Deconstructed Cabbage Rolls

4.88 from 8 votes

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You have just come across the tastiest Bulgarian deconstructed cabbage rolls. If you love cabbage rolls, which we call “Sarmi” in Bulgaria 🇧🇬, but don’t want the headache of rolling and stuffing for hours, you are not alone. This is my Mom’s secret recipe that tastes just like the delicious traditional cabbage rolls we all love. This dish is comfort food at its finest, so I hope you enjoy!

Why You’ll Love Deconstructed Cabbage Rolls

In today’s day and age, when everyone is busy and on the go, unstuffed cabbage rolls, also known as deconstructed cabbage rolls, are a delicious and easy-to-make alternative to the traditional dish. This recipe combines all the flavors of a classic roll without the fuss of stuffing individual leaves 🥬.

Variations and Substitutions for Deconstructed Cabbage Rolls

There are so many ways to mix up the flavors and ingredients in deconstructed cabbage rolls:

  • Instead of pork, try making this with ground beef, lamb or a combination of 1 or 2 ground meats.
  • For a plant-based version, experiment with vegan “ground meat”.
  • If you want extra flavor, you can also sauté the onions 🧅 with diced bacon, as bacon and cabbage are a match made in heaven.

Best Served With

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What other ground meat can I use for these cabbage rolls?

You can use any ground meat of choice such as pork, veal, beef, turkey, or a combination of meats.

What salt do you use?

I cook with Redmond Real Salt , but you can use any you like. However, be mindful that the saltiness of a dish will depend on the type of salt you use. Some are more coarse and some more fine, so you will always have to taste and adjust.

How can I make this recipe vegetarian or vegan?

You can certainly try experimenting with a plant-based “ground meat” alternative.

Deconstructed Cabbage Rolls

Deconstructed Cabbage Rolls

This is a very easy cabbage bake that won’t sacrifice the taste. Absolutely divine and comfort food at its finest. For this recipe you will need:
4.88 from 8 votes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Bulgarian
Servings: 6
Author: The Modern Nonna
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients 

  • 500 grams ground meat , we like pork
  • cup avocado oil, or any
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon salt , or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons paprika , to taste
  • 1 tablespoon dry oregano
  • ¾ cup jasmine rice , or long grain
  • 1 medium cabbage chopped
  • ½ cup hot water , for the cabbage
  • 1 cup hot water , for the baking dish
  • fresh chopped dill

Instructions 

  • In a large pan on medium-high heat add the oil. Add the ground meat, break it up and fry until it’s caramelized and there’s no moisture. The water has to evaporate for the meat to begin to brown.
  • Add the onions, garlic, tomato paste, seasonings, and rice as you stir in between. Take it off the heat and set aside.
  • Cut the cabbage (like you would cut an onion). Cut it in half, each halve into lengthwise strips and then cut across. Add a little bit of salt on top and massage it with clean hands for about a minute to draw out the moisture and to soften it.
  • Add the cabbage to a large pot on the stove with 1/2 cup of hot water and let it reduce as you stir on medium-high heat. You have to stir a few times so that the cabbage has reduced by at least a third.
  • Add the meat and rice mixture to the reduced cabbage in the pot. Add extra paprika and salt if needed and stir.
  • Take it out and pour into a baking dish with an additional cup of hot water, cover with foil and bake at 400F for 35 min. open it and let it broil for a few min on top. Dill for garnish, and enjoy.

Nutrition

Calories: 463kcal, Carbohydrates: 32g, Protein: 19g, Fat: 29g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 16g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 59mg, Sodium: 1271mg, Potassium: 637mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 1353IU, Vitamin C: 58mg, Calcium: 111mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Bulgarian
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Hi! I'm Sneji. Nice to meet you!

I am more commonly known as “The Modern Nonna” on social media where I create easy home cooked meals with a modern twist. I was born and raised in Sofia, Bulgaria and learned how to cook at the best culinary school in the world – my grandma’s kitchen. I lived in Greece on the Island of Crete with my parents for a while and then moved to Toronto, Canada when I was in grade 5. I started to really cook and experiment with food 11 years ago when I was 21 years old. Everything I currently know is a reflection of some part of my life…

Keep up to date with me on social media! Follow @themodernnonna

4.88 from 8 votes (5 ratings without comment)

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5 Comments

    1. 5 stars
      Super easy recipe! I really liked it for leftovers as well. In Step 2, I added cooked rice and it came out good (wasn’t sure if I was supposed to add uncooked rice). I used ground beef and would probably go a bit lighter on the paprika for my personal taste next time. 🤓