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Soured Cabbage Rolls
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This Soured Cabbage Rolls recipe came about out of curiosity. As of writing this post, I was on a roll. One hit after the next with new and exciting dishes and improving others. While trying one of the Dishes, I instantly thought that the Sauce would be crazy good with Cabbage Rolls. I couldn’t wait to try it. I was going to use regular Cabbage Leaves but really wanted to try this with the Soured Cabbage Leaves, so I put this on hold.

Then while I was out grocery shopping there it was just sitting there at the end aisle. Fermented Rolled Cabbage Leaves. Just sitting there saying Hey sup, I’m ready, are you? Yep, I excitedly grabbed the big Jar of Fermented Rolled Cabbage leaves for $5.00. What perfect timing. With this in my cart, I knew that I was set to put this together and that my next Cabbage Roll recipe was going to be amazing. This might just turn out to be my best Cabbage Roll to date.

The Perfect Sauce I already tasted and envisioned the seasoning with it as well. A Tangy Sauce that was going to get a boost from the Fermented Cabbage leaves. These two would compliment each other with the Savory Deep Earthly undertones from the Soured Cabbage Leaves and the Bright and Soured Sauce seasoned with Tarragon, Caraway, and Bay Leaf with a good amount of Parsley.

Soured Cabbage Leaves

These can be picked up at your local Grocery Store. In this jar I got 10 leaves, but 2 of them had to be cut in half because they were quite large. These are so good for Cabbage Rolls, and I am working on my own version where I can ferment jars of this on my own, almost like Sauerkraut with added Vinegar.

Jar Fermented Cabbage Leaves

Fermented Cabbage Leaves

Soak the Soured Cabbage Leaves for about an hour before using to wash away excess Salt, if needed. Mine we’re not too Salty, but taste and judge for yourself.

The leaves have so much more flavor than boiled cabbage leaves by themselves and can really bring the dish together. There is a world of difference between boiled Cabbage Leaves and Fermented Cabbage Leaves.

With Fermented Cabbage Leaves, you don’t have a long cook time because the leaves are already fairly tender. Not as long as fresh Cabbage Leaves, at least.

Cabbage Roll Meat Filling

No matter what type of Meat Filling you go with, stick with 45g-60g portions. I find that this is just perfect for portion size as well as cook time. It’s a good portion size for the filling to cook through without overcooking the leaves, since these are softer than fresh Cabbage that have been boiled.

For this recipe, it will give you about 10-12 Cabbage Rolls. Which is perfect because that is how many leaves you will have in a Jar of Soured Cabbage Leaves.

Most Cabbage Filling is either Pork or Beef, and sometimes a mixture of both. Usually with Rice and seasoned with Salt & Pepper, Onions, Parsley and sometimes Dill. Along with other Herbs and Spices like Bay Leaves, Marjoram, Thyme, Basil, and/or Oregano.

Ground Meat Filling

For the meat filling, any meatball recipe will work, and you can season it any way you’d like. Just combine Ground Beef, Pork or both with any seasonings you might like. For 1 lb. of ground meat, I find that 1 tsp of Salt is sufficient.

In this recipe, I wanted to use Ground Meat, but model it after Sausages. One of the tricks I use to get Sausage like texture is to use Baking Soda. This raises the PH level of the meat and gives it a Sausage Texture.

Stuffing Cabbage Rolls

Cabbage Roll Filling

  • 1 lb. Ground Beef 
  • 1 Onion, finely shredded
  • 5 Garlic finely shredded
  • 1 Tbl Parsley & Cold Water
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda, Sugar, Paprika & Black Pepper


One of my favorite fillings to use is Sausages. You can peel the skin off and divide the Sausage into 45g-60g portions. I favor Sausages for Cabbage Rolls. I don’t know why. To me, it just seems to be the perfect fit.

If you decide to use whole Sausages, then you might want to cook them first. Then roll them up with the Fermented Cabbage Leaves. I find Soured Cabbage Leaves don’t hold up to the long cook process, as they are already fairly tender.

Using Fresh Boiled Cabbage leaves, they need to be cooked for quite some time before becoming tender. So using whole Sausages here works quite well. For this recipe, not so much. If however you remove the skin and portion the Sausage Meat to 45-60 g you should be just fine with the cook time.

Cabbage Roll Tomato Sauce

When this Tomato Sauce is added to the Cabbage Rolls and cooked, it just brings everything together. You are in for a real treat. These are unbelievably good! It just matches so well.

Cabbage Roll Tomato Sauce

Tomato Sauce for Cabbage Rolls

  • 1 C Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 C Tomato Juice
  • 1 Tbl Butter & Flour
  • 3/4 C Vinegar
  • 1 Tbl Parsley
  • 1 tsp Tarragon Ground
  • 1 tsp Caraway Ground
  • 1 Bay leaf


The Cabbage Roll Tomato Sauce contains 3/4 C of Vinegar, which seems like a lot. However, it is reduced and actually works out quite nicely.

