Tradition, Tradition! Low and Slow: Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls

It has been a LONG hiatus since my last post, and I am thrilled that for the first post of the new year, I can welcome a guest blogger, Michael Smith. Michael shares his mother-in-law’s take on the traditional cabbage roll recipe. Having tried it myself, I can attest to its deliciousness (and simplicity)! The only change I made to the recipe was in the cook time, because I started too late in the day – so I went with about 4.5 hours on low, followed by 2.5 hours on high, and they were perfect. I also think I might have made smaller rolls, since I ended up with about 14 rolls, and the original recipe below notes 8-10. 

I also ran into some frustration with removing the cabbage leaves in one piece from the cabbage, and then rolling very stiff cabbage rolls. So, in a bind, I ran the cabbage under warm water while peeling the leaves off and that seemed to help loosen them. My wise friend Google told me that if you freeze the entire cabbage the day before, then let it thaw overnight, the leaves will be wilted, thus easier to remove and roll. The alternative was to boil (and then cool) the entire cabbage.

My New Year’s Resolution is to get back to blogging, so you will hear from me again soon!

Low and Slow: Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls


Guest Post by Michael Smith
Photos by Chutzpah in the Kitchen

Hello all,

Welcome to the cabbage roll club (CRC)!

The rules of CRC are as follows:

1. Make cabbage rolls.
2. Divide cabbage rolls into meal-size portions in tupperware containers and store in the refrigerator.
3. Bring cabbage rolls with you wherever you go.
4. Microwave those cabbage rolls for 3 minutes!
6. Feel superior about your meal choices.
7. Connect with generations of Eastern European forebears toiling in the Pale of Settlement. You are Tevye. You are part of a grand tradition! Sunrise, sunset (on your 2015 eatin’ blues!).

But first, go to the grocery store and get the following:

2 pounds ground turkey (I use 99% but feel free to substitute a different blend)
1/3 cup rice (I use jasmine)
1 onion OR 3-4 green onions
2 carrots
3-4 stalks of celery
1 cabbage
1 large jar marinara sauce
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper


  1. Rough chop carrots and celery. Place at bottom of slow cooker.
  2. Dice onion(s).
  3. Imagine yourself in Anatevka. Tumble-down, work-a-day Anatevka.
  4. Knead together onion, rice, turkey and spices in large bowl.
  5. Remove 8 – 10 individual leaves from cabbage to use as wraps. Don’t worry about tearing.
  6. Scoop palm-size portions from turkey mixture and place in cabbage leaves. The mixture should yield 8 – 10 portions.
  7. Worry about all the change you see taking place in your world. The pogroms! The Russian Revolution! And who will marry your daughter?
  8. Place cabbage rolls in slow cooker. Stack in two layers. Pour 1/3rd jar marinara sauce over first layer, then remainder of jar over second layer.
  9. Set slow cooker to LOW and cook for 8 – 11 hours.


– Chop remainder of cabbage and scatter in slow cooker.
– Add other vegetables to slow cooker (e.g,. tomatoes).
– Substitute arrabbiata for marinara sauce.
– Add a few bay leaves to slow cooker.

Welcome to CRC.



Thanks, Michael, for sharing!

Interested in sharing your recipe on Chutzpah in the Kitchen? Comment below or email

About the Author
A communications and branding professional, Cayla Solomon is also an amateur chef who shares her kitchen adventures on Chutzpah in the Kitchen.
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