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Sweet and Sour Stuffed Cabbage



Based on my mother-in-law’s traditional family recipe, this Sweet and Sour Stuffed Cabbage is totally tasty. The freshly squeezed lemon juice balances beautifully with the brown sugar, making a truly sweet and sour sauce for these hearty, savory stuff d cabbage rolls. A fabulous holiday dish or satisfying weeknight meal!

Makes 4 servings



1 cup diced onion
1 cup vegetable broth
1 teaspoon all-purpose seasoning
1/2 teaspoon tamari
1 can (28 ounces) peeled whole tomatoes (with liquid), lightly mashed
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 cloves minced garlic

Large head of green cabbage
2 cups cooked brown or white rice (long-grain or basmati)
3/4 cup walnuts
1 slice whole-grain bread (for gluten-free option, see note)
1 teaspoon all-purpose seasoning
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups chopped mushrooms
1 cup diced onions



Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

To make the sauce, put diced onion, 1/3 cup vegetable broth, all-purpose seasoning, and tamari in a medium sauce pan. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Add the remaining 2/3 cup broth, tomatoes, sugar, lemon juice, and garlic. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, while preparing the cabbage rolls.


Fill a large soup pot two-thirds full with water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, remove the core from the cabbage. Gently separate 12 whole leaves from the cabbage (it’s fine if they tear a bit). Reserve remaining cabbage for another use.

Remove the pot of simmering water from the heat. Carefully place each cabbage leaf in the pot of water until they are all submerged. Cover and let stand for 4 to 5 minutes to allow the cabbage leaves to soften. Remove the leaves and place them in a large colander to drain and cool.


To make the filling, put the brown rice in a large bowl and lightly mash it using a large fork or potato masher. Put the walnuts in a blender and pulse to process into coarse crumbs. Add the walnuts to the brown rice. Put the bread, all-purpose seasoning, and salt in a blender and process until coarsely ground. Add the bread mixture to the brown rice.

Put the mushrooms and 1 cup diced onions in a blender and process into a chunky purée. Add the mushroom mixture to the brown rice. Stir gently to combine all of the filling ingredients.


Spread 3/4 cup of the tomato sauce evenly in the bottom of a 9 x 12 casserole dish. Lay a cabbage leaf flat on a large dinner plate. If the leaf still has some of the thick stem attached, carefully cut around it with a small paring knife to remove. This will make the leaves easier to roll up around the filling.

Mound 1/4 cup of the filling in the center of the leaf. Fold the sides inward and roll the cabbage leaf firmly around the filling. Place the cabbage roll seam-side down in the prepared casserole. Repeat with the remaining leaves. Pour the remaining sauce over the rolls and cover tightly. Bake for 70 to 90 minutes, or until the cabbage is soft. Cool for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.


NOTE: For Gluten-Free option, substitute the slice of whole grain bread for vegan, gluten-free bread or 1 cup gluten-free crackers.