Slow cooker cabbage rolls are moister and more flavorful than ones baked in the oven. Stuffed with beef and rice and simmered in a tomato sauce all day long, this comfort food makes enough to feed families.
Cabbage rolls, or stuffed cabbage, are one of my all time favorite foods. I love them so much that instead of the traditional ham sandwiches served at graduation open houses where I grew up, I served cabbage rolls. It was delicious.
This is my first attempt at making cabbage rolls myself and let me just say, they turned out fantastic! This is not exactly a quick recipe, but the end result was well worth the time and effort.
Cabbage rolls slow cooked in a slow cooker will be moister and more flavorful than ones that are baked in the oven.
Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls in Tomato Sauce
When steaming the cabbage, you will see a point where the cabbage turns a bright green. The leaves are ready to peel off then. I got about 2-3 leaves off and then had to put the head back in to soften up the head more.
You will most likely have leftover cabbage. Don't throw it away! One of our readers left a great idea in the comments:
“Cut it into shreds with a sharp knife and line the bottom of the crock pot before putting in the rolls. It will simmer away in the sauce and is absolutely delish. You can also omit the brown sugar and added a small can of sauerkraut, drained. Toss with the shredded cabbage, It adds a nice zip to the recipe.”
Thanks for the great tip!
You will want to try and use converted rice for the cabbage rolls. Converted rice takes longer to cook so it doesn't turn to mush in the cabbage rolls. The good news is that Uncle Ben's Original Rice is converted rice so it's easy to find in the grocery store.
The cabbage was really easy to roll up but careful not to rip it (too much). Put about 1/3 cup of the meat mixture at the top a cabbage leaf. Use a 1/3 cup to just measure out the mix and plop it right on the cabbage leaf.
Keep rolling to the end of the cabbage leaf. When you reach the end, tuck in the ends. You may want to cut off the thick rib from the leaves. It will leave a little split at the end. Just tuck it all in.
Lay the stuffed cabbage leaves in the crock of a 6 quart or larger slow cooker. You may get to a point in the cabbage where it's difficult to get the leaves off the head in a whole leaf. That's fine! Just stop and call it good.
Once all the cabbage rolls are done and layered in the slow cooker, pour the tomato sauce over the rolls. Put the lid on the slow cooker and turn it on low. You can also cook on high if you are in a hurry just cut the time in half.
- 1 head of cabbage
- 1/2 cup converted long grain rice (Uncle Ben's)
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 onion, chopped fine
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 lb. lean ground beef
- 1 large egg, well beaten
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 (15 oz.) can diced Italian seasoned tomatoes
- 1 (15 oz) can crushed tomatoes
- 2 Tablespoon light brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoon lemon juice
- COOK THE CABBAGE: Fill a large pot three quarters full of water and lightly salt. Place the pan over high heat and bring the water to a brisk boil. Add the cabbage, cover the pot and cook until the outer layers of the cabbage peel off easily. Remove the tender leaves and pick out 10 of the largest leaves. Remove the thick ribs in the center of each leaf. Set aside.
- PAR COOK THE RICE: Fill a medium saucepan three quarters full of water and lightly salt. Place the pan over high heat and bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the rice. Cook for 5 minutes then drain and rinse under cold water and drain well again. Set aside.
- PREPARE FILLING: Melt the butter in a skillet placed over medium heat. Stir in the onion and cook 5 minutes, stirring often, until the onion is soft. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer. Remove from heat.
- Place the onion and garlic into a mixing bowl. Stir in the par cooked rice from Step 2. Add the ground beef, egg, rosemary, salt and pepper and mix until well blended.
- MAKE THE ROLLS: Spread 1/3 CUP of the filling into the center of each cabbage leaf. Fold the sides of the leaves over the filling and roll up the cabbage. Place the cabbage rolls, seam side down, into a 6 quart or larger slow cooker . Repeat until all the cabbage leaves and meat mixture are used up.
- MAKE SAUCE: In a mixing bowl stir together the tomatoes with their juice, brown sugar and lemon juice. Pour the mixture over the cabbage in the slow cooker.
- SLOW COOK: Cover and cook on low 6 hours or until the cabbage is fork tender.
Serving Size:1 roll
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 377 Total Fat: 13g Saturated Fat: 6g Cholesterol: 102mg Sodium: 717mg Fiber: 9g Sugar: 17g Protein: 26g