Family Recipe Fridays: Cabbage Rolls a la Donna

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Did I ever tell you about the time my grandpa called me and my sister “study German girls”? He thought it was a compliment.

I have German ancestry on both sides (my maiden name and my mom’s are VERY German). Maybe that is why I like this dish so much. It reminds me of my childhood.

Unfortunately, when I try to weasel a recipe out of my mom, she always tells me she doesn’t have a recipe. She throws in some of this, some of that, and cooks it for awhile. Hm. Which is why I had to try to make her potato soup for three years before I got it right.

So when she was here last week, we made this together and I came up with measurements so that there is now an actual recipe! I hope Libbie will like cabbage and sauerkraut so I’ll have someone to share this with—Mr. V ate the insides of one roll and some mashed potatoes.

Cabbage Rolls a la Donna


  • 1.25 lb. ground beef
  • 1 head cabbage
  • 3/4 c. instant rice (white or brown works)
  • 1 T. dried minced onion
  • pepper
  • 1 15-oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 27-oz can sauerkraut
  • 1/3 c. brown sugar


Freeze the head of cabbage overnight; let thaw in the fridge the next day until dinner.

Core the cabbage from the bottom (you don’t want to cut into the leaves, just cut a circle around it and yank it out from the bottom). Remove cabbage leaves one by one; cut off the very thick part (vein) of the leaves.

Combine ground beef, rice, dried onion, and black pepper. Form into 2-inch balls. Wrap each ball in a cabbage leaf. Place one layer of cabbage rolls in the bottom of a Dutch oven or deep casserole dish. Pour half of the tomato sauce and half the can of sauerkraut over the rolls. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Repeat layers once more. If desired, cut up the rest of the cabbage and add to the top. Pour 1 cup of water over it all.

Cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours at 350, or until the beef is cooked through.

Family Recipe Friday posts:

Divine Chicken Divan (OhAmanda)
MaMaw’s Chocolate Layer Cake (It’s Come to This)
Mrs. Compton’s Rolls (The MawMaw)
Cheesy Chicken (Giving Up On Perfect)
Homemade Milky Way Ice Cream (Rebekah’s Bits and Pieces)
Chocolate Cherry Cake (Cook with Sara)
Swirled Peanut Butter Bars (Musings of a Housewife)
Orzo with Spinach and Tomato (Hope Does Not Disappoint)
Oatmeal Muffins (PhotoGrove)

Also linking this up with Your Life, Your Blog at Sarah in Real Life. Go, add a link, free publicity and get to see some other great blog posts from the past week!

16 thoughts on “Family Recipe Fridays: Cabbage Rolls a la Donna

  1. Be PROUD OF IT! He did mean it as a compliment. By the way, I'm happy to have this recipe for myself, although I think my mister and miss will not eat it either. Must be something in the name.

  2. Here's mine! I posted it earlier this week, but I've added a line linking to your post. 🙂

  3. Ooh..I'm having a real 'moment' with cabbage right now – can't get enough. This looks like a great recipe. Thanks for the inspiration!

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