Mediterranean Savoy Cabbage Rolls

Mediterranean Savoy Cabbage Rolls

Savoy cabbage is not something that I’ve cooked much in the past, not because I don’t like it, mostly because it’s not been top of my mind. Since I’m trying to leave out carbs in our day-to-day food, I’ve been looking for ingredients to substitute in my meals for a healthier living. That’s when savoy cabbage came back to my mind, and I looked around for different ways of cooking it. I found interesting recipes that filled and rolled the cabbage, but often with rice or similar. The following recipe is my carb-free modification. I served it to my friends and they liked it very much. My husband also liked it, but in his opinion, a bit more of the spices could have been added. Feel free to add more of the spices or substituted them with different flavors. I think you can go very creative with this recipe.


You need the following ingredients: (serves 4-6 as a main or 8-10 as a starter)

For the Savoy Cabbage Rolls:

  • 1 savoy cabbage
  • 2 small white onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 700g / ~1 1/2 labs ground beef
  • 2 zucchini
  • 2 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp paprika powder
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 80 ml / 1/3 cup cream
  • 250 g / ~9 oz feta cheese
  • 2 tbsp olive oil or sesame oil
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
  • dried tomato flakes to garnish (optional)


For the Tomato Sauce:

  • 1 medium size white onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 250 ml / 1 cup tomato puree
  • 400 g / 1 2/3 cups canned chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp Italian herbs or fresh thyme
  • 2 tbsp olive oil or sesame oil
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

To make the tomato sauce, peel the white onion and cloves of garlic, dice the onion thinly and crush the garlic. Heat the oil in a pan, and add the onion and garlic, let them brown slightly. Add the tomato puree, the canned tomatoes, and the herbs. Let the sauce simmer on very low heat until you prepare the oven dish with sauce and savoy cabbage rolls (below).



Start by preheating your oven to 180 °C / 360°F and bring a big pot with salted water to a boil. Prepare the savoy cabbage by removing any of the tough outer leaves and discarding them. Then cut off about 15 nice leaves and wash them. Cut out some of the woody stem areas from each individual leaf at the base, that way it’s easier to prepare the rolls and the leaves are less chewy. 



Once done, you can start preparing the stuffing. Begin by peeling the white onions and cloves of garlic, dice the onions thinly and crush the garlic. Wash the zucchinis and grate them with a medium size grater. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a pan, add the white onion and garlic and brown slightly. Then add the cumin, paprika powder, and tomato paste and stir well. When the mixture is starting to get darker in color, add the ground beef and cook until the water is gone and the ground beef is cooked thoroughly. Pour in the grated zucchini and the cream, then combine everything and let it cook till the zucchini is soft and the mixture is still creamy, but not to liquid. Season with salt & pepper to taste.



The pot with salted water should be boiling by now. Add the prepared savoy cabbage leaves into the boiling water for about 3 minutes. I did this in 2 batches. Remove the leaves and rinse them with some cold water or even pour them into a bowl with iced water, then let them drain in a sieve. Cut the feta cheese into pieces of similar size, one piece per leave. Now you can start assembling the rolls. Take a savoy cabbage leaf and lay it flat with the base toward you on a cutting board. Place 2-3 tbsp of the beef filling and one piece of the feta cheese in the center of the leaf. The amount of filling depends on the size of the leaf, you don’t want to overload it. Fold both left and right sides over, roll the base end over the feta cheese and filling, and then roll the upper side over the base end. Don’t wrap it too tightly, you don’t want to tear the leaf. Secure the wrapped leaf with a toothpick or string. Repeat the same for the remaining leaves. Prepare a big casserole or 3-4 smaller ones, as you prefer. Pour in the tomato sauce and place the rolls on top. Put the casserole(s) into the oven and heat thoroughly, which takes about 20 minutes.



To serve, remove the toothpick or string and arrange nicely on a plate and place some tomato sauce around it. If this is the main dish of a three course menu, 2 rolls will probably be appropriate. If it’s a main course by itself, I would serve 3 rolls.



If serving this as a starter, you can arrange two halves of a roll or one roll and a half. I garnished it with some dried tomato flakes.

Enjoy, Melanie…




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Categories: Main Dishes, World of Recipes


    • Melanie

      Thank you, I updated the temperature, I can see how it may have been confusing. It should be 180 °C / 360 °F. Have a great day and please tell me how it turned out. Cheers, Melanie…

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