Slow cooker cabbage rolls are moister and more flavorful than ones baked in the oven. Stuff cabbage leaves with beef and rice and simmer in a tomato sauce all day long, this comfort food makes enough to feed families.
Cabbage rolls, or stuffed cabbage, are a super filling dinner that definitely counts as comfort food. Cabbage leaves are stuffed with a ground meat and rice mixture and then simmered in a tomato sauce. The result is delicious!
This is not exactly a quick recipe, but the end result was well worth the time and effort. Plus you can make extra to freeze for later. One of the benefits to cooking cabbage rolls in a slow cooked will be moister and more flavorful rolls than ones baked in the oven.
Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls in Tomato Sauce
First, you need to steam the cabbage. This helps the leaves soften so you can roll them without breaking.When steaming the cabbage, you will see a point where the cabbage turns a bright green. The leaves are ready to peel off then. Peel off about 2-3 leaves and then 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.”
Once the cabbage is steamed and soft, set the leaves aside.
Next, you will prepare the cabbage roll stuffing using ground meat and rice. Ground beef is a traditional meat to use in cabbage rolls, but turkey would work as well.
You will want to use converted rice for the cabbage roll filling. Converted rice takes longer to cook so it doesn’t turn to mush in the cabbage rolls. Uncle Ben’s Original Rice is converted rice and is easy to find in most grocery stores. The rice is par cooked, which means you cook it just a little bit to get it started cooking, but don’t cook it all the way to doneness.
Mix up all the ingredients for the filling in a large bowl and get ready to make some cabbage rolls.
To make the cabbage rolls, put about 1/3 cup of the meat mixture at the top a cabbage leaf. You may vary the amount stuffing depending on the size of the cabbage leaf.
The cabbage should be easy to roll up but be careful not to rip it (too much). 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. Repeat this process for each cabbage leaf.
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.
You can serve these immediately or save for later. They definitely get better with a little bit of sitting and make great leftovers.
- 1 head of cabbage
- 1/2 cup converted long grain rice (Uncle Ben's brand is converted)
- 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: 377Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 102mgSodium: 717mgFiber: 9gSugar: 17gProtein: 26g