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Joan Nathan’s Chosen Stuffed Cabbage

April 02, 2021
Joan Nathan’s Chosen Stuffed Cabbage

This recipe for stuffed cabbage is a distinctly American variation with ketchup, tomatoes, brown sugar, and lemon juice. It is also American to freeze the cabbage and then defrost it, a trick I learned long ago that makes this dish a snap to prepare. And, like many good Jewish dishes, it tastes better the next day.

Featured in: The Ultimate Stuffed Cabbage—a Perfect One-Pot Dinner for Sukkot

Great for: Sukkot



  • 1head of cabbage, frozen, about 2 pounds
  • 2pounds ground beef
  • 1teaspoon salt
  • ½teaspoon pepper
  • 2large eggs
  • cup ketchup
  • ½cup uncooked rice
  • 1small onion, finely chopped


  • 135-ounce can chopped tomatoes
  • 2tablespoons tomato paste
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2large onions, sliced
  • ½cup ketchup
  • 2lemons, juiced
  • cup brown sugar
  • cup raisins
  • 1tablespoon oil
Yield: about 24 rolls


To make the Sweet-and-Sour Stuffed Cabbage

  • Step 1

    Defrost the cabbage the night before cooking. When it is completely defrosted, separate the leaves.

  • Step 2

    To make the filling: In a large bowl, mix the ground beef, salt, pepper, eggs, rice, ketchup, and chopped onion; set aside.

  • Step 3

    Place 1 heaping tablespoon of the filling on each cabbage leaf. Tuck the ends in and roll up like a big cigar. Place them, open side down, in a 6-quart casserole.

  • Step 4

    To make the sauce: Cook onions with oil in a saucepan for a few minutes, then add the tomatoes, tomato paste, salt and pepper to taste, onions, ketchup, the juice of one lemon, brown sugar, and raisins. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 15 minutes, covered.

  • Step 5

    Pour the sauce over the cabbage. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for one hour and a half, and then uncover for an additional half hour, adding water if too dry. Taste for sweet and sour and, if needed, squeeze the juice of the remaining lemon over all.

  • Step 6

    Turn the stuffed cabbage rolls onto a serving platter, spoon the sauce over, and serve. This is even more delicious the second day.