Sweet and Sour Cabbage Rolls (Slow Cooker!)

Cabbage rolls.  How is it that I had gone 22 years without even hearing of them?  Am I the only one that didn’t know what a cabbage roll is?  For real.  This was a total “WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE?!” moment.  They outdid my expectations by far.  I usually don’t get excited about cabbage.  I’ve gotten to the point where I love some purple cabbage in my salad, but that’s as far as I have gone.  Don’t really like coleslaw.  Hate the smell of the cabbage juice my dad would always make in efforts to be super healthy.  Just really was not excited about cabbage.  Until now.  Now I am excited about cabbage.  Cause these were yummy.  Delicious, in fact.  Hearty.  Warm.  And has a sweet but tangy sauce that was just so fantastic.  Darn it, why do I always write these when I’m hungry?!  Gaaaaah tummy grumbles!!!  Anywho…it reminded me of some sort of Asian roll…with cabbage instead of some deep fried wrapper, and with a sauce reminiscent of sweet and sour!  But SO much better for you.  Again, eliminating the mystery.  You know what is going in to these 🙂  That’s one of my favorite things about cooking at home 🙂

I left these out on the counter the day I made them, because they were super hot and I was in a rush to get to church on time.  As I was climbing into my car to leave, my mother in law popped her head out of the front door and yelled out “TAB ARE THESE CABBAGE ROLLS?!  CAN I HAVE SOME?!”  Of course I said yes…she seemed so excited for food, which doesn’t happen often.  Especially food with meat in it!  About an hour later I got a text from her that said something along these lines, “All I can say is wow Tab, delicious!”  That is quite the compliment.  Do you want that kind of reaction from your fam?  Well then read on!  This would be a great healthy dish that you could get the little ones to eat!  What kid doesn’t like sweet and sour, eh?  😉

Adapted from melissaknorris.com

So, here’s what you need:

  • 1 Head Cabbage
  • 1/2 C uncooked rice, I used brown basmati
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • 1/4 C Unsweetened Original Almond Milk
  • 1/4 C Minced Onion
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 1 Can Tomato Sauce (15 oz) If you take the time to look, you can find some without sugar in it 🙂
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Agave (More if you want it sweeter, you can taste and adjust)
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce (Try and find some without sugar or corn syrup, I am in the process of using up what I have, but I know there has to be some at the health food store or something!)
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice


And here’s how you do it:

  1. First, get your cabbage boiling so it will be nice and soft!!  Get a large pot of water boiling, add your head of cabbage, and boil till tender, about 2-5 minutes.  Take it out and gently peel off 10 leaves.  If the first few layers come off easily, but the under layers start to break, feel free to toss it back into the boiling water for a few minutes.  That’s what I did 🙂
  2. Now for your filling!!  Combine your rice, egg, almond milk, onion, garlic, beef, salt and pepper.
  3. Work station time!  I love setting up my little work stations!  I had my bowl of filling on one side, my cutting board and cabbage leaves in front of me, and my crock pot on my other side!!  Lay a cabbage leaf flat on the cutting board, and plop about 1/4 C of the filling towards one end of it.  Now you are going to kind of roll it up like a burrito.  You can either fold the ends in now and then roll it up all the way…or you can roll it up first then use your finger to shove the ends inside.  Whatever is easiest for you.  It should just be sealed and look like tiny burritos when you are done 🙂
  4. Stack inside your crock pot.  Repeat for the rest of the leaves/filling.
  5. Combine the tomato sauce, agave, Worcestershire sauce, and lemon juice.  Taste and adjust if you want more sweet or sour 🙂  Dump the sauce over the cabbage rolls, put the lid on, and cook on low for about  hours 🙂  I love this kind of meal.  You can clean up your kitchen, and go about your day being productive, all the while smelling the delectable fruits of your labor!!  Or you can be like me, and not be productive…you can make a smoothie, put the baby down for a nap, sit down and chat with her mom for a while, then turn on a ridiculous movie 😀  I hope you enjoy this fantastic recipe!  It kind of blew my mind.  What a great and interesting combo!


Pictures!  Pictures!  Pictures!

Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Add the cabbage, boil for 2-5 minutes, drain, and peel off 10 leaves.  If they begin to break, return to boiling water for a few more minutes.  They need to be soft enough to roll 🙂

Cabbage Rolls 3

Combine rice, beef, garlic, egg, salt, pepper, onion, and almond milk. Cabbage Rolls 1Cabbage Rolls 2

Now, get distracted by a ridiculously cute 2 year old running circles around you in a bike helmet.  Gosh I love her ❤

Cabbage Rolls 7

Now get back to business, because these have to cook for a long time, haha.

Place 1/4 C of the filling on one end of one of the cabbage leaves.  Roll up and tuck in the ends, like a burrito.

Cabbage Rolls 5


Stack into your crock pot!
Cabbage Rolls 8

Mix up the tomato sauce, agave, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce.  Taste and adjust if you want it more or less sweet 🙂

Cabbage Rolls 4

Now pour over the cabbage rolls…

Cabbage Rolls 9

Cover and cook on low for 8 hours!  While you wait, you can clean your kitchen, do some laundry, play with the kids, or…be awesome like me.  Put the baby down for a nap, and watch a movie that you should have seen long, long ago.  Who can tell me what this is?

Cabbage Rolls 10

Who knows that movie?!  “Why have you not been baptiiized?!”  Haha.  It was about time I finally watched it.  I swear my little brother and his best friend communicate solely in quotes from this movie.  So random.  So strange.  So fantastic.  Haha.  I’m so glad I can finally speak their language!!  Anyways!  Go do something fun because you already have dinner prepared and all you have to do is wait!!!  Now go take them out and devour!!!  Cabbage Rolls 11Cabbage Rolls 12

You know you want that!  SO GOOD!  I hope you enjoy!

4 thoughts on “Sweet and Sour Cabbage Rolls (Slow Cooker!)

  1. Cabbage rolls (I call them halupkies) are my favorite! I believe they origin from Eastern Europe where my grandmother is from so it’s been passed on to my mother and then me. Absolute favorites.

    Thanks for sharing this, brought me lots of smiles!

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