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My Grandmother's Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

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My grandmother cooked from memory. Her wonderful stuffed cabbage roll recipe was transcribed by my mother and handed down to me.

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

My grandmother made the best stuffed cabbage rolls, also known as krautnagels. The recipe I have is in a "Recipe Memories" book that my mom created.

Each of the twenty or so recipes is hand-written. It is one of my most prized possessions, and I have made many of the recipes over and over again. My grandmother didn't write anything down—everything she cooked was from memory. My mom transcribed the recipes from my grandmother's telling. There weren't too many actual measurements, so I will add helpful tips as I go along.

My grandmother

My grandmother


  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds ground beef, chuck, or meatloaf mixture (pork and beef)
  • 1 head cabbage with large outer leaves
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups white rice
  • 1 (36-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons shortening or vegetable oil
  • 1 pound bacon
  • 1 (32-ounce) jar saurkraut
  • White vinegar
  • 1/4 to 1/2 sugar, or to taste

Step 1: Prepare the Cabbage Leaves

  1. Boil water in a large pot.
  2. Add cabbage leaves and cook for at least 10 minutes.
  3. Pour the leaves into a colander and allow them to cool.
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Step 2: Prepare the Meat Stuffing

  1. In a large bowl, add the meat.
  2. Add the white rice.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons of the crushed tomatoes.
  5. Remove your rings, wash your hands, and mix all ingredients together thoroughly.

Step 3: Stuff the Cabbage Leaves

  1. Take a cabbage leaf and put a handful of meat mixture in the leaf. Note: The handful should be small enough to allow the edges of the leaf of cabbage to be folded around the meat mixture
  2. It may be helpful to tie a string around the cabbage roll just to keep it together.
Stuffed cabbage leaves with meat mixture

Stuffed cabbage leaves with meat mixture

Stuffed cabbage leaves tied with string

Stuffed cabbage leaves tied with string

Step 4: Layer the Cabbage Leaves and Other Ingredients

  1. Cut up the onion and place it on the bottom of a large pot along with the vegetable oil.
  2. Put 5 or 6 cabbage rolls on top of the cut-up onion.
  3. Place 3 to 4 slices of bacon on top of the cabbage rolls.
  4. Place enough sauerkraut on top of the bacon to cover.
  5. Continue to layer cabbage rolls, bacon, and sauerkraut.
  6. Pour the remainder of the large can of crushed tomatoes over the top.
  7. In a separate bowl, mix 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water.
  8. Add sugar to sweeten. Note: Sugar should be added to taste dependent upon sweet or sour preference.
  9. Pour the vinegar-water-sugar mixture over the top of the cabbage rolls and cover the pot.
  10. Simmer 1 1/2 -2 hours.
Vegetarian stuffed cabbage leaves

Vegetarian stuffed cabbage leaves

Vegetarian Variation

Posna means Lentin or fasting. Meat and dairy are strictly prohibited during Serbian Orthodox Lent and Advent, so this vegetarian stuffed cabbage leaves recipe is a perfect alternative for both vegetarians and those wishing to satisfy their taste buds while abiding by religious restrictions.

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