Grandma’s Stuffed Cabbage

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But to the more important stuff…You know those recipes that in theory sound extremely complicated, but then you look at the ingredients and think “gee, i can totally make this!” Well, that was my thought process around stuffed cabbage. It’s something that Steve likes and the one time he made it, he made the Polish version, which I found to be very different from the way my grandmother has always made it (the Jewish way 😉 ). 

Stuffed cabbage is a classic Jewish dish and it seems, through extensive research, that there are several variations on how this dish has been passed down from generation to generation as stuffed cabbage leaves were a central part of the Eastern European Jewish diet.

So, in an attempt, with the gracious assistance of my grandmother, we made Steve stuffed cabbage for dinner. While the ingredients are minimal, I will not lie, this recipe does take a little bit of work.

What you will need…

  • 2L bottle of ginger ale
  • 32oz. ketchup
  • 1 cranberry sauce
  • 2 cups of raisins (more to taste)
  • 1 cabbage
  • 1lb ground beef (seasoned)
  • salt & pepper


  • Peel the layers of cabbage* apart and shave down the tough, thick part of the stem at the base of each leaf using a pairing knife
  • Mix the ground beef with seasonings (I used garlic powder, onion powder and parsley flakes) – however you would normally marinate your meatballs. Grandma likes to taste the meat by putting it in her mouth to see if it is seasoned properly then spits it out. (Gross! If you’re like me and do not want to put raw meat in your mouth, you can zap it in the microwave).
  • Carefully stuff each piece of cabbage with approximately 1-2tbs. of the ground beef mixture and secure with a toothpick** Any remaining ground beef can be rolled into meatballs and cooked with the stuffed cabbage
  • In a large stock pot, combine the ginger ale, ketchup, cranberry sauce and raisins. Drop in the stuffed cabbage and any meatballs into the pot. Simmer for at least 1 hour to ensure the meat is cooked and becomes flavorful
  • You can thicken the sauce with potato/corn starch as desired

Serve over rice and enjoy! This is a wonderful dish for the upcoming winter months. It’s cozy & super satisfying – even for Steve! Not to mention pretty healthy. It’s gluten free (when using certified GF products), low in carbs, high in protein and full of fiber.

Key Notes

* Freeze your cabbage prior to making this meal and then allow to defrost in a bowl. This softens the cabbage and makes it easier to work with. Alternatively, you can parboil the cabbage for 4-5 minutes until the leaves are soft.

** When stuffing/rolling the cabbage make sure not to over stuff; if you do, it will seep out while cooking. To roll securely, mimic that of rolling a burrito – roll the beginning edge over the top then pull-in the sides before rolling the rest (as pictured above)


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