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Cabbage Rolls Stuffed with Pork and Leftover Rice Pilaf
and homemade marinara sauce

Active: 25 min Total: 40 min
We give this traditional Eastern European dish an Italian twist with Italian spices and marinara sauce. It's hearty and healthy at the same time!
Smarts: This can be assembled fully the night before and then just popped into the oven before dinner.


Cabbage Rolls Stuffed with Pork and Leftover Rice Pilaf:
  • Ground pork - 3/4 lb
  • Salt - 1/2 tsp
  • Paprika - 1/2 tsp
  • Basil, dried - 1/4 tsp
  • Oregano, dried - 1/4 tsp
  • Black pepper - 1/4 tsp
  • Garlic - 3 cloves , minced
  • Shallots - 1 bulb , diced
  • Crushed tomatoes (28 oz / 794 g can) - 1 can
  • Cabbage - 8 leaves
  • Cooking oil - 1 Tbsp
  • Leftover rice pilaf - 2 cups
  • Mozzarella (opt) - 4 oz , grated


  1. Pork - Season ground pork with salt, paprika, basil, oregano, and black pepper. (Can be done up to 1 day ahead)
  2. Make marinara sauce - Mince garlic and dice shallots. Mix into crushed tomatoes with some salt and pepper. (Can be done up to 3 days ahead).
  3. Cabbage - Peel off 2 leaves of cabbage / serving (e.g., 4 servings = 8 leaves). Soften in one of two ways: 1) Place in a microwave-safe container, cover with a wet paper towel, and microwave for 2 minutes; or 2) Bring a pot of water to boil. Salt and boil leaves for ~1 minute and then dunk in cold / iced water to stop the cooking.

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  1. Heat oven to 400F (or 204C) degrees.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and then pork to heated oil. Break up meat with a wooden spoon and cook until brown, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. While pork is cooking, microwave marinara sauce for 1 1/2 minutes. Pour half the sauce into a 9” x 13” (or 22.5 cm x 32.5 cm) baking dish.
  4. Fold leftover rice pilaf into skillet with pork and mix everything through.
  5. Spoon about 1/2 to 3/4 cup (or 117.5 to 176 ml) of filling into each cabbage leaf and fold up. Place seam-side down into the marinara sauce. Continue until done. If there is any leftover filling, just pour it over the cabbage rolls.
  6. Pour rest of the marinara sauce over the cabbage rolls and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. If using cheese, sprinkle over the sauce before baking.
  7. Enjoy piping hot!



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