Ground Beef & Quinoa Cabbage Rolls

Last week while at the grocery store, I decided to purchase a certain veggie on a whim.  It’s funny that whenever I hear the word cabbage, the same memory always seems to instantly pop in my mind.  I can see my mom in the late summer, feeling rather annoyed (and letting us know!) that the cute, furry rabbits have found a new afternoon snack.  Those baby cabbage heads sprouting in her garden are unfortunately no match for the hungry bunnies. Every year my mom seemed to give growing cabbage a whirl, but also every year the rabbits seemed to make an appearance, leaving behind tiny tooth marks as the only evidence of their meal.  I really don’t buy cabbage very much, and I am not totally sure why.  It is versatile, budget friendly, and pretty darn tasty when it’s prepared.  Cabbage can be pretty bland compared to my favorites like roasted asparagus and kale chips so I usually tend to pass it up in the produce aisle  I was feeling festive though with the Irish holiday coming and decided to buy a head of cabbage to use as a side dish to the corned beef entrée I was hoping to make.  Well, the week got away from me and before I knew it St. Patty’s Day was in the past and that cabbage was still staring at me with no corned beef purchase in sight.  Finally on Tuesday, days after the 17th, I decided enough was enough and I better get cooking so the cabbage head would stop staring at me from the fridge!

I know that my husband is a big fan of cabbage rolls, but to be honest I had no clue where to start.  I decided since the cabbage was cooked though, it was a meal I would probably enjoy as well.   All I knew about cabbage rolls was that they could be time consuming, tend to contain some sort of ground meat, and typically have a carbohydrate mixed in such as rice or mashed potatoes in the filling.  Sure, I could have just looked up a recipe, but to be honest I wanted to keep dinner short, simple and easy so I decided to give cabbage rolls a go on my own.  With that attitude, a fairly easy, and super delicious week night meal was born.  Warning, these are not a traditional cabbage roll recipe, rather a spin-off of the real deal.


Ground Beef & Quinoa Cabbage Rolls



1/2 medium onion, finely diced

DSCN1292 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

Olive oil

Organic Ground beef

2 cups beef broth (Feel free to substitute low-sodium if preferred)

1 cup quinoa



Can stewed tomatoes

1/4 teaspoon parsley

1/4 teaspoon basil



Set oven to 375 degrees.

Heat pan over medium heat.  Add drizzle of olive oil to the pan and add in onions.  Cook for 3-4 minutes until onions are translucent.  Add garlic and cook an additional 2-3 minutes.  Add in ground beef and heat until cooked through.


When beef is fully browned, turn the stove down to low, cover and simmer.

In a small saucepan, add in beef broth and quinoa.  Bring to a boil, and then simmer on low for 15 minutes. 


Add quinoa to pan with beef.

DSCN1299 Combine quinoa and beef, and set aside to cool.


In a pot, add in enough water to cover the head of cabbage.  Bring to a boil and add in cabbage (I cut the head in half).  Cook until cabbage leaves can be peeled apart from the core using a fork.  Place cabbage leaves aside to cool.

Take leaves and add in about a tablespoon of the mixture to each leaf.  Roll up leaf and place seam side down in a baking dish.





Bake for 15 minutes, then broil 1-2 minutes.  Sprinkle with salt & pepper.


Add in parsley, basil, tomatoes and the rest of the cabbage (I chopped up the leaves that weren’t large enough to roll) to the leftover meat and quinoa mixture. 




Serve on the side of your rolls as a sort of ‘deconstructed’ cabbage roll.





Have you ever had a cabbage roll?  Any favorite recipes, or suggestions for the best place to eat them?

Does anyone know what constitutes a traditional cabbage roll?

Are you a cabbage fan?  What is your favorite way to prepare it?

9 thoughts on “Ground Beef & Quinoa Cabbage Rolls

  1. I’ve never had one, but boy do you make it look intriguing! And haha I do the SAME thing with cabbage at the grocery store. The purple variety have caught my eye a few times (great salad addition, fyi 😉 ) But I don’t think I’ve ever purchase a regular one.

    I would probably make mine without the beef though, maybe ground turkey!

  2. I am a cabbage fan for sure. I like the colorful presentation on your plate from the deconstructed version. Awesome, I want to try them.

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