How to make cabbage rolls healthy and fast. Secret tips from my grandma…

Not so long ago I have just posted my family Recipe for Cabbage Rolls and now I'm going to share with you my grandma’s secrets how to make the healthiest cabbage rolls in the shortest time possible.


If you thought that all cabbage rolls were healthy simply because they are not junk food and they contain cabbage, I am sorry to disappoint you. Not all cabbage rolls are created the same. Take your typical traditional Russian or Ukrainian cabbage rolls as an example. Most of them taste so delicious because they contain obscene amount of fat in both stuffing and sauce. Most of the calories in your typical cabbage rolls with come from both saturated fat (lard, fatty ground pork, sour cream) and unsaturated fat (frying oil)

Cabbage Rolls - Healthy Food Made Unhealthy

So let’s look at a real life situation. Say, your Ukrainian in-laws are coming to visit, and you want to surprise them by serving those Ukrainian cabbage rolls because they are a wonderful comfort food for them. You are committed to spending two-three hours of your life on making cabbage rolls to impress them. You’ve selected a traditional recipe….

Whether you should use my recipe or THE OTHER recipe depends on one thing – how much do you like your in-laws? If you are perfectly fine with getting them one step closer to having a heart attack, raising their cholesterol, and helping them to gain weight with all the grave consequences of it, then go right ahead and cook your traditional cabbage rolls.

But if you care for their health and that of your own (because you will have to eat together with them) why don’t you try a lighter healthier version of Russian or Ukrainian Cabbage Rolls? Mind you, basic Russian and Ukrainian cabbage rolls recipes are practically the same.

So what makes my cabbage rolls healthier? Three things that I DON’T do:

  1. I don’t fry onions and carrots in generous amount of oil; I blanch them or add 1 tsp of oil
  2. I don’t select fatty ground pork for the stuffing, nor do I add pork fat to it. I would use more rice, and only lean meat with more herbs and some tomato to accentuate the taste.
  3. I don’t fry individual cabbage rolls before baking. This is one of the secret tricks how to make cabbage rolls tastier, because everything fried and everything with fat is usually tastier… But I don’t do it, period.

And guess what?

I still end up cooking delicious cabbage rolls!

Here are three more tips how to make cabbage rolls even healthier:

  1. Use vegetarian stuffing instead of meat. There are a lot of traditional vegetarian cabbage rolls recipes. Vegetarian cabbage rolls will hardly contain any cholesterol. However, today I am talking about the most popular traditional version of the cabbage rolls which contains meat.
  2. Another thing that I plan to try is using brown rice instead of write rice. This would certainly make cabbage rolls even healthier. But this would change the taste, and today we are all about preserving the taste while not getting one step closer to having a heart attack.
  3. And lastly, some people would replace sour cream with no-fat sour cream. And I won’t do it because the gains will be questionable in terms of health (what do they put in that sour cream to replace that fat? Read the ingredients!). It also tastes so much worse that it becomes not worth it to spend all this time on cooking those cabbage rolls just to have your guests practice their politeness and tolerance as they try to swallow your cabbage rolls out of respect to you.

So please check my step-by-step instructions for making healthy Ukrainian Cabbage Rolls - and enjoy!


Do you like my recipes? Please share them with your friends on Facebook and spread the word about health benefits of cabbage and easy healthy ways to cook it


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