Alea’s Cabbage Rolls with Turkey and Brown Rice

There are probably a few of you who are wondering how I get my children to eat their dinner wrapped in a leaf. Well, my oldest child is a Lord of the Rings junkie, and what the oldest kids are interested has a tendency to trickle down to the younger children…so my children pretend that food wrapped in leaves is made by elves. I am happy to listen to all of their favorite LOTR quotes for the umpteenth time, while they enjoy stuffed cabbage for dinner.

I forgot to make my rice in advance, so instead of waiting 45 minutes for it to cook, I prepared the rice in a pressure cooker. It only takes 7 minutes to cook white rice in a pressure cooker and brown rice cooks in just 18 minutes. While the rice was cooking, I was able to prep all of the other ingredients.

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Cabbage Rolls with Turkey and Brown Rice

Yield – 4 servings

Preparation Time – 10 minutes

Cooking Time – 60 minutes


  • 1 large head of cabbage, cored
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large carrots, finely shredded
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes (don’t drain)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/4 lb. lean ground turkey
  • 1 cup cooked long-grain brown rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 head of cabbage, coarsely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, julienned
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add onions, garlic, carrots, and celery. Sauté until the onions are soft, approximately 5 –7 minutes.
  • Place a large pot of water on to boil.
  • Leave half of the vegetable mixture in the pan and transfer the other half to a large bowl.
  • Add the diced tomatoes, sugar and vinegar to the skillet. Simmer on low for 10 minutes.
  • Add the ground turkey, rice, pepper, salt, and egg to the bowl, Mix well.
  • Remove enough leaves to make 16 cabbage rolls. Cut the denser ribbing from the bottom of the leaf. If you don’t have enough large leaves you can use to smaller leaves. Place 3 –4 cabbage leave in the pot of boiling water for 1-2 minutes to soften them. Remove with tongs, place the leaves in a bowl of cold water to cool. Then move the leaves to a towel or colander to dry. Repeat the process for the rest of the leaves.

    My Blanching System
  • Place a portion of the meat mixture in the center of a leaf.
  • Roll up bottom, then fold over one side, then fold the top down, then roll to close. Place in a greased baking dish with the seam-side down. Repeat until all of the cabbage rolls have been made.
  • Spoon the tomato mixture over the cabbage rolls.
  • Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 10 more minutes.
  • I serve cabbage rolls with rice and use the leftover cabbage to make Sautéed Cabbage and Carrots.
  • Heat oil in large skillet. Add cabbage, carrots, garlic powder and pepper. Cook over a medium-high heat, tossing occasionally, until the cabbage just begins to wilt, approximately 7 – 10 minutes.

Is your cooking ever influenced by your children’s interest?

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  1. says

    Now that is smart! A Lord of the Rings meal. Sometimes, it’s all in the presentation and title :) Yes, definitely my cooking is influenced by my children’s interests. I think my favorite was Rosy’s Jolly Red Raspberry Rock Cakes when my son was really interested in the Redwall series.

    • says

      I love it! Rosy’s Jolly Red Raspberry Rock Cakes sound wonderful! My oldest son is currently rereading the Redwall series. Have you ever shared the recipe on your blog?

  2. says

    Great idea! My son is still too young to get the concept, but I know back in the day when my nephews were into Shrek, we always got them to eat by asking them to show us what a “Shrek bite” would look like. I guess soon I’ll be having to make Blue’s Clues related foods :)

  3. Melissa Bogaert says

    Just a few quick questions about the rice done in the pressure cooker. What are the steps? How does it compare to a rice cooker?


  4. carol williams says

    can you freeze these cabbage rolls. Do you cook them first before freezing.Then how long do you reheat them for when you want to use them. Oven temp etc.

  5. Elizabeth says

    My Grandma makes the best Stuffed Cabbage and she passed along a fantastic time saving tip: If you stick the cabbage in the freezer, let it freeze solid and then take it out and let it defrost, there’s no need to blanch the leaves. Now I just have to remember to take the cabbage out of the freezer in enough time for it to defrost!

  6. Stephanie Saunders says

    These cabbage rolls are unbelievable! I cooked the rice as I prepared the other ingredients and it took about an hour. I planned on freezing a pan for later but after tasting them I’m making both pans tonight!


  1. […] Alea’s Cabbage Rolls with Turkey and Brown Rice is a one I remember being very tasty but a ridiculous, unnecessary pain in the butt to make and eat. My notes say, “Just fix in the skillet!”  Shred your own cabbage or use a pre-cut slaw mix to cut prep time. I only have a two cup food processor, guess which one I prefer. This recipe gets altered to remove a portion of the celery (picky family) and add kale or spinach (fresh or freeze-dried). […]

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