Fair warning that you really should heed – for real. When reducing the Vinegar, it is really going to choke you up. In close proximity it is unbearable. At a distance, it smells wonderful. It’s good that it only reduces for a few minutes (about 5 minutes), before the Butter & Flour Paste is added along with the Tomato Sauce. Then the sting goes away. Open your windows and make sure your stove fan is running. It really is potent.

Vinegar Reduction

Vinegar reduction

Add 3/4 C of White Vinegar to a Sauce pot. Along with 1 tsp Ground Caraway & Tarragon with 1 Bay Leaf, or use about 1/8 tsp of Ground Bay leaves.

Bring this to a boil over max heat and keep it there until reduced by half. About 5 minutes.

Butter & Flour Paste

Equal amounts of Butter & Flour are combined and added to the reduced Vinegar. This is whisked in really well to act as the thickener for the overall Sauce.

Butter & Flour Paste

Butter & Flour Paste

Combine 1 Tbl of both Butter & Flour and mix well until a paste is formed.

Add to the reduced Vinegar and whisk well. It will thicken up. Then add in the Tomato Products.

Tomato Sauce

1 Cup of Crushed Tomatoes & 1 Cup of Tomato Juice is used for the base Tomato Sauce. I have tested this with Passata & Water as well, and it works very nicely. I use 1 1/2 C of Passata with 1/2 C of Water. You can adjust the consistency to be thinner by adding in more water or some Tomato Juice.

Mutti Passata

Tomato Sauce

Either Crushed Tomatoes with Tomato Juice or Passata with Water will both work.

How to Make Soured Cabbage Rolls

Once the Sauce is made, place some on the bottom before rolling the Cabbage Rolls. Place the filling inside, fold in the sides and roll. Then pour the remaining Sauce over the top and spread out.

Cabbage Roll Casserole
Cabbage Roll Casserole

Cover with Tin Foil and in the oven on the middle rack at 350 F for 1 hour. After the 1-Hour Cook. Remove the Tin Foil. Baste & Bake another 15 – 30 minutes. The inside of the meat mixture should read 165 F, if you’re measuring.

Remove from the oven and let it cool a bit before serving.

Freezing Soured Cabbage Rolls

These freeze exceptionally well. Just place the desired portion into a freezer bag with some sauce and freeze flat on a baking sheet. Once frozen, remove the baking sheet. I often wrap two portions in tin foil and freeze along with some sauce. Once they are frozen, I place all the portions in a freezer bag.

To reheat, just place the Cabbage rolls into a casserole pan and allow to thaw. Cover and cook at 350 F until heated through, about 30 minutes.

Soured Cabbage Rolls

Soured Cabbage Rolls

Fermented Soured Savory Cabbage Leaves and Vibrant Tangy Sauce with Meat Filling or Sausage, portioned at 45 g.
Servings: 10 portions
Prep30 minutes
Cook 1 hour 30 minutes


  • 1 Sauce Pot
  • 1 Casserole Dish


  • 1 Jar Sour Cabbage Leaves

Cabbage Roll Tomato Sauce

  • 1 C Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 C Tomato Juice
  • 1 Tbl Butter & Flour
  • 3/4 C Vinegar
  • 1 Tbl Parsley
  • 1 tsp Tarragon Ground
  • 1 tsp Caraway Ground
  • 1 Bay leaf

Cabbage Roll Filling | Or use Sausages portioned to 45 g

  • 1 Lbs Ground Beef - or substitute with pork or half & half
  • 1 Onion
  • 5 Garlic
  • 1 Tbl Parsley & Cold Water
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda, Sugar, Paprika & Black Pepper


  • Soak Cabbage Leaves in water for 30 minutes or more to remove the excess salt, if needed. Taste to Test.
  • Add the Tarragon, Caraway and Bay Leaf to the Vinegar in a sauce pot and Bring to a boil over max heat. Reduce until Half remains. About 5 minutes,
    Mix the Butter & Flour together really well to form a paste. Once the Vinegar is reduced, add the Butter & Flour Paste. Mix well.
    Add Crushed Tomatoes and Tomato Juice. Mix well with a whisk and continue to cook until thickened a bit.
    Add the Parsley and set this aside to use for the Cabbage Roll Tomato Sauce.
  • Fine Shred the Onion and Garlic or purée in a food processor. Combine Meat Filling Ingredients and mix well.
    Weigh out at 45 g portions, or remove the Skin from Sausages and portion out to 45 g.
    Wrap in Cabbage Leaves and place into a glass Casserole Dish with a bit of Sauce on the bottom. You may have to cut some of the Cabbage leaves in half, as some of them will be quite large.
  • Pour the rest of the sauce over top and spread. Cover with Tin Foil and Place into the oven on the middle rack at 350 F. Cook for 1 hour.
    After an Hour, uncover, Baste and continue to Cook for 15 – 30 minutes. The internal temp of the meat should read 165 F. Remove from the Oven and let cool down a bit before serving.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Canadian
Keywords: Cabbage rolls, Soured Cabbage Rolls
Author: JAH

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