This Greek Stuffed Cabbage Recipe is such a delicious, easy dish to make! For this version called Lahanodolmades, the ingredients are really simple and it’s quick to throw together. This easy cabbage rolls recipe can be served Lesvos style with no added sauce or smothered in Avgolemono Sauce. Lahanodolmades are amazing on their own as a snack, or appetizer, or even as a main dish.
This post was originally published on May 18th, 2020.
These Greek Cabbage Rolls are JUST. AMAZING! This is an adaptation of my partner’s father’s recipe. They’re from the Greek Island Lesvos. Lesvos is right next to Turkey, in fact, closer to Turkey than Greece, and as a result, the cuisines overlap. This version of Lahanodolmades (Λαχανοντολμάδες) is very similar to the Turkish Stuffed Cabbage Rolls recipe, Lahana dolması or Lahana Sarması.
❤️ Why you will love this recipe
- It’s easy! Boil some cabbage, wrap the mince mixture in the cabbage, and let it steam.
- There are only 6 ingredients! Not including salt, pepper, and water.
- They’re healthy! Minced meat + veggies + rice! That’s all.
- Comforting: This is one of my absolute favorite wintry comfort foods. It’s also perfect for spring (Easter)!
- Perfect for meal prep: These Greek Cabbage Rolls keep well in the fridge and can either be reheated for leftovers or eaten cold. You can also freeze them!
- They are delicious! I can’t emphasize this enough! These are seriously the best tasting cabbage rolls I’ve ever had. Did I eat them cold straight from the fridge the next day? Yes.
🗝️ Key Ingredients & Substitutions
Greek Cabbage Rolls
- Ground meat: Beef, pork, or turkey. I like to use either pork or beef for these cabbage rolls depending on what I have on hand.
- Sausage meat, uncased: I’ve used pork sausages and chicken sausages. They both worked really well. Check the ingredients to make sure you’re buying a good product that isn’t loaded with additives, and other extra ingredients. If you’d prefer, you can just use ground beef or a 50/50 mixture of lean ground beef and ground pork.
- Cabbage: Pointed/sweetheart cabbage is ideal for this lahanodolmades recipe. The green, white, and red cabbages I’ve found to be too tough to shape properly.
- Fresh herbs: Fresh dill really boosts the flavor and freshness of this Greek stuffed cabbage recipe. If you don’t have fresh on hand, dried will work in a pinch, or even fresh parsley.
- Onion: White or red, grated. While the tears might add to the flavor ;), I prefer to blend my onion in a food processor.
- Olive oil: Extra virgin oil is a great choice as it adds authentic flavor. Regular olive oil will work if that’s what you have on hand.
- Rice: white, uncooked. Carolina rice is recommended, but you can use basmati, or regular dry rice too.
- Seasoning: Salt & black pepper just to bring out all of the other flavors.
- Lemons: Fresh lemon juice is what you’ll need for this recipe. Ideally, squeezed freshly from lemons before cooking, but store-bought lemon juice could work if needed.
- Eggs: Both the egg yolks and egg whites are used – no need to separate them.
- Starch: I prefer tapioca starch as I always have it on hand, but corn flour is a good substitute.
- Broth: I prefer to use the broth that gathers from the bottom of your pot of cabbage rolls, but if there isn’t enough chicken broth or vegetable broth would work really well.
🥣 How to make Greek stuffed cabbage rolls & avgolemono
1. Boil the whole head of cabbage for about 10 minutes in boiling water, until the leaves start to come apart. Cut the leaves off of the core of the cabbage with a sharp knife as they separate from the cabbage, and place the pieces of cabbage in a strainer in the sink to get rid of excess moisture. Tip: trim heavy veins with a paring knife if needed. Sometimes the outer cabbage leaves can still be quite tough.
2. In a large bowl, mix the mince, sausage, grated onion, dill, uncooked rice, salt, and pepper.
3. When the cabbage leaves are separated and cooled, it’s time to stuff them! Starting with the darkest leaves, lay one on a flat work surface.
4. Add about 2-3 tbsps of the meat mixture at one end of the leaf, in a kind of cylinder/sausage shape. Make sure you have enough cabbage all around to fold over the whole mixture (less is more if this is your first try!).
5. Fold the sides of the cabbage leaves over first, and then roll it along the flat surface to the other end.
6. Place the stuffed cabbage in the bottom of the pot, the darkest leaves first. This should be a fairly deep pot.
7. Add about 200ml (about 1 cup) of water or enough water to cover the bottom layer of cabbage rolls.
8. Add 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil.
9. Place an inverted plate over the cabbage leaves – it should be a little smaller than your pot so you can remove it later.
10. Put the lid on the pot and cook on medium-low heat for about 50 minutes.
11. After 50 minutes, carefully remove the plate with something like a wooden spoon and oven mitts, so you protect your hands.
12. Serve these Greek cabbage rolls drizzled in Greek Egg-Lemon Sauce and some fresh lemon slices!
This lahanodolmades avgolemono sauce is a really quick and easy recipe to throw together.
1. Without turning on the heat, whisk the eggs in a medium saucepan until frothy.
2. Juice the lemons and whisk the juice into the eggs.
3. Slowly whisk 1 cup of broth into the egg-lemon mixture.
4. Turn the heat on medium and continue whisking until the sauce begins to thicken.
5. Mix starch with some of the remaining 1/2 cup of broth to make a paste, and then mix in the rest of the hot broth.
6. Slowly whisk the tapioca mixture into the pot on the stove until it thickens up.
7. . Turn off the heat and drizzle over stuffed cabbage rolls.
Leftover cabbage rolls keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Reheat them by boiling as before, or steaming or microwaving them until hot through. You can even eat them cold.
Can I freeze Greek cabbage rolls? Yes! Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
🪄 Recipe Notes & Tips
- Use sweetheart or pointed cabbage instead of the regular round cabbage. The round cabbage leaves are a little more firm and difficult to soften quickly.
- Don’t over-stuff the cabbage! You only need 2-3 tbsp per cabbage roll. If you over-stuff them, the stuffing will come out! If in doubt, use less stuffing.
- Place the darkest leaves at the bottom so that they cook a little quicker.
😋 More recipes you will love
- Greek Frappe Coffee Recipe
- Slow Roasted Greek Leg of Lamb
- Greek Stuffed Tomatoes (Gemista)
- Sfougato (Greek Crustless Quiche)
- Perfect Oven-Baked Sausage Links
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Greek Stuffed Cabbage Recipe
Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
- 1 whole pointed/sweetheart cabbage
- Enough water to mostly submerge the cabbage in a large pot
- 250 g 0.5 lbs ground beef
- 250 g 0.5 lbs sausage meat (casing removed) or ground pork (see note 1)
- 1 medium onion grated
- 115 g 2/3 cup minus 1 tablespoon long-grain rice, uncooked
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 200 ml water see note 2
- 2 fresh lemons juiced
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon starch tapioca or corn flour
- 335 ml 1.5 cups broth, from the bottom of the cabbage roll pot, or chicken or vegetable (see note 3)
Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
- Place the entire cabbage in a pot submerged in hot water and boil the whole cabbage for about 10 minutes, until the leaves start to come apart.
- Cut the leaves off as they separate from the cabbage core, and place them in a strainer in the sink to get rid of excess moisture. Save any extra liquid from the pot.
- Mix the mince, sausage, grated onion, fresh dill, uncooked rice, salt, and pepper.
- When the cabbage leaves are separated and cooled, it’s time to stuff them! Starting with the darkest leaves, lay one on a flat surface.
- Add about 2-3 tbsps of the meat mixture at one end of the leaf, in a kind of cylinder/sausage shape. Make sure you have enough cabbage all around to fold over the whole mixture (less is more if this is your first try!).
- Fold the sides of the cabbage leaves over first, and then roll it to the other end.
- Place in a large pot, darkest leaves first.
- Add about 200ml of water, or enough to cover the bottom layer of cabbage rolls. If you have water leftover from boiling the cabbage, reuse it here.
- Add 1 tbsp of olive oil.
- Place an inverted plate/saucer/bowl over the cabbage leaves. It should be a little smaller than your pot so you can remove it later.
- Put the lid on the pot and cook on medium-low heat for about 50 minutes.
- After 50 minutes, carefully remove the plate/saucer/bowl with something like a wooden spoon and oven mitt, so you protect your hands.
- Without turning on the heat, whisk the eggs in a medium saucepan until frothy.
- Juice the lemons and whisk the juice into the eggs.
- Slowly whisk in 240ml (1 cup) of broth.
- Turn heat on medium and continue whisking until the sauce begins to thicken.
- Mix starch with some of the remaining 115ml (1/2 cup) of broth to make a paste, and then mix in the rest of the broth.
- Slowly whisk the tapioca mixture into the pot on the stove until it thickens up. Turn off the heat and serve.
- Sausage: I've used turkey sausage and Cumberland sausage (both gluten-free), but I think most types would work.
- Water: Just enough water to cover the bottom layer of cabbage rolls in the pot. I reuse the water from boiling the cabbage initially.
- Broth: the broth from steaming them is amazing in this recipe, and it's totally fine to add it hot, straight from the pot. Otherwise, use chicken broth or vegetable broth.
- Broth amount: You can add up to 2 cups of broth (475ml) if you like your sauce runnier.
- Don’t over-stuff the cabbage! You only need 2-3 tbsp per cabbage roll. If you over-stuff them, the stuffing will come out!
Storage & Reheating Instructions
- Leftover cabbage rolls keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. I prefer to store the avgolemono sauce separately.
- Reheat them by boiling as before, or steaming or microwaving them until hot through. You can even eat them cold.
- Can I freeze Greek cabbage rolls? Yes! Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.