Vegetarian Savoy Cabbage Rolls

Source: Rochelle Beerli circa 2000

Vegetarian Savoy Cabbage Rolls in a dish
Vegetarian Savoy Cabbage Rolls

Vegetarian Cabbage Rolls

The inspiration for the Vegetarian Savoy Cabbage Rolls came from my weekly Bio Vegetable Box, which I get delivered to my house. Yes, I’ve been making cabbage rolls for years, and before me, my mom. It was always a New Year’s day meal, made special with a ground meat, rice and herb filling, topped with the delicious tomato sauce. I however, will often make my rolls vegetarian style.


The savoy variety has been around since the German gardener’s developed it in the middle 16th century. It’s a winter variety, and said to be the best variety for cooking. It is strong, sturdy and has a very thick spine, thus making it the perfect canvas for this meal. It involved a bit of pre-work with taking each leaf off, one by one, then par-boiling the leaves. Surprisingly though, it’s a pretty quick sub-step. The fun begins once you begin the stuff and roll method. Piggy’s in a blanket, cabbage rolls, Golabki, or holubky…it’s a dish commonly found throughout Europe, the Balkans, and North America.

For my group, we relate this dish to winter. It’s made with a winter vegetable, and it’s a warm and incredibly satisfying meal to enjoy on a cold winter’s day. You’ll find many cultures like to cook this meal in the crock-pot, however I love a nice roasting pan, and enjoy cooking this dish in the oven. You just need to take a bit of care that the top doesn’t brown out or dry up, so just watch it through the cooking process. Additionally, this is a vegetarian recipe. Think beyond the traditional meat-filled ingredients, and perhaps, bring this to a vegan dish as well.

Vegetarian Savoy Cabbage Rolls

It’s a relatively easy dish to prepare, cook and devour. 
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword Vegetables
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 5


  • 1 medium savoy cabbage full head, about 15+ leafs
  • 1 can diced tomatoes for sauce
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic for sauce
  • 2 to 3 pinches herbs for sauce (rosemary, oregano, sage)
  • 1 cup rice uncooked, long grain or basamati
  • 1 TBS olive oil to drizzle
  • 2 to 3 leafs mint to add to rice stuffing
  • 1 medium egg to rice stuffing for binding
  • 3 TBS bread crumbs to stuffing


  • Begin with cooking a cup of rice.  When it’s finished, in a large metal bowl, mix the rice, egg, bread crumbs, mint, and any other vegetables you might have on hand that are cooked.  Mix well and set aside.
    Filling of cabbage roll
  • Prepare a pot of boiling water to flash cook your cabbage leaves.  Put 2-3 leafs in at a time, par-boil for about 1 min.
    boiled cabbage leaves
  • Turn on oven, and preheat to 200 Celsius. 
  • Begin to fill each leaf, with approximately 1 heaping spoonful of filling. 
    Fill cabbage leaf
  • Begin the roll by tucking in the sides, then roll the entire leaf, remembering to keep the sides tucked in. 
    Cabbage leaf folled
  • place them in the baking dish, seam down.
    Vegetarian Savoy Cabbage Rolls in a dish
  • Make a quick tomato sauce with the can of tomato’s, garlic, and fresh herbs. 
    Tomato sauce for cabbage rolls
  • Pour the sauce over the rolls, then bake for 25 min. or until sauce is bubbling and the cabbage seems well cooked. 
    poured over tomato sauce over cabbage rolls
  • Take out, and serve immediately 
    Cabbage roll finished
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