Lazy Cabbage Rolls Recipe – Russian Special

This lazy version for cabbage rolls is less fiddly but just as delicious, if not more! You get the same taste of the classic recipe of cabbage leaves, stuffed with meat and rice filling and baked in a creamy tomato sauce, but made considerably easier.

  • Prep Time20 min
  • Cook Time50 min
  • Total Time1 hr 10 min

Lazy Cabbage Rolls Ingredients :

  • 200g/1 cup long grain rice
  • 2 lbs ground beef extra lean 5% fat
  • 2 tbsp olive oil divided
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 large onion chopped finely
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 800g/1 small head of cabbage cored and sliced
  • 1 tbsp flat leaf parsley fresh or dried
  • 1 tbsp chopped dill
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pepper
  • 800 g/28oz canned crushed tomatoes or tomato passata
  • 1 container of concentrated chicken stock by Knorr or a bullion cube
  • 250ml/1 cup water
  • 250ml/1 cup creme fraiche or sour cream full fat
  • 2 bay leaves

How To Make Lazy Cabbage Rolls


Cook rice according to package instructions and cool slightly. Or use leftover rice!


Chop an onion finely and slice the cabbage, discard the core. Cook the onions and cabbage in 1 tbsp olive oil and butter over low heat until soft but not coloured for 7-10 minutes, add the minced garlic in the last 30 seconds before taking if off the heat.


Preheat oven to 350F/180C. In a large bowl, combine the cooked rice, onion, cabbage, raw ground beef, dill and parsley. Add salt and pepper and mix well to combine. (Using hands works best here.)


Shape patties the size of a golf ball but instead of round shape, make them oblong. Then brown them in 1 tbsp of olive oil. The patties should be browned, so they hold shape but don’t need to be cooked all the way through. The patties are quite fragile, so take care when flipping them. Work in batches to avoid overcrowding.


In a small saucepan combine the crushed tomatoes or passata and concentrated chicken stock with water. Heat while stirring continuously until the chicken stock dissolves into the sauce. Take off the heat and stir in creme fraiche or sour cream.


Arrange the browned cabbage rolls in a baking dish, for which you have a lid. Pour the sauce over the lazy cabbage rolls, add bay leaves and cook covered in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, then uncover and cook for 10 minutes longer. (Alternatively you can cover with aluminium foil).

Recipe Notes:

Apart from the main ingredients of the cabbage, meat and rice, it is important to add onions, garlic and herbs to the mixture to enhance the natural flavours. I added fresh dill and parsley but you can also use dried herbs. Go easy on dried dill as it tends to be a lot more potent than its fresh counterpart.

You will also need to cook the onions, garlic and cabbage before mixing them with the meat and rice, which is also precooked. Cooked onions and garlic add a touch of caramelised flavour and is easier on digestion than when added raw.

The sauce is a mix of crushed tomatoes, chicken or beef stock and full fat sour cream. I don’t recommend using low fat dairy as it tends to split the sauce.

Season the sauce with salt, peppers and bay leaves. Simple and effective.