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Mushroom Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Mushroom Stuffed Cabbage Rolls 4.000

Laura Chase de Formigny for The Washington Post; styling by Carolyn Robb for The Washington Post

Feb 3, 2020

Stuffed cabbage is a family potluck staple. The classic recipe handed down on the maternal side of food writer and cookbook author Jim Webster’s family started with 3 pounds of a combination of ground beef and pork. In this updated version, the rolls are filled with mushrooms and walnuts for a vegan variation that will still please any crowd.

It is easiest to chop the mushrooms and walnuts by pulsing them in a food processor. Chop them in small batches so that each batch can be processed in a few quick pulses. The pieces should resemble small bits of gravel. Do not process too long or a paste will form; you want texture. You can process each ingredient without washing the processor in between.

You will need to start with a large head of cabbage but will use only the large outer leaves for this recipe. The rest of the head can be reserved for another recipe.

Storage Notes: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings; 2 rolls

  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup water, or more as needed
  • 3 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, divided
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 pound mushrooms, white, cremini or a mix, finely chopped
  • 2 cups walnut pieces (8 ounces), finely chopped
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seed
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large head green cabbage (about 3 pounds), preferably savoy

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In a medium bowl, mix the crushed tomatoes, water, 1 teaspoon thyme leaves, the red pepper flakes and salt.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and increase the heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms give up their liquid and it evaporates, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the walnuts, rice, fennel, lime zest and juice, soy sauce, pepper and the remaining 2 teaspoons thyme and stir to combine. Cook for 1 to 2 more minutes, then remove from the heat.

Fill a large stock pot or Dutch oven about halfway with water and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. Nearby, line a platter with a clean kitchen towel.

Using a paring knife, cut around the core of the cabbage, angling in toward the center. Pull as much of the core as you can get out, then trim more of the exposed core, if you can. Carefully lower the cabbage into the boiling water and cook for about 45 seconds. Then, using a strong slotted spoon, lift the cabbage out of the pot and place it on the towel, cored side up. (Leave the water boiling.) Let it cool for a moment, then carefully pull away the outermost leaf and place it on a cutting board. Continue to peel more leaves away, as long as they come off untorn. The goal is to carefully remove large leaves without tearing them. When that becomes difficult, return the cabbage to the pot and repeat the process of removing leaves, until you have about 10 to 12. If some tear, that’s okay.

Pour about half the tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9-by-9-inch baking pan. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.

Take one cabbage leaf and open it up on the cutting board. Using a paring knife, make a V-shaped cut to remove the thick vein, cutting away as little leaf as possible. Scoop a generous 1/2 cup of the filling onto the leaf near the stem end. Then roll up the leaf, tucking in the sides as you go. Place the rolls in the baking pan, seam side down. Repeat until you’ve used all of the filling and the pan is full. It should be a snug fit. You should get 8 rolls.

Spread the remaining tomato sauce over the rolls. Use the remaining cabbage leaves to cover the rolls in the pan. Pull more small leaves off the remaining head, if necessary, to completely cover the stuffed cabbages. These leaves will burn, protecting the rolls underneath.

Bake for 60 minutes, or until the leaves on top have burned and you see the sauce bubbling around the edges. Remove the rolls from the oven, and carefully peel the burned leaves off the top and discard. Let the stuffed cabbages rest for 10 to 15 minutes, then serve.

Recipe Source

Adapted by Jim Webster from a recipe by Nastazia Makitka Brick and Babi Makitka.

Tested by Jim Webster.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (2 cabbage rolls): 650

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 44g 68%

Saturated Fat: 4g 20%

Cholesterol: 0mg 0%

Sodium: 560mg 23%

Total Carbohydrates: 54g 18%

Dietary Fiber: 9g 36%

Sugar: 12g

Protein: 18g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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