Vegetarian Cabbage Rolls made with Rallis Olive Oil

Family Classics: Vegetarian Cabbage Rolls Two Ways - Tomato Sauce vs. Avgolemono

As the cooler weather envelops us, my approach to meals takes a delightful turn. There's something about the crisp air that beckons the creation of heartier, more comforting dishes. One of our family's go-to cooler weather meals is the timeless Cabbage Rolls. There's a certain warmth in the kitchen when we embark on the journey of crafting these culinary delights.

Sundays, for me, hold a special place in the week—the day when I unwind from the week's hustle in my kitchen, turning it into a haven of culinary creativity. It's on these cherished Sundays that our kitchen table often transforms into a gathering spot for a few extra people who find their way to share in the feast.

I must admit, each time I delve into making cabbage rolls on a Sunday, the recipe takes on a life of its own. It's a beautiful dance of flavors that varies ever so slightly, depending on the mood of the day. Whether we opt for a robust tomato sauce that envelops the rolls in a rich embrace or decide to brighten things up with Theo's all-time favorite, Avgolemono, our cabbage rolls become a canvas for the diverse flavors that reflect our ever-changing cravings.

Join me as we explore the art of creating these comforting rolls, where each batch tells a unique story shaped by the changing seasons and the preferences of the moment. After all, in the Rallis kitchen, every Sunday meal is an opportunity to embrace the magic of the season and infuse a bit of our family's spirit into each bite.

For the Cabbage Rolls:


  • 1 head of cabbage (prefer savoy cabbage)
  • 1 cup long-grain rice
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup celery, finely chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 cup onions, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Rallis Olive Oil

Preparing the Cabbage Leaves


  1. Prepare the Cabbage Leaves: a. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. b. Carefully remove the outer leaves of the cabbage and blanch them in the boiling water for about 2-3 minutes or until they become pliable. Remove them and set aside to cool. c. Repeat this process until you have enough leaves for your rolls.
  2. Cook the Rice: a. In a medium saucepan, combine the long-grain rice and vegetable broth. b. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the rice is cooked and the liquid is absorbed. Set aside.
  3. Prepare the Filling: a. In a large skillet, heat some Rallis Olive Oil over medium heat. b. Add the finely chopped celery, carrots, and onions. Sauté for about 5-7 minutes, or until they become tender. c. Add the minced garlic, paprika, salt, and pepper. Cook for an additional 2 minutes. d. Mix the cooked rice into the vegetable mixture. Remove from heat.
  4. Assemble the Cabbage Rolls: a. Take a cabbage leaf and place a portion of the rice and vegetable mixture in the center. b. Fold the sides of the leaf in and roll it up, similar to a burrito. Place it seam side down in a large baking dish.

*IMPORTANT: Time to Choose Either Tomato Sauce Version or Avgolemono Version*

Option 1: Tomato Sauce


  • 2 cans (14 oz each) of crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Rallis Olive Oil


  • In a separate saucepan, heat Rallis Olive Oil over medium heat.
  • Add the finely chopped onion and sauté until it becomes translucent.
  • Stir in the minced garlic and paprika, cooking for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, vegetable broth, salt, and pepper.
  • Simmer for about 10-15 minutes, allowing the sauce to thicken
  • Pour the Red Sauce over the Cabbage Rolls ensuring they are well covered. 

Cook the Cabbage Rolls 


If you choose the tomato sauce, the cabbage rolls are cooked in the tomato sauce. If you choose the avgolemono sauce, it is added after the cabbage rolls are cooked.  

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. If you are using tomato sauce, ensure the cabbage rolls are well covered.
  3. Cover the baking dish with tin foil or glass lid and bake for 45-60 minutes, or until cabbage rolls are tender and the flavors meld together.
  4. If you are using the avgolemono sauce (recipe below), pour the cooked sauce over the cooked cabbage rolls and let sit for 20 minutes.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Option 2: Avgolemono Sauce


  • 2 large eggs
  • Juice of 2 fresh lemons
  • 1 cup vegetable or chicken broth (warm)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Prepare the Broth: Warm the vegetable or chicken broth in a separate saucepan. It's essential to have warm broth to prevent the eggs from curdling when combined.
  • Whisking the Eggs: In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs thoroughly until they become slightly frothy. This step is crucial for achieving the desired creamy consistency of Avgolemono.
  • Lemon Infusion: Gradually add the freshly squeezed lemon juice to the whisked eggs, continuing to whisk as you combine the ingredients. The lemon infusion should create a vibrant and citrusy base for the sauce.
  • Tempering the Eggs: To prevent the eggs from scrambling when introduced to the warm broth, perform a process known as tempering. Slowly ladle a small amount of the warm broth into the egg and lemon mixture while whisking continuously. This helps the eggs adjust to the temperature.
  • Incorporate the Broth: Once the egg and lemon mixture has been tempered, gradually pour it back into the warm broth on the stove, whisking constantly. This combines the two components seamlessly, creating a velvety and rich Avgolemono sauce.
  • Simmering to Perfection: Continue to cook the sauce over low to medium heat, stirring gently until it thickens to your desired consistency. Be cautious not to let it come to a boil, as this can affect the texture of the sauce.
  • Season to Taste: Add salt and pepper to taste, adjusting the seasoning according to your preferences. The sauce should balance the bright acidity of the lemon with a savory depth from the broth.
  • Serve Immediately: Once the Avgolemono sauce has reached its desired thickness and flavor, remove it from the heat. Pour it generously over your cabbage rolls or any other dish of your choice.

 As the cabbage roll aromas fill the kitchen, blending with the Sunday calm, I'm reminded of the simple joy in cooking up a feast. Whether wrapped in the heartiness of tomato sauce or lifted by the zesty Avgolemono, each bite tells a story—our story, ever-changing and always flavorful.

In the Rallis kitchen, Sundays are a bit of a culinary playground. These variations aren't just recipes; they're like small discoveries, creating a tasty map of our family's journey.

As you dive into making these Cabbage Rolls, whether on a Sunday or any laid-back day, let the flavors surprise you. Experiment, make it your own, and enjoy the process. Our wish is that these recipes add a dash of warmth and joy to your table, making mealtime a little more special.

So, grab a plate, maybe invite a friend or two, and relish in the delight of good food and good company. From our kitchen to yours, here's to simple pleasures and the joy of savoring every bite. Bon Appetit!



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