Stuffed Cabbage Rolls Recipe with Lamb - Dr. Axe

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Lamb Recipe

Stuffed cabbage rolls - Dr. Axe

Some of my favorite foods are stuffed: stuffed peppers, stuffed chicken and, now, stuffed cabbage rolls.

You’ve probably heard of the cabbage soup diet but probably have never tried these stuffed cabbage rolls with lamb. You’re in for a real treat.

This traditional Eastern European dish gets a Dr. Axe upgrade with this recipe. Instead of ground beef, we’ll up the flavor by using minced lamb meat instead — and don’t even think of using canned condensed soup!

Don’t be intimidated by the long ingredients list. They’re all common ingredients and make these stuffed cabbage rolls insanely tasty.

Pull these together on a lazy Sunday — you’ll be glad you did.


Key Ingredients

This stuffed cabbage roll recipe has quite a lengthy list of ingredients, which is what makes it so flavorful — and good for you. Here are some of the main players in these stuffed cabbage rolls with tomato sauce:

  • Cabbage: Whether we’re talking red cabbage or the green variety, this cruciferous veggie is rich in fiber; vitamins C, K, A and B; along with minerals like manganese, potassium and iron. This adds up to a gut-healthy, immune-boosting vegetable that supports bone health and detoxification.
  • Lamb: Packing a lean protein punch, lamb meat provide plenty of vital minerals in addition to healthy fats. This important because this healthier red meat can help prevent anemia due to its high iron content, aid the nervous system thanks to the B vitamins in the meat and bump up immunity as a zinc-rich food.
  • Tomato: The tomato sauce topping isn’t just for show. Loaded with antioxidants, particularly lycopene, tomato nutrition helps combat cancer cells, inflammation, heart disease risk factors, eye issues, skin conditions and bone problems.
  • Long-grain rice: This recipe calls for long-grain rice because long-grain brown rice nutrition offers way more than white rice. High in fiber and health-promoting minerals, brown rice can help protect against heart disease due to its magnesium and selenium content, and it’s safe for diabetics and gluten-free diets due to its lower glycemic score and naturally gluten-free nature.
  • Spices: The wide variety of spices in these stuffed cabbage rolls provides even more flavor and health-promoting properties. Garlic is a true superfood, while the chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, oregano, paprika, black pepper and sea salt offer their own unique health benefits. This all equates to an immune-boosting mixture that can support all aspects of health.
Stuffed cabbage rolls step 1 - Dr. Axe

How to Make Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Grab a large mixing bowl, and mix together the minced lamb, rice and spices with your hands.

Stuffed cabbage rolls step 2 - Dr. Axe

Now, in a medium saucepan over medium heat, grab the oil, butter, salt and pepper. Stir them together until the butter melts.

Now add the nutrition-rich onion, garlic, bell pepper and jalapeno, and cook it up for the next five to eight minutes. We want those veggies to soften.

Next, add the spices to the vegetables, and mix them all up. Now remove the vegetables from heat.

Let the vegetables cool to room temperature — you’ll be handling them later, so no burnt fingers! In the meantime, let’s get those cabbage leaves ready.

Stuffed cabbage rolls step 3 - Dr. Axe

In a large stockpot, bring the water to a boil, and give it a healthy dash of sea salt. Add the cabbage leaves to the pot, and boil for two to three minutes.

Drain the leaves, and let them cool off, too. Once you can handle them safely, trim the spine of each cabbage leaf with a paring knife. This will make preparing the rolls a whole lot easier.

Now, let’s get back to that vegetable mixture. Stir the lime juice into the mix. Then combine it with that lamb you cooked up, and mix it all up with your hands.

This is the good part about not burning your fingers off earlier! Once you’ve done that, cover and put in the refrigerator.

It’s sauce-making time!

Stuffed cabbage rolls recipe with lamb - Dr. Axe

Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a saucepan, add in the fire-roasted tomatoes, tomato paste, Roma tomatoes and onions.

Once all that yummy stuff is boiling, let it be for the next five minutes, giving it a good stir every now and again. Then, lower the heat, and keep the pot simmering until the tomatoes can be broken easily with a spoon. Remove the pot from the heat, and set it aside.

Now, line a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish with sixe cabbage leaves. Then, grab that lamb mixture that’s been chilling in the fridge. It’s time to make these stuffed cabbage rolls.

Lay a cabbage leaf with the stem pointing at you. Add 1/2 cup of the lamb mix to the cabbage leaf, and then pull the bottom edge of the cabbage leaf up and over the meat, so it forms a log.


Roll that log to the end of the cabbage leaf, and place it in the casserole dish, seam-side down. Do this with the remaining lamb and cabbage leaves. You should have about two rows of five rolls each when you’re finished.

Sprinkle the stuffed cabbage rolls with salt and pepper, and then spoon that tasty tomato sauce you prepared over the rolls. Make sure they’re smothered with the sauce! Then slide the casserole dish into the oven, and bake for 90 minutes.

Before serving, let the rolls cool off for 20 minutes.

This stuffed cabbage rolls recipe is a bit tedious, but it’s so worth it. The juicy lamb, the homemade tomato sauce and the naturally low-fat cabbage combination make for a memorable main.

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Stuffed cabbage rolls - Dr. Axe

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Lamb Recipe

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

No reviews

  • Author: Dr. Josh Axe
  • Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
  • Yield: 10 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


The traditional Eastern European stuffed cabbage rolls dish gets an upgrade. Instead of ground beef, we up the flavor with minced lamb.


  • Lamb Mixture:
  • 1 pound minced lean lamb
  • 1 cup long-grain rice, soaked for 20 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon Himalayan pink salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Vegetable Mixture:
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted grass-fed butter
  • 1 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice (about 1/4 small lime)
  • 1 head of cabbage, cored
  • salt and pepper
  • Sauce Mixture:
  • one 28-ounce can fire-roasted whole tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 white onion, diced


  1. In a large mixing bowl, use your hands to mix together the lamb, rice and spices and set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir the oil, butter, salt and pepper together until the butter is melted. Add the onion, garlic, bell pepper and jalapeno.
  3. Cook for 5–8 minutes, stirring occasionally to soften the vegetables. Add the spices, mix well and remove from heat. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature while you prepare the cabbage leaves.
  4. Fill a large stockpot halfway full with water and bring to a boil. Pull the head of cabbage apart. Add a generous dash of salt and the cabbage leaves to the boiling water and boil for 2–3 minutes.
  5. Drain the leaves and allow to cool. Once cooled, trim the spine of each cabbage leaf with a paring knife to promote easy rolling.
  6. Stir the lime juice into the vegetable mixture. Add the vegetables to the lamb mixture and mix well with your hands. Cover and refrigerate while preparing the sauce.
  7. Heat the oven to 350 F.
  8. In a medium saucepan, bring the fire-roasted tomatoes, tomato paste, Roma tomatoes and onions to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat and simmer until the tomatoes break apart easily with a spoon, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  9. Line the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish with 6 small cabbage leaves.
  10. Remove the lamb mixture from the refrigerator. Lay 1 cabbage leaf flat with the stem pointing toward you. Add ½ cup lamb mixture to the bottom edge of the cabbage leaf. Pull the bottom edge of the cabbage leaf up and over the lamb, forming a log.
  11. Tightly roll the log to the end of the cabbage leaf. Place the roll in the casserole dish seam side down. Repeat with the remaining lamb and cabbage leaves, making 2 rows of 5 rolls each.
  12. Sprinkle the rolls with salt and pepper. Spoon the tomato sauce over the top of the rolls and cover with the remaining cabbage leaves.
  13. Bake for 90 minutes. Allow the cabbage rolls to rest for 20 minutes before serving.
  • Prep Time: 45 min
  • Cook Time: 120 min
  • Category: Main Dishes
  • Method: Stovetop, Oven, By Hand
  • Cuisine: Eastern European


  • Serving Size: 1 roll
  • Calories: 291
  • Sugar: 6.5g
  • Sodium: 190mg
  • Fat: 14.9g
  • Saturated Fat: 6.4g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 8.4g
  • Trans Fat: 0.1g
  • Carbohydrates: 26g
  • Fiber: 4.9g
  • Protein: 14.9g
  • Cholesterol: 49mg

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 4.5 / 5. Vote count: 52

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.


Please keep comments under 200 characters.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

More Recipes