Make-Ahead Ground Beef and Cabbage Rolls

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This delicious, nutritious recipe can be made two to three days ahead of time and reheated. Or, if planning a week’s worth of meals, you can prepare this recipe, then freeze rolls individually and reheat the exact number of portions for your family.


2.5 lbs. ground beef

1 cup cooked rice

1 egg

½ tbsp. salt and pepper

2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

2/3 cup shredded cabbage and carrots

½ onion, sautéed

Tomato sauce (see below)


Combine all of the above. Set aside. In a large pot of boiling water, drop a full head of cabbage with core removed.

As the leaves start to pull away from the head, remove and place into ice water (you will only use the green and light green but still large leaves). You will probably need to do this for a few heads to get enough leaves. Using ½ cup measuring cup, roll filling into individual leaves.

Tomato sauce


2 cans tomatoes (14.5 ounces each, or 1-quart canned tomatoes, crushed)

2 cups water (or chicken broth)

1/4 cup celery (with leaves, chopped)

Chopped fresh parsley to taste

1/2 bay leaf (crumbled)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 cup rice (long grain, uncooked)

In a large saucepan, combine the crushed tomatoes with the water or stock, celery, parsley, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Turn to low and simmer for 10-15 min or until vegetables are tender.

Final preparation:

Combine tomato sauce in a Dutch oven or large baking pan. Place cabbage rolls in the pan. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours (until ground beef is cooked through and cabbage is tender).