old comfort foods lately.

It had been years since I had had cabbage rolls. And I had never made them myself. That was my ex’s department, you see. Well, in fact, anything that had to do with cooking was his department.

I simply did not cook. I know, hard to believe, isn’t it?

I just didn’t think I could do it.

Especially not cabbage rolls. I thought they looked way too complicated and figured I would never manage to roll the leaves so beautifully and perfectly. I thought that one needed incredible skills to get that job done.

Well, trust me, they are way way easier to make than they look. WAY easier.

I decided to try my hand at a vegetarian version. They turned out so incredibly tasty, I actually liked them better than the beef ones that I’d always been having until now.

The filling turned out very moist and juicy, nothing to do with the firm piece of meat that I’d been used to. In fact, if it wasn’t for the cabbage holding it, I don’t believe that the stuffing would hold its shape on its own. This makes for a very tender and delicate roll. They sort of almost melt in your mouth.

As for the taste, of course, it has nothing to do with the cabbage rolls that we all know, but it’s just loaded with all sorts of different flavors and textures, which I find makes them even more interesting.

If I could give you one piece of advice, it would be not to leave the fennel seeds out. They really do bring a whole new dimension to the dish. It was the one ingredient that I added at the very end after thinking… hmmmm, it’s good, but it’s missing something. And that’s precisely what had been missing!

Now I’m not saying that this dish will be ready in a flash. These babies do take quite a bit of time to make.

But just go ahead and play your favorite cd, pour yourself a nice glass of red wine and take the time to enjoy the experience. Trust that you can do this! I bet you’ll find it very rewarding when you’re done and you see just how beautiful a dish you’ve just created.

Just don’t look at the mess you’ve created in the kitchen! 😉

Oh… and ps: don’t throw out that leftover cabbage (trust me, you will have leftover cabbage) I’ve got just the recipe for that!


(Makes 8-10 rolls)


  • 1 large head savoy or green cabbage (I used savoy)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tbsp Miso diluted in 2 tbsp warm water
  • 1½ cup cooked quinoa (cold or room temperature)
  • 1½ cup Rolled Oats
  • 1 cup dry DuPuy Lentils
  • ½ cup unsalted pistachio, chopped
  • ½ cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and grated
  • 1 medium zucchini, grated
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tbsp tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • ½ tsp ground fennel seeds

Tomato Sauce

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 large can diced tomatoes
  • 1½ cup water
  • 2 tbsp tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 3 Bay leaves
  • 1½ cup cooked cabbage, chopped


 For the sauce

  1. In large saucepan, cook onions and garlic with oregano, salt and pepper over medium heat until fragrant and the onions become translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to the boil then lower heat and simmer, partly covered, for about 25 minutes

For the rolls

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Make sure that your pot is large enough for you entire cabbage to fit in, with room to spare.
  3. With a sharp pairing knife, remove the core from the cabbage and plunge it in the boiling water for 5 to 8 minutes or until leaves are softened. Using kitchen tongs, carefully pull 10-12 leaves, one at a time, as they start to detach from the cabbage. Chill each leaf under cold water and lay on a tea towel to drain.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, add all the ingredients of the filling and mix thoroughly, until well incorporated.
  5. If necessary, remove thick vein from cabbage leaves for easier rolling. Place about ½-¾ cup of the filling on each leaf; fold in sides. Starting at an unfolded edge, roll up leaf to completely enclose filling. Place seam side down in an oven safe baking dish.
  6. Repeat process with the remaining cabbage leaves, until you run out of filling.
  7. Pour tomato sauce over rolls and bake in the oven for about 25-30 minutes.
  8. Allow to rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.


  1. says

    Sonia these look Really good! I grew up on beef and rice stuffed cabbage (we called them Galumpkies as kids but I’m sure that isn’t how you spell it) and haven’t had them in years! These look so yummy that I bet even my picky husband would try them! I have all the ingredients but the pistachios and I’m going to try them with walnuts instead! I’m pinning it and I’ll let you know how they turn out! Great idea – love it!

  2. KissTheChef says

    Hahahahaha!!! I laughed out loud when I read the typo “Using kitchen thongs,”. I never knew there were special ones just for the kitchen! Where do I get some of those?

    Too funny….

    • says

      OMG you should see the color of my face now! Thanks for letting me know.

      Now, to erase that from your memory…

      Look into my eyes and repeat after me: I have never read the recipe for cabbage rolls on Sonia’s site… I have never read the recipe for cabbage rolls on Sonia’s site…;)

      Seriously, thanks a bunch for pointing that out! :)

  3. says

    I have been dreaming of vegetarian cabbage rolls for at least 6 months now!! I don’t know what started it, I’m used to the regular meat and rice ones that my parents made when I was a kid, but for some reason I’ve been wanting to try making a veggie version. These look so delicious – the quinoa, oats and lentils sound so good!

    • says

      For real? You’ve been craving something for 6 months now and haven’t yet gotten around to eating it? I would never have that patience! Time to get the pots and pans out of the cupboards and make your very own vegetarian cabbage rolls! 😉

  4. Kinga says

    Ah, what a healthy taste of home!!! We always eat stuffed cabbage for Christmas and for New Year’s Eve, but of course the Hungarian way, which is with meat and rice. I can’t wait to try this one, in fact I’m going to challenge my old fashioned mother over the week-end as I will be visiting her in Hungary, and will offer to make this together! I’m so excited! Thanks, dear Sonia!!!! Mwuaaaahhh! I had to send you a kiss to express my appreciation! I love what you do and how you do it, I can’t say it enough! :-)

    • says

      Awwww, thanks so much! You have so made my day once again! I really hope you like the rolls, and of course, can’t wait to get your feedback on the recipe! I’m nervous though… looks like you’re touching a very well established family tradition here. These are the hardest ones to beat! Hope your old fashioned mother agrees with this new flavor! :)

  5. Theresa Shay says

    Sonia, the recipe calls for dry lentils? You do not cook the lentils first or are they already cooked? The recipe looks fantastic! I can hardly wait to try it. Thanks for the Cabbage Roll Recipe.

    • says

      Dry lentils indeed, Theresa. Lentils cook rather fast, especially DuPuy lentils. If you can’t find DuPuy, you can use any green lentils. But you’ll be missin’ out on something. DuPuy are just the best lentils in the whole wide world, in my opinion. :)

      Hey, the pleasure is all mine, Theresa. Be sure to let me know what you think when you try it! 😀

  6. Theresa Shay says

    I am fixing to make them. I went shopping yesterday for the ingredients i needed but i could not find DuPuy lentils just the brown ones. Do the brown ones cook just as fast? i hope so or i will have a crunchy cabbage roll. Oh yea, thank you so much for replying to my question. i have been waiting for your answer before i started them. I live in rural South Texas. i have to drive 50 miles to go to a big HEB that has organic produce alone DuPuy lentils. I am thankful they had brown lentils. I will let you know how they turn out. Wish me luck.

    • says

      Nah, you should be fine with the regular brown lentils. The cooking time is ample long enough to get them tender. Are you saying you had to drive 50 miles to get you hands on some lentils?!? Wow, this dish better be good! I truly hope you like it and can’t wait to get your feedback! :)

  7. Molly Deardorff says

    I just made these and they are very delicious! The filling is very flavorful and full of wonderful textures. I ended up having a bunch of leftover filling though – I think it was because my cabbage leaves were much smaller – my cabbage rolls ended up being about the size of large grape leaves. I think I’ll buy some peppers and make stuffed peppers with the leftover filling.

    Thanks for the recipe!

    • says

      Thanks for the great feedback Molly, I really appreciate your taking the time to do this. Real glad to hear that this recipe worked for you… but my, your cabbage must’ve really been on the small side for you to get stuck with a bunch of leftover filling. What a GREAT, FANTASTIC idea to use it to make stuffed bell peppers. Bet those are going to be brilliant! I’m tempted to give them a try! :)

  8. Molly Deardorff says

    The leaves were about 6 in (15cm) wide. They came from my cabbages in my garden, which weren’t fully grown, but they all started bolting so I had to pick them. The rolls still taste good even if they are small! The peppers are tasty too – I halfed and stuffed them, baked them in a covered baking dish (375 for about 40 minutes).

    PS – I need that recipe for leftover cabbage! I have a ton!

  9. Meg says

    I made these a few days ago. The flavouring was excellent – I am not a big fan of fennel seed but would not leave it out. That said, my lentils weren’t cooked fully – not inedible but had more crunch than I was comfortable with. I used organic green but they weren’t DuPuy.

    Because the flavour was as delicious as described above I’m wanting to try this recipe again. Thinking of softening the lentils first and also using egg-replacer (in the form of flax seed & water) to make the recipe vegan.

    Thanks! Looking forward to trying the lentil and cabbage soup as well!

    • says

      Thanks for the great feedback, Meg, I really appreciate that! I guess DuPuy lentils do cook faster than the regular green ones, probably due to their smaller size. It might be a good idea to sort of blanch them beforehand next time? Glad to hear you want there to be a next time.

      Let me know how it turns out with the flaxseed egg too! I’m curious! :)

  10. Lana says

    This recipe looks and sounds amazing. I can’t wait to make these cabbage rolls. I would like to be able to freeze a batch. Do recommend freezing these? Thanks.

    • says

      I haven’t tried freezing them, Lana, so I have no idea, really. However, there is nothing in the ingredients that leads me to believe that they wouldn’t freeze well. Plus, they do sell ready made frozen cabbage rolls, don’t they? I say it’s worth a shot! :)

  11. Nadine says

    Just popped these in the oven (prep time IS long, but simple) and wish I would have read through all the comments first. I too used regular green lentils and fear they will be like little rocks throughout the otherwise delicious wraps. Perhaps if cook them a little longer? Would that work? They smell wonderful!

    • says

      Lentils cook rather fast in general, Nadine, so I think you should be fine even if you didn’t use the DuPuy variety. They might be a little on the firm side, but definitely won’t be like little rocks! You might want to give them an extra 10 minutes, just to play it safe, and keep a close eye on them…

      They must be just about ready now, mustn’t they?

      Please let me know how they turned out!

  12. Nadine says

    Success! All my worry was for naught :-) I did cook them about 20 mins longer at 325 and will make an effort to get the small duPuy ones next time. Only other change I will make is to increase the sauce by 50%. Mine are a tad dry and I prefer a generous amount of sauce.
    Thank you for this great recipe!

  13. ANNA ILG says

    I plan to make these and freeze them. I need to make a rather large quantity of them for a post-wedding reception casual gathering. Have your or your readers had experience with freezing them and baking or reheating them?

      • Molly D says

        I have frozen the cabbage rolls and the stuffed peppers I made from the same filling and remember that they froze well.

    • Anna says

      Thanks! I am preparing to make them this week, freeze them and they will be baked in two weeks! I tried them and we loved them. I can’t wait to complete this project.

      Are “French Lentils” close enough to the Dupuy Lentils? The French ones are dark green with tiny black specks.

      I also found sprouted lentils which were brown.

      Please advise.


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