All the delicious flavors of cabbage rolls in a meatball. Tender meatballs simmer in a slightly sweet and chunky tomato sauce teaming with sautéed onions and cabbage.
The cool fall temperatures pull me into my kitchen to leisurely prepare hearty Beef Tenderloin Stew teaming with tender beef, baby carrots and red potatoes, big pots of thick and creamy New England Clam Chowder, and simmering batches of meaty Italian Bolognese sauce. Some days I’m pressed for time. But, still want to prepare a dish filled with that all day, slow cooked taste. That is when I whip up a steaming pot of Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Meatballs.
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the ingredients in cabbage roll meatballs
- extra virgin olive oil
- green cabbage
- Vidalia onion
- canned fire roasted tomatoes
- tomato sauce
- kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- ground beef
- ground turkey
- paprika and ground cloves
- large eggs
- seasoned bread crumbs
Stuffed cabbage or cabbage rolls are one of the ultimate comfort food dishes. Many ethnic groups including Polish, Serbian, Jewish, and Croatian prepare and serve stuffed cabbage. The basic rolls are the same for each nationality. It’s the tomato sauce that they bake in that varies from group to group. Some season the sauce with sauerkraut and smoked ham. Other recipes call for the addition of raisins, brown sugar or smidgen of honey.
what are traditional cabbage rolls
Traditional stuffed cabbage is a recipe that takes a few hours to prepare. Blanch tender cabbage leaves and fill with sautéed onions, ground beef and pork, white rice, and simple seasonings including garlic, salt and pepper. The sturdy rolls nestle in a baking dish and covered with slightly sweet tomato sauce. The home cooked dinner slowly bakes for about an hour and a half or so to allow time for the flavors to combine and mingle.
chef cooking tips for the best cabbage roll meatballs
Prepare Cabbage Roll Meatballs recipe with the same ingredients as traditional stuffed cabbage rolls. The meatball version speeds up the recipe prep.
- Use a combination of beef and turkey to lighten up the meatballs.
- Instead of standing over the stove cooking the meatballs, use an easy oven baking method. Place all the meatballs on a large baking sheet and bake in the oven.
- While the meatballs bake, make a lightly sweetened and chunky tomato sauce teaming with sautéed onions and cabbage simmers on the stove top.
- Combine the meatballs and sauce for a taste reminiscent of slow baked cabbage rolls in much less time.
can you freeze cabbage roll meatballs?
The comfort food dish is an ideal freezer meal. After preparing the entrée, cool it completely. Package it in an airtight dish and freezer for up to 3 months. Just thaw and heat in a large pot over medium low heat for a delicious dinner on a busy night.
If you make this delicious cabbage roll meatball recipe, I’d love hearing from you all. Be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating ~ I do my best to reply to all your comments. And snap a photo to post to Instagram. I’ll add the photos to my Insta stories as I love seeing all your creations and how you decorate the cake.
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All the deliciousness of cabbage rolls in a meatball. The combination of beef and turkey meatballs bake in the oven. While the meatballs bake, a lightly sweetened and chunky tomato sauce teaming with sautéed onions and cabbage simmers on the stove top.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small head green cabbage (shredded (about 5 cups))
- 1 medium Vidalia onion (thinly sliced (about 1 cup))
- 1 can (15 ounces) fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce, divided
- 1/3 cup raisins
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- 1 ½ tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 2 garlic cloves (minced)
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 large eggs (lightly beaten)
- 3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley (minced)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large saute pan over medium high heat add the olive oil. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the shredded cabbage, sliced onions, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Sauté for 8 to 10 minutes stirring occasionally. The cabbage should be wilted and the onions translucent.
- Add the diced tomatoes, ¾ of the can of tomato sauce, raisins, lemon juice, honey, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and cover with a lid. Simmer the sauce for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the meatballs. In a large bowl, add the remaining tomato sauce, ground beef, ground turkey, garlic, paprika, ground cloves, eggs, bread crumbs, parsley, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Gently combine the ingredients until thoroughly mixed together.
- Form the meat mixture into about 50 small meatballs about 1 ½ inches in diameter. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until just cooked through.
- Remove the meatballs from the oven and add to the cabbage tomato sauce. Stir to combine and season to taste with salt and pepper.
The comfort food dish is an ideal freezer meal. After preparing the entree, cool it completely. Package it in an airtight dish and freezer for up to 3 months. Just thaw and heat in a large pot over medium low heat for a delicious dinner on a busy night.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Category: appetizer or entree
- Method: stove top and oven
- Cuisine: Eastern European
- Serving Size: 1/6 of recipe
- Calories: 570
- Sugar: 13.5 g
- Sodium: 1213 mg
- Fat: 29.1 g
- Saturated Fat: 7.8 g
- Unsaturated Fat: 0 g
- Trans Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 33.5 g
- Fiber: 5.1 g
- Protein: 48.3 g
- Cholesterol: 207 mg
Keywords: meatballs, cabbage meatballs, meatballs bake in oven