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Stuffed Cabbage-Recipe with Caramelized Onion Tomato Sauce

Stuffed Cabbage Recipe with Tomato

This Stuffed Cabbage Recipe with Tomato is rich and warmly spiced. Wilted cabbage leaves wrap around deeply flavored beef and rice, making for the most delicious comfort foods this winter!

Course Main Course
Cuisine Eastern European
Keyword comfort food recipes for fall and winter
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 226 kcal
Author Valentina Maria Kenney Wein


For the cabbage

  • 1 head green cabbage
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, grated
  • 1/3 cup tomato purée
  • 1/2 cup raw long grain rice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

For the sauce

  • olive oil for the pan
  • 3 cups yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons allspice
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 cups canned peeled tomatoes in tomato juice
  • 3/4 cup tomato purée
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar


For the cabbage

  1. Cover a baking sheet with a double layer of paper towels and set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place the whole head of cabbage in the water, root end up. Let it sit in the boiling water for a few minutes, and then use metal tongs to lift it out and onto a kitchen towel.
  3. Very gently lift the 8 outermost leaves off of the cabbage head, trying to keep them as intact as possible. (If some of the leaves are harder to remove, you can put it back in the water for another couple of minutes.) Place 2 to 3 on the towel-covered baking sheet. Then place another paper towel on top before adding the remaining leaves. Set aside. (Save the rest of the cabbage for another use.)
  4. In a large mixing bowl, add the beef, grated onion, tomato purée, rice, salt, paprika and Worcestershire sauce. Use your hands to blend everything together, and do not continue to mix once everything is evenly incorporated. Cover with plastic and set aside.

  5. Preheat the oven to 325°F, and adjust a rack to the center.

For the sauce

  1. Coat the bottom of a large sauté pan with olive oil and place it over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté, stirring every couple of minutes, until the onions are soft and golden, about 15 minutes.

  2. Add the allspice, mustard and paprika, mix and let it sauté until it's aromatic, about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the tomato purée, tomatoes, wine, broth, vinegar, lemon juice and sugar and stir to blend. Use a wooden spatula to break the tomatoes into smaller pieces and bring to a boil. Then turn the heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes.


  1. Add a few large spoonfuls of the sauce to the bottom of an (approximately) 9 X 13 X 2-inch baking dish.
  2. Lay the cabbage leaves, round side down, on a clean, dry surface, and use a paper towel to dry them if they're still damp. Use a paring knife to cut out the lower portion of the root if it's tough.

  3. Add about 1/2 cup of the meat mixture to the bottom of each leaf. Roll the cabbage leaf around the meat, folding in the sides as you go. You should have a nice, tight bundle once it's rolled. Seam side down, place each roll into the baking dish.

  4. Once you've made all of the rolls, pour all of the remaining sauce over them, cover the dish with foil, and place in the preheated 325°F oven for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Uncover and cook for another 10 minutes.

  5. Remove from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before serving.