Jewish Stuffed Cabbage (Holishkes)

Stuffed Cabbage
Martin Jacobs / Getty Images
Prep: 45 mins
Cook: 2 hrs
Total: 2 hrs 45 mins
Servings: 10 servings
Yield: 20 cabbage rolls
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
445 Calories
17g Fat
45g Carbs
31g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10
Amount per serving
Calories 445
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 17g 22%
Saturated Fat 6g 32%
Cholesterol 118mg 39%
Sodium 817mg 36%
Total Carbohydrate 45g 16%
Dietary Fiber 7g 25%
Total Sugars 31g
Protein 31g
Vitamin C 92mg 462%
Calcium 154mg 12%
Iron 4mg 22%
Potassium 1286mg 27%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jewish stuffed cabbage recipe, or holishkes, is a traditional dish for Sukkot, the harvest festival in autumn, because when two holishkes are put together side by side, they form the shape of the Torah (two scrolls).

And, since Sukkot is followed a week later by Simchas Torah, holishkes are often served then, also. But, in general, they are enjoyed year-round by Jewish communities in Europe, the United States, and the Middle East.

This recipe has a sweet-sour sauce with raisins and is adapted from "The Hadassah Jewish Holiday Cookbook" edited by Joan Schwartz Michel (Hugh Lauter Levin Associates Inc., 2002). If you like this, you might want to try other stuffed cabbage recipes.

Ingredients

Cabbage:

Sauce:

  • 2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped

  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and coarsely grated

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

  • 1 teaspoon citric acid, or sour salt

  • 1 cup dark raisins

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Filling:

  • 2 pounds ground chuck beef

  • 1 large onion, grated

  • 2 large eggs

  • 2 tablespoons uncooked rice, omit if making this for Passover

  • 1 tablespoon matzoh meal

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Steps to Make It

Note: While there are multiple steps to this recipe, this cabbage dish is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.

Prepare the Cabbage

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Remove core from cabbage. Place whole head in a large pot filled with boiling, salted water. Cover and cook 3 minutes, or until softened enough to pull off individual leaves. You will need about 20 leaves.

  3. When leaves are cool enough to handle, use a paring knife to cut away the thick center stem from each leaf, without cutting all the way through.

Make the Sauce

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Place tomatoes and their juices in a medium-large saucepan. Crush tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook 15 minutes or until slightly thickened.

  3. Stir in onion, apple, lemon juice, white and brown sugars, sour salt, raisins, kosher salt and pepper, and return to a boil.

  4. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes longer. Add more sugar or more lemon juice for the sweet-sour taste you prefer. Set sauce aside.

Make the Filling

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a large bowl, mix ground beef, grated onion, eggs, rice, if using, matzoh meal, 2 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, mixing thoroughly. Don't overmix or the meat will become tough.

Assemble the Rolls and Cook

  1. Place about 1/2 cup of meat on each cabbage leaf. Roll away from you to encase the meat. Flip the right side of the leaf to the middle, then flip the left side. You will have something that looks like an envelope. Once again, roll away from you to create a neat little package.

  2. Spoon a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a large casserole dish or Dutch oven. Chop any remaining cabbage leaves and place over the sauce.

  3. Arrange cabbage rolls, seam-side down, on top of the chopped cabbage leaves in as many layers as necessary. Pour remaining sauce over stuffed cabbage.

  4. Bring to a boil on the stovetop, reduce heat to low, cover and cook 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until filling is cooked and cabbage is tender.