Stuffed Cabbage with Beef


This lightened-up version of stuffed cabbage uses lean ground beef and less sugar than the traditional recipe—but is every bit as delicious. The sauce sinks into the cabbage rolls while baking, which helps deepen the flavors.

Stuffed Cabbage with Beef
Photo: Photography / Jennifer Causey, Styling / Ali Ramee / Audrey Davis
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 30 mins


  • 1 medium head green cabbage (3-4 pounds), trimmed

  • 3 cups no-salt-added tomato sauce

  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar

  • ¾ teaspoon salt, divided

  • 1 pound lean ground beef

  • 1 cup cooked brown rice

  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper

  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Carefully remove 12 cabbage leaves, taking care not to tear them (reserve remaining cabbage for another use). Add the leaves to the boiling water; cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the leaves to a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet. Let cool until easy to handle, about 5 minutes. Using a knife, trim and discard the thickest part of the main vein from the bottom of each leaf.

  2. Combine tomato sauce, brown sugar, vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl.

  3. Place ground beef, rice, onion, pepper, 2/3 cup of the tomato sauce mixture and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Using your hands, lightly work the mixture until just combined. Spread 1/2 cup of the remaining tomato sauce mixture in the bottom of a 7-by-11-inch baking dish.

  4. Arrange 1 cabbage leaf, vein-side down, on a work surface with vein running perpendicular to the edge. Scoop 1/3 cup beef mixture onto the trimmed side of the leaf. Shape the beef mixture into a 2-inch log running parallel to the work surface edge. Fold the outer sides of the leaf over the filling and in toward the center. Roll up the leaf, pressing it tightly around the filling. Place the cabbage roll, seam-side down, on the tomato sauce mixture in the baking dish. Repeat with the remaining cabbage leaves and beef mixture.

  5. Top the cabbage rolls evenly with the remaining tomato sauce mixture. Cover the baking dish with foil. Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of a roll registers 160°F, about 1 hour. Garnish with parsley, if desired.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

256 Calories
8g Fat
28g Carbs
19g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Calories 256
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 28g 10%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Total Sugars 13g
Protein 19g 38%
Total Fat 8g 10%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 49mg 16%
Vitamin A 657IU 13%
Sodium 413mg 18%
Potassium 399mg 8%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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