Stuffed Cabbage Leaves {in Egg-Lemon Sauce}

Or lahanodolmades as we call them in Greek!

This is a delicious dish, albeit slightly time-consuming. Certainly not your after-work dinner. But definitely your weekend lunch!

The cabbage leaves are stuffed with ground meat and rice and served in avgolemono, an egg-lemon sauce used in several different dishes in Greece, including many soups.

The first part of the preparation is boiling the cabbage and separating the leaves.

Remove any dirty or destroyed outer leaves from the cabbage and turn it upside down. The goal is to remove a pyramid-like piece from the bottom. Insert a big knife on the bottom as shown in the photo. You’ll need to do this more than once, until you manage to remove the hard part.

In a large pot put water to boil. Once it’s warm put the cabbage in, on its side.

With a large fork rotate the cabbage occasionally. Every time that a leaf is soft enough it will be easy to remove it. Place it on a plate and continue rotating until all the leaves are removed.

Cut the hard part of each leaf that is at its bottom. Otherwise it will be tough to roll.

In the meantime prepare the stuffing. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and store in the fridge.

When you are ready to stuff the cabbage, place a leaf on a plate and cut in two if it’s too big. Place a small amount of stuffing on one side and start rolling carefully, folding the left and right side inside after the first turn, in order to seal the sides.

Take the pot you will use for cooking (I just empty the water I boiled the cabbage in and use the same pot) and cover the bottom with parts of the cabbage you could not stuff. Such as the tiny inner leaves and the hard parts you removed.

Place the rolls inside the pot, as close to each other as possible.

Fill the pot with water to cover the stuffed leaves and pour also some olive oil. Sprinkle pepper and salt and cover with a plate.

This will protect the rolls from breaking or opening or jumping around while the water boils.

Cover with the lid (not completely closed though) and when the water boils, reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for about 40min.

Very carefully (I had to ask my husband for help), and keeping the plate in place to avoid dropping the stuffed rolls, transfer all the liquid from the pot into another smaller pot.

For the egg-lemon sauce (avgolemono) it is important that the lemon juice and the eggs are warmed to room temperature in advance. Separate the yolks from the whites of the eggs. Place the whites in the food processor and beat.

Add the yolks and the lemon juice and beat again.

Pour some of the liquid broth you removed from the pot in the processor and beat immediately. You don’t want the eggs to curdle!

Open and add a bit more of the broth. Close and beat again.

Pour the egg-lemon sauce back in the pot with the remaining broth and mix.

FUN FACT: My mother, and plenty of Greek women, when they pour the egg-lemon sauce in the broth they make kissing noises. Why? To prevent sauce curdling of course! It makes perfect sense right? Well, I DO IT. Always! 🙂

Pour the avgolemono back in the pot with the stuffed rolls and swirl.

Serve!

A very delicious, lemon-y dish, with the distinct flavors of the cabbage, the dill, the meat and the egg-lemon sauce!

Serve it with bread (the sauce is begging for it!) and feta cheese!

Note: You can thicken the egg-lemon sauce by adding some corn-flour. I avoid doing that because I think it changes the taste slightly. Also, my husband prefers in this case to have a more soup-like sauce that he can enjoy with the spoon.

Have a nice day!

Ingredients

1 cabbage

Olive oil

Salt and Pepper

Filling:

400g ground meat (beef/pork or beef alone)

100g rice (i.e. short grained, not parboiled)

1 large onion, chopped

Bunch of chopped fresh dill, or 2-3 pinches of dry dill

10g salt

Pepper

Egg-lemon sauce (avgolemono):

2 eggs, separated the yolks from the whites, room temperature

Juice of 2 lemons, room temperature

Quick Instructions

Remove any dirty or destroyed outer leaves from the cabbage and turn it upside down. The goal is to remove a pyramid-like piece from the bottom, using a big knife. In a large pot put water to boil. Once it’s warm put the cabbage in, on its side. With a large fork rotate the cabbage occasionally. Every time that a leaf is soft enough it will be easy to remove it. Place it on a plate and continue rotating until all the leaves are removed. Cut the hard part of each leaf that is at its bottom. Otherwise it will be tough to roll.

Prepare the stuffing by mixing all the ingredients (meat, rice, onion, dill, salt and pepper) together in a bowl. Store in the fridge.

Place a leaf on a plate and cut in two if it’s too big. Place a small amount of stuffing on one side and start rolling carefully, folding the left and right side inside after the first turn, in order to seal the sides.

Take the pot you will use for cooking (I just empty the water I boiled the cabbage in and use the same pot) and cover the bottom with parts of the cabbage you could not stuff. Such as the tiny inner leaves and the hard parts you removed. Place the rolls inside the pot, as close to each other as possible. Fill the pot with water to cover the stuffed leaves and pour also some olive oil. Sprinkle pepper and salt and cover with a plate. Cover with the lid (not completely closed) and when the water boils, reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for about 40min.

Very carefully, and keeping the plate in place to avoid dropping the stuffed rolls, transfer all the liquid from the pot into another smaller pot.

For the egg-lemon sauce (avgolemono): Separate the yolks from the whites of the eggs. Place the whites in the food processor and beat. Add the yolks and the lemon juice and beat again. Pour some of the liquid broth you removed from the pot in the processor and beat immediately. You don’t want the eggs to curdle! Open and add a bit more of the broth. Close and beat again. Pour the egg-lemon sauce back in the pot with the remaining broth and mix.

Finally, pour the avgolemono back in the pot with the stuffed rolls and swirl.

18 thoughts on “Stuffed Cabbage Leaves {in Egg-Lemon Sauce}

  1. johnnysenough hepburn

    Delicious! And a coincidence, sort of. The post I’m working on is cabbage wrapped minced beef. Obviously great minds think alike! Love, love your sauce. And, really good step-by-step photos – much better than mine are going to be. The light here is too miserable :{

    Reply
  2. Pingback: Cabbage wrapped minced beef | Feed the piglet…

  3. Bam's Kitchen

    A beautiful light tasting dish. Perfect for a lunch. I have made stuffed cabbages before both Italian and also Korean style but this Greek lemon egg sauce sounds just beautiful. Light and delicious. Take Care, BAM

    Reply
  4. Ερμιόνη

    Ότι και να πούμε είναι πραγματικά λίγο για αυτό το υπέροχο ή μάλλον θεϊκό φαγάκι Βασιλική μου!
    Οι φωτογραφίες σου τα λένε όλα μάλλον!
    Φιλιά πολλά και καλή εβδομάδα!

    Reply
  5. ChgoJohn

    Stuffed cabbage is such a great dish but adding avgolemono sauce, as the Greeks do, makes it very special. I would love to try this and I’m with your husband. I’d like plenty of the avgolemono sauce. In fact, soup made with avgolemono sauce is a favorite dish to order whenever I’m in a Greek restaurant. It is just so very good. 🙂

    Reply
  6. Pingback: Beetroot and Yogurt Salad with Walnuts | For the Love of Feeding

  7. Sonal

    Villy, what a coincidence! I was planning on trying my mother-in-law’s stuffed cabbage recipe this weekend. I have never seen anyone make them and was feeling a little worried about all those steps. I am definitely going to use your post (and all those pictures) for some much-needed help. I think her recipe might be Polish but I will definitely try your Greek version sometime soon.

    Reply
  8. Lisa @ Greek Vegetarian

    Before becoming a vegetarian this used to be my favourite dish. I recently made lahanodolmades with a lentil filling topped with a tomato sauce and they were very nice indeed, but next time I must make them with avgolemono sauce. This really is how they should be done. Thank you for the inspiration!

    Reply
  9. Pingback: Greek Comfort Food: Lahanodolmades me Avgolemono | EUROKULTURE

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