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Cabbage Dolma
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5 from 4 votes


Assyrian cabbage rolls (dolma) stuffed with rice and herbs. Vegetarian recipe.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Assyrian, Middle Eastern
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 412kcal


  • 1 head cabbage large
  • 3 cups jasmine rice
  • 1 bunch Italian parsley chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro chopped
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 T salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 T allspice
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 T paprika
  • 1 tsp citric acid
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 T dill


  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • cups water
  • T sugar
  • 1 tsp citric acid
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 T vegetable oil


  • Carve the core out of the cabbage using a sharp knife, or a serrated grapefruit knife. Discard the core.
  • Add cabbage to a large stockpot, and cover with water. Boil until the leaves begin to soften and start pulling away from the cabbage.
  • As the leaves change color and become soft and pliable, use tongs to carefully pull away the outer leaves, and place on a platter. Avoid overcooking the leaves which will cause them to fall apart. Continue to strip the leaves away until you’re left with the smaller leaves in the center.
  • Remove the thick veins from the center of the larger leaves.
  • Use the thick sections of the leaves to line the bottom of an 8 qt. Dutch oven. This step is necessary so that the dolma does not stick to the bottom of the pot.
  • Cut the rest of the cabbage leaf into smaller portions, which will be used to roll the mix in.


  • Wash rice, then soak in water and set aside. Chop the parsley, and cilantro, and add to a large bowl. Mince onion and garlic, and add to the same bowl. Mix in all the filling spices. Strain the rice and add to the bowl, along with the tomato paste and oil. Mix thoroughly
    until combined.


  • Place approximately 1 tablespoon of filling in the center of each cabbage leaf and roll up to cover the filling.
  • There's no wrong or right way to do this, it just takes practice. Just don't make them too big.
  • Place the dolma in the leaf-lined Dutch oven, in straight rows until the bottom is covered.
  • When you are done with the first layer, sprinkle with a teaspoon of dill.
  • If you run out of cabbage leaves, you can use onions to use up the remaining filling.
  • Just peel a medium sized onion, cut the ends, and make a slit half-way through the onion. Boil for approximately 25 minutes. Strip the onion layers and stuff them with the remaining mixture.
  • Cover the pot, and cook over medium heat for approximately 15 minutes. The dolma will release some of its juices, and will partially steam cook. During this time, you can move on to making the sauce.


  • Mix the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan, until well blended. Bring sauce to a boil over medium heat. Turn off the heat and set aside until needed.
  • Pour the sauce over the dolma. Once the mixture is boiling, turn heat to the lowest setting, and simmer until the juices are absorbed, and the rice is tender. This can take anywhere from 1 to 1½ hours.
  • Although you're going to want to dig in, have patience little grasshopper! You must allow the dolma to cool for a little bit, or it will fall apart when you're dishing it out.


  • If you run out of cabbage leaves and still have filling remaining, you can use onions.
  • Just peel a medium-sized onion, cut the ends, and make a slit half-way through the onion. Boil for approximately 25 minutes. Strip the onion layers and stuff them with the remaining mixture.
  • Another option for lining the bottom of the pot is to use grape leaves instead of the cabbage leaf spines. Make sure you wash them before using them.
  • If you're like me and prefer dolma with meat, just replace one cup of rice with one pound of finely diced beef or lamb.


Calories: 412kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 1678mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 17g