Cabbage Rolls with a twist! This is an ode to a classic but highlights Mediterranean flavors like oregano, mint, and dill. My recipe is non-tomato based but rather a lemon, olive oil, and honey base instead.
Cabbage Rolls are nostalgic for me. I grew up eating Hungarian Cabbage Rolls at my best friend’s house; her mom is an incredible cook. The smell and taste bring back many fond memories from my childhood and my first taste of international travel. Nothing beats Mama Lakner’s cabbage rolls, so I thought I would create something that felt a bit more “Sacha”.
I tend to gravitate towards Mediterranean flavors in my everyday cooking. My husband is from Albania, a coastal country between Greece and Montenegro; the flavors in this recipe are widely used where he grew up. This Mediterranean Style Cabbage Roll Recipe is a fusion I’m quite proud of. It blends together two cultures and cuisines, both of which mean so much to me.
Rez said this was his favorite recipe I’ve ever made and is already asking for it again. I appreciate that he liked it but his enthusiasm was a bit much. Cabbage rolls twice in the same week? Calm down sir; it’s been 2 days! I hope you guys love this recipe as much as I do!
Mediterranean Cabbage Rolls with Dill Yogurt Sauce
- 1 9×13 baking dish
- 1 large bowl with tight-fitting lid
- 1 medium-sized bowl
- 1 large pot
- 1 whisk
- 1 paring knife
- 1 head of cabbage I find larger leaves easier to work with
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 cup cooked basmati rice
- ½ white onion grated plus its juices
- ⅓ cup Italian parsley chopped
- ¼ cup fresh dill chopped
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp dried mint
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1 egg lightly beaten
Cabbage Roll Sauce
- 2 lemons juiced
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup honey
- 4 garlic clove minced
- 1 tsp hot paprika Szeged Hungarian Paprika is my go-to
- ½ tsp kosher salt
Dill Yogurt Sauce
- 200 grams whole milk Greek yogurt
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
- 2 tbsp fresh dill chopped and packed
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- In a large bowl add all of the ingredients for the rolls (except cabbage); mix with your hands to combine. Cover and place in the fridge until we start assembling the cabbage rolls.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cut about ½ inch off the bottom of the cabbage (core side). Once the water is boiling, submerge the cabbage (cut side down); boil for 5 minutes. Remove the cabbage (careful you don't burn yourself), and place on a few clean kitchen towels to cool.
- In a medium-sized bowl, add all of the ingredients for the Cabbage Roll Sauce. I like to put my honey in the microwave for 20 seconds so it thins out. I find it easier to mix into the sauce this way. Whisk together all the ingredients until well combined. Set aside on the counter for the time being.
- Pat the cabbage dry using clean kitchen towels. Begin to carefully peel each cabbage leaf. You’re going to rip a few no matter what, so try and be patient. Full disclosure: I love to dole out the advice but I end up cursing a few times during the process. You’re not alone! Sometimes I need to cut a little more off the end so the leaves are easier to peel. Pat the leaves dry once more.
- Cover the base of a 9×13 inch baking dish with ½ of the cabbage roll sauce. Preheat the oven to 350° F and remove the cabbage roll filling mix from the fridge.
- Lay a cabbage leaf flat on a large surface (I like to use a cutting board). Using a paring knife, cut a V-shape to remove the thick part of the cabbage rib. Roll a small amount of the meat mixture into a log shape and place in the center of the leaf. Roll the leaf around the meat mixture and place the roll seam side down in the baking dish. The amount of mixture you use will vary depending on the size of the leaf. I try to do ¼ cup per roll. Repeat with remaining cabbage leaves or until you've run out of filling.
- Pour the remaining ½ of the sauce over the cabbage rolls. Cover with tin foil and bake for 60-90 minutes, until cabbage is tender and meat is cooked. The cook times will vary depending on the size of the roll. If your rolls are small, be sure to start checking at the 60 minute mark.
- Combine all the ingredients for the Dill Yogurt Sauce; mix well. Taste, adjust seasonings if needed. Pop in the fridge until the Cabbage Rolls are ready.
- Serve with pickles alongside the yogurt and dill sauce.