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Cabbage Rolls – Reuben Style


Cabbage Rolls – Reuben Style

Saint Patrick’s Day is coming up and all you regular readers know how I feel about my holidays. I’m a sucker for them through and through – I just love ’em. No, I am not Irish and no, I am not Catholic but I can’t resist dressing up cute and eating good food. Plus I love the color green, so this means I need to go shopping and buy a new outfit with some green to celebrate the holiday properly. Don’t you love my girl logic? Totally makes sense to me 😉

We had a fun discussion on the Primally Inspired facebook page about what you all eat for Saint Patrick’s Day. I learned a lot of new things in this discussion:

#1: I completely suck and definitely do NOT know my St. Patrick’s Day history.

#2: It is NOT St. Patty’s Day, it’s St. Paddy’s Day. Apparently most of America and myself had it wrong all this time.

#3: Corned beef and cabbage is NOT what they traditionally eat in Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day. This is an American and Canadian tradition of the holiday. In Ireland, they eat pork.

#4: Corned beef and cabbage became popular to eat on St. Patrick’s Day in America/Canada because Irish immigrants in New York used low cost corned beef instead of pork in their celebratory dishes.

#5: 95% of us (from my unofficial facebook poll) that celebrate St. Patrick’s Day eat corned beef and cabbage.


So you all got me thinking of corned beef. And when I think of corned beef, my mind automatically goes to Reuben sandwiches. I adore Reubens and whenever I used to eat sandwiches out, I would most likely order a Reuben. I don’t eat grains so I haven’t had a Reuben sandwich in many years. To be honest, I kind of forgot all about them.


So when I was trying to decide what I wanted to make for St. Patrick’s Day this year, I couldn’t get my old fav, the Reuben, out of my head. I had to have a Reuben or my mind wouldn’t rest.


But there was a slight problem. Like I said before, I don’t eat grains so a typical Reuben sandwich is not going to happen. I put my thinking cap on and came up with these cabbage rolls – Reuben style.


We were pleasantly surprised at how much we loved these, as we are not the biggest cabbage fans. They were absolutely delicious and tasted just like the Reuben sandwiches I so fondly remember.


In fact, when they were cooking in the oven, I told Zach that if they turn out well and we love them (can’t just like ’em, we have to love ’em), we have to save a serving so I could take a picture of them for this website.


And, um…..that didn’t happen. We ate every last bite and even licked the plate clean. I remember Zach saying as we looked over at the 2 last rolls that we were supposed to save for the picture, “how bout you make this again tomorrow.” So that’s what I did. Although that time, I made sure to take the pics before we ate! Needless to say, we love ’em! 


To celebrate the holiday, I’ll be serving up these rolls along with my loaded mashed parsