Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Serves 4

| Prep Time: 10 mins

| Cook Time: 40 mins

| Total Time: 50 mins

You may need: Dried Garlic Powder

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Vegetables stuffed with meat or vegetable fillings, such as these Turkish Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, are very popular in Turkey as well as the Balkans, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East. Known as 'dolma' in Turkish, these stuffed dishes come in a wide variety of forms and can be served hot or cold. Stuffed leaves (grape or cabbage) are known as 'sarma' in Turkish. This recipe for Turkish stuffed cabbage rolls is vegan and stuffed with portobello mushroom, onions, and rice. We then top it with a delicious lemony-dill yogurt sauce, which makes them irresistible.

Seasoned with our Turkish-style Sweet Nigella spice blend, this dish is healthy yet satisfying. You can also make the stuffing with ground meat such as beef, lamb, or turkey. Our Sweet Nigella blend delivers layers of classic Turkish flavor: a subtle peppery note up front from the nigella seed and aleppo chilis, a lemony-tangy flavor from sumac, and a sweet, warming finish from cinnamon, cardamom, and star anise. This versatile spice blend is also perfect for Turkish meatballs ('Kofte'), sprinkling on a dressed salad, or roasted vegetables, or using a pinch on hummus. Use this blend to transport yourself to an Istanbul cafe in an instant!


  • Turkish Stuffed Cabbage Rolls:

  • 1 large green cabbage

  • 2 large portobello mushrooms, diced

  • 1 white onion, diced

  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided

  • Salt & pepper to taste (optional)

  • 2 tsp Piquant Post Sweet Nigella spice blend

  • 1/2 cup steamed rice (or use instant rice)

  • 1/2 lemon, juiced

  • Lemony Dill Yogurt Sauce:

  • 1/3 cup vegan or Greek-style plain yogurt

  • 1/2 lemon, juiced

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill (~2-3 sprigs)


Parboiling (or boiling vegetables briefly and lightly) is the key to getting the best result with the stuffed leaves. 2-3 minutes is just enough to soften the leaves but maintaining enough pliability and structure so they don't fall apart when stuffing.

Using instant rice in stuffed dishes saves time. If you have time, make a large pot of steamed, and save leftovers for other dishes.

You can peel the first couple layers off the cabbage head before slicing if you like. The best leaves for stuffing are the outer layers, but the next layer of interior leaves are tightly bound and usually require slicing the cabbage in half to trim the bottom stem to gently separate the leaves.

Optional ingredients add a little character and flavor but don't sweat it if you don't have them.


Cook the rice according to package instructions. Then, fill a large soup pot half full with water. Bring to a boil. Cut the cabbage in half from the top down. Carefully cut and remove the core with a knife. Gently remove the whole leaves and wash. Parboil the leaves in the water for ~2 mins until pliable. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop their cooking. Trim tough bottom stems.

Heat a heavy bottom pan on med-high and add 1 tbsp oil. Cook the onion for ~5 mins until golden. Stir in the diced mushrooms and garlic. Cook ~5 more mins. Stir in the Sweet Nigella spice, salt & pepper, and cooked rice.

Scrape the mushroom / rice filling onto a plate. Using 1 cabbage leaf at a time, place 1-2 tbsp filling onto a leaf and fold the sides over the filling (don't overfill). Roll the leaf up and set aside. Repeat until done. Using same pan, heat 1 tbsp oil on Med. Place rolls in pan, seam-side down. Pour lemon juice and 1 cup water over top and cover. Reduce heat to Low and simmer for 15 mins.

While rolls cook, combine the yogurt sauce ingredients in a small bowl and whisk. Serve rolls on a plate (hot or cold) and add a dollop of sauce to each roll.

Alternatives & Substitutions

  • Turkish Stuffed Cabbage rolls are quite often made with ground meat. If you're a meat lover, try making the stuffing with 1 lb ground beef, lamb, turkey or pork. Spice the ground meat with Sweet Nigella blend per this recipe (or more to taste).

  • Looking for another plant-based alternative? Try our Vegan Borek savory spinach pie. 

  • Meat lovers: try making our fabulous, authentic Turkish Kofte (meatballs) with Tzatziki sauce! These are perfect for dinner party appetizers or as a family meal. Double the recipe and freeze to save for a busy weeknight meal. Or, make Turkish Flatbread (Lahmacun) with spiced minced meat topping.

  • If you don't have time to make Turkish stuffed cabbage rolls, make a deconstructed version that delivers the same great taste in half the time. Simply boil the cabbage leaves a little longer ~5-8 mins until they are soft. Make the stuffing per this recipe and serve the ingredients in a bowl with a dollop of lemony-dill sauce on top.

    Use the Sweet Nigella blend include as a dry rub on grilled or baked lamb chops for lovely Turkish flavor.

  • Try this Roasted Butternut Squash and Lamb recipe for another fun alternative. Simply use Sweet Nigella blend instead of the spices called for in the recipe.

  • Make a beet and goat cheese salad. Sprinkle Sweet Nigella blend as the finishing spice.

  • Be sure to leave comments and feedback on your meals and experiments in the comments for others to read.

  • Post pictures of your masterpiece meal on social media and tag us. We repost!

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