Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

When we were at my in-laws house on Long Island this Christmas, I finally got my mother-in-law’s recipe for cabbage rolls!

Nora makes these for dinner every time we come home to visit and they are one of my absolute favorite dishes she makes! It’s a good source of lean protein and she always serves it with a mix of brown rice and quinoa with a big salad on the side: lettuce, avocado, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, a light sprinkle of feta and a simple dressing of olive oil and white wine vinegar.

Serve the cabbage rolls on top of the quinoa/rice and spoon extra sauce on top.

Sorry - that’s the best part and I don’t want you to miss it. ;)

Per usual - and you know this if you’ve seen me share her “recipes” here before - she doesn’t really USE recipes! She cooks from experience and by what “looks” right. It’s an amazing thing to watch! So, if I want to make something back at home, I have to either get a verbal run-down or watch her make it while I take notes in my phone!

This was my first attempt at Mama Nora’s Stuffed Cabbage Rolls! I hope you love them as much as we did!


You can modify the carbohydrate content of this recipe by changing the amount of the rice or quinoa in the cabbage rolls. Even with the addition of the rice or quinoa, this recipe is still low in carbohydrates. While Keto and extreme low carb is all the rage right now, our clients are happier and more consistent with their nutrition over time by consuming a low- to -moderate amount of carbs in their diets every day. This recipe easily fits within those guidelines!

Serves 5-6 - approx 2 cabbage rolls per serving


1 Tbs. olive oil

1 bell pepper (any color), seeded and diced

1/2 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbs. tomato paste

1 lb. 93/7 ground turkey

2/3 c. cooked brown rice or quinoa

1 egg

salt and pepper

Approx 10-12 green cabbage leaves

24 oz. jar of marinara sauce. divided (*Nora uses a jar of Barilla Tomato & Basil sauce)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and set aside a 13x9” class baking dish.

2. In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté onion, garlic and bell pepper until softened - about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and a few spoonfuls (3-4 Tbs.) of the marina sauce. Stir to incorporate and remove from the heat. Let cool while you prep the cabbage leaves.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the cabbage leaves. Discard any tough or damaged leaves from the outside of the cabbage. Add cabbage leaves to the boiling water, using a pair of tongs to submerge them if needed. Boil for 5 minutes or until the leaves are soft and pliable. Transfer leaves to a colander and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Pat the cabbage leaves dry and lay them out on a cutting board or kitchen towel.

3. In a large mixing bowl, combine ground turkey, egg, cooked brown rice or quinoa, and the cooled and cooked onion mixture. Using clean hands, combine the mixture and season well with salt and pepper.

4. Cabbage Roll Assembly Line: In a row, set up the cabbage leaves, ground turkey filling mixture, the baking dish, and the marinara sauce.

  • Near the stem of a cabbage leaf, place about 1/4-1/3 c. of the ground turkey filling.

  • Fold the sides over the filling, then roll up and place the cabbage roll in the baking dish - folded side down.

  • Repeat with remaining cabbage leaves, placing them close together in the baking dish so they stay neatly folded.

  • Pour the marinara sauce over the top and bake for 50-60 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven.

Remove from oven and serve!

Nutrition Info (for 1/6 of recipe)

229 calories, 7.5 g fat, 22 g carbs (4 g fiber), 19 g protein