Pork, beef and mushroom-stuffed cabbage rolls

Pork, beef and mushroom-stuffed cabbage rolls

Cut the Carbs!

When I married into a surname comprised of a smash of consonants, it carried with it a new world of foods. Cabbage rolls were the first through the door. They’re a prized dish from the Romanian/Croatian arm of the family, and one of my husband’s favourite childhood comfort foods. He first converted me to their charm by describing them as carbless cannelloni. It’s half right. The Haschka family’s version is made from home-pickled cabbage which sheaths a bundle of paprika-spiced mince and rice. It’s the sort of food which encourages you to stand up straight and face the day with confidence. This version takes a shortcut by skipping the pickling, instead wilting the cabbage under hot water. There’s also the nuttiness of quinoa in place of white rice, and some additional earthiness from the mushrooms. You can easily use veal mince for the pork, or go completely vegetarian and triple the quantity of mushrooms. We serve it with some sauerkraut for an acidic kick and a slick of sour cream or yoghurt for a bit of extra richness. I haven’t quite mustered the courage to make this version for the extended family and experts yet, but one day, maybe I will.


Quantity Ingredient
1 whole head savoy cabbage
1 tablespoon olive oil
200g button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
150g pork mince
150g beef mince
1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
140g cooked quinoa
1 x 680g jar of tomato passata
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
sauerkraut and creme fraiche or sour cream


  1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C and boil some water in the kettle.
  2. Cut the base off the cabbage, submerge in cold water and pull the outer leaves off, one by one. Place the leaves in a large saucepan and pour the boiling water over them. Allow them to soak for 2 minutes to soften, then refresh them under cold water.
  3. Put the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat and sauté the mushrooms and thyme until the mushrooms have browned. Set aside to cool.
  4. Mix together the meats, 1 tablespoon of the paprika, the parsley, garlic, and cooled mushrooms and thyme. Season well with salt and pepper. Fold through the cooked quinoa and mix well to combine.
  5. Pour half the tomato passata into a casserole dish and set aside.
  6. To assemble the cabbage rolls, first cut out and discard the tough stem from the centre of the blanched cabbage leaves.
  7. Place 1½–2 tablespoons of the filling in the centre of each leaf. Roll the top of the leaf down over the filling, then tuck in the 2 sides and continue rolling until you have a neat little parcel. Set the roll aside, seam side down, and repeat the process with the remaining leaves and filling.
  8. Nestle the rolls, seam side down, on the passata in the casserole dish. Pour the remaining passata over the top and sprinkle with the remaining paprika. Place the lid on the dish and bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour.
  9. After 1 hour, remove the lid and bake for another 30 minutes to help the sauce to reduce and thicken.
  10. Serve the cabbage rolls with sauerkraut and a splodge of crème fraîche or sour cream.
low carb
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