These cabbage rolls are filled with rice and minced meat. The mix is wrapped in cabbage leaves and slowly cooked in tomato sauce. It's a delicious and healthy dish for all the family and can be frozen, just like spring rolls, and reheated at any moment.






Skill level

Average: 3.2 (49 votes)


  • 200 g (1 cup) arborio rice
  • 1 whole savoy cabbage
  • 15 roma tomatoes
  • 2 small brown onions, diced
  • 500 g lean minced beef
  • 1 tbsp each chopped fresh thyme, rosemary and basil
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
  • flaked salt (to taste)
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 long green chilli, cut into small dice
  • 40 g parmesan cheese, finely grated or to taste
  • bread, to serve


Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


The following recipe has been tested and edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the podcast.

Cook arborio rice according to packet directions. Remove the core of the cabbage, place in a sink of cold water and separate the leaves one at a time. Blanch the leaves in a saucepan of salted boiling water for 30 seconds, cool down straight away in iced water and dry between kitchen towels.

Score the base of each tomato, then in the same saucepan of boiling water, blanch the tomatoes for 30 seconds, place in cold water, then peel and dice. Place a large, heavy frypan over high heat, add 1 tbsp oil and mince, fry, breaking up with a wooden spoon until golden brown. Season to taste and place into a bowl.

Cook the onions in the same pan with remaining 2 tbsp olive oil, thyme and rosemary until softened. Cool slightly, then mix with meat, lemon zest and juice, chopped chilli and rice, check the seasoning.

Add the diced tomatoes to a large, heavy frypan deep enough for two layers of rolls and place over medium heat. Cook for 10 minutes, to soften the tomatoes.

Meanwhile, remove the hard central stem from the cabbage leaves, cutting all the way to the edge to make 2 halves. Place a rounded tablespoon of the mix and roll like a spring roll. Place one by one into the tomato sauce, forming a second layer if necessary. Cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes until cabbage is tender and rolls are cooked through. Make sure the sauce doesn’t burn, add more water if necessary.

To finish, grate some parmesan on top and sprinkle with freshly chopped basil. Serve with bread and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.


Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Michelle Noerianto. Food preparation by Nick Banbury and Cynthia Black.