Deconstructed Cabbage Rolls

My family LOVES cabbage rolls. I posted a step-by-step recipe on 7/29/2012, of how I make my mother’s “real roll up” cabbage rolls so the recipe would be documented for Shantel, or anyone else who might be interested…Even if you ever thought you didn’t like cabbage, or sauerkraut, you owe it to yourself to at least try this recipe… I can’t tell you how many family members said “I don’t like cabbage…. but when they ate these cabbage rolls,  they couldn’t get enough of them… sounds crazy but it’s true…so at least give it a try… you never know what you may be missing… 🙂

Yesterday, I planned to make cabbage rolls for dinner. I told the family that was what we would have for dinner so that is what I knew they would be expecting…. I had the meat thawed in the refrigerator, a fresh head of cabbage ready to core and steam in the microwave so it would be easy to peel the leaves without breaking them, and all the seasonings gathered and ready to start… However, my day just absolutely got away from me, and before I knew it, it was too late to go through the entire process of making the “real”, roll them up, cabbage roll recipe. What’s the cook to do when time is running out and the family is expecting cabbage rolls for dinner?

Thinking quick on my feet, I remembered I’ve seen Rachel Ray, from the Food Network, do all kinds of “deconstructed” meals. I even recall her making a “deconstructed cabbage roll”, although Rachel’s recipe is different from mine in several ways. So, I thought if it works for Rachel Ray…, it will work for me…

Introducing my version ofDeconstructed Cabbage Rolls. (remember I don’t measure so use according to taste or texture):


Ground beef, turkey, chicken, or whatever ground meat you like.


Old Fashioned Rolled Oats

Chili Powder

Fresh Garlic (or garlic powder if you prefer)

Fresh onion

Tomato Sauce (I used 4 cans because that is what my pot would hold)

1 whole package of Good quality Sauerkraut, juice included (I don’t use canned because I think it gives everything a metal taste)

1 Fresh head of cabbage

Fresh ground pepper

Salt to taste (I don’t use salt because the sauerkraut has salt in it)

Olive oil

Combine the ground meat (I used ground turkey), egg, chili powder, ground pepper, and rolled oats in a mixing bowl, and mix well.


Saute onions and garlic in olive oil until just tender (careful not to over cook or the garlic will be bitter)


Add ground meat and cook until browned. Set aside in a bowl.


Chop cabbage and sauté in same skillet you cooked ground meat in adding a little more olive oil if needed. Cook cabbage until just tender being careful not to burn.


When cabbage is tender, transfer cabbage, and meat mixture, into a dutch oven, and add in sauerkraut. Fold gently to blend all ingredients.


Add tomato sauce (be generous as you don’t want anything to stick and the tomato sauce, along with the sauerkraut, is what really makes the flavor POP!!!) Gently fold everything together to merry all the ingredients.


Bring to boil, then cover, and reduce to low or simmer and cook on top of stove for 1-2 hours, or until ready to serve. Serve with a side of your favorite rice and you are all set.

Note to cooks: This recipe will hold for hours on low/simmer. Just be sure you add enough tomato sauce so nothing sticks. And, I’ve even learned if anything does stick to the bottom, just remove the pan from the heat, and let it cool down just a bit, then gently stir. I haven’t tried it yet, but I suppose you could put this in the dutch oven, covered, in a low oven, for several hours, or better yet, in a crock pot on low all day… Prepare in the morning, put it in the crock pot, and go about your day… When it’s dinner time you will be the shinning star, as it tastes like you worked over the stove all day…  Hey, I won’t tell 🙂

My family LOVED this Deconstructed version of my mother’s cabbage roll recipe just as much as the real “rolled up” recipe…. In fact, both my husband, Bill/Bro, and our VERY picky eater, Shantel, said they actually liked this version better, because it’s already cut up for you, and it seems like all the ingredients are blended together better… WOW!!! Who knew… 🙂 Bonus….it takes less time and can be done on any night of the week if you use the crock pot method… So, now all our kids who always want cabbage rolls, but say they don’t have time to make them….,now you do… Thanks Mom!!! 🙂

If you try this recipe, I hope you enjoy it, and that you will let me know what your thoughts either way.

Next Up:

My “Holly Day” at Boyce Thompson Arboretum Stat Park. Oh what FUN we had!!!

Stay Tuned!

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. gotham girl
    Nov 03, 2013 @ 13:12:07

    Love that you’re sharing all your cooking secrets with everyone! You are ONE AMAZING chef! xoxoxo MORE!!!


  2. katsbynp
    Nov 03, 2013 @ 22:54:22

    Fantastic idea! I must try this. My daughter in law and granddaughter are picky eaters and I like the idea of the cabbage already being cut up. Thanks for sharing your recipes. Great post


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