Kel’s Saucy Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Kel's stuffed cabbage roll

I decided to take advantage of cabbage being on sale this time of year (with St. Patty’s day, spring, etc.) and make some yummy stuffed cabbage rolls in a simple tomato sauce. I have to admit that it’s been a while since I’ve made these because of all of the cooked cabbage haters in my house, but luckily my cravings won out in the end. Yaaay for me and yaaay for all of you who decide to try this recipe!

Kel's cabbage rolls out of the oven

A friend of mine recently mentioned that she had some cabbage rolls with sauerkraut in them, which was something new for me. However, since I love kraut and was the only person partaking in these great little rolls, I decided to do a quick Internet search to find a cabbage roll recipe with sauerkraut included. And I lucked out to find one by Tori Avery, blogger at The Shiksa in the Kitchen. I had the pleasure of meeting Tori when she was a speaker at the International Food Blogger’s Conference in Portland, Ore., a couple of years ago — what a delightful person and fantastic blogger!

I took elements of Tori’s recipe and combined them with my old standby to come up with what follows. I used ground pork since it was on sale, but you can certainly substitute ground beef, turkey or chicken. You want to keep the tomato sauce fairly thin, so I like to add some spicy V-8 juice to the canned sauce for the consistency as well as the flavor. Also, I bake these cabbage rolls instead of cooking them on the stove top, but choose the method you prefer.

Ingredients (10-12 stuffed cabbage leaves)

Kel's Cafe stuffed cabbage rolls ingredients

  • 1 large head of cabbage (I used savoy, but green cabbage works great, too)
  • 1 lb. ground pork (or other ground meat)
  • 1 cup cooked long-grain rice
  • ½ cup sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 ½ cups sauerkraut, drained and divided
  • 3 cans (5.5 oz. ea.) spicy hot V8 juice, divided
  • 1 can (14 oz.) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (14 oz.) diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste


Rinse the whole cabbage and place it in a large pot of boiling water for 4-5 minutes. Drain the cabbage in a colander and let cool.

Immerse cabbage in boiling water

In the meantime, mix together the ground meat, rice, onion, parsley, egg, ½ cup of sauerkraut, ½ can of V8 juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate for half an hour or so.

Kel's Stuffed cabbage roll filling

In a large saucepan, combine the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, remaining V8 juice, sugar, vinegar, paprika, minced garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer while the stuffing refrigerates and the cabbage cools.

Simmer tomato sauce

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Once the cabbage cools, carefully pull off the larger leaves and place them on paper towels to absorb any moisture. Take the remaining cabbage, roughly chop it and set aside to use later.

Take a cabbage leaf, pat it dry with a paper towel, place on a cutting board and cut away the thick part of the stem.

Cut off thick stem

Place some of the filling at the center base of the leaf (do not overstuff!), about ½ inch from the edge.

Add filling to cabbage leaf

Fold the base of the leaf over the stuffing until it is completely covered. Fold in the sides, and then continue to roll. You should end up with neat little rolls that look like the ones in this photo.

Stuffed cabbage rolls

In a large, sprayed casserole dish (9”x13”), arrange the chopped cabbage and the remaining sauerkraut on the bottom.

Chopped cabbage and kraut

Place the stuffed cabbage rolls on top.

Place cabbage rolls in casserole dish

Add the tomato sauce and bake for 45-50 minutes (longer if you want the cabbage be softer.)

Add tomato sauce

Remove from oven and let sit 5-10 minutes before serving. These refrigerate and freeze well.

Let's eat!

By the way, sometimes I have leftover meat filling, so I just make some meatballs and fry them up to eat as an appetizer while the cabbage rolls cook. Yummy!

Fry up leftover meat filling

Bon appétit!

Eat, drink and be merry!

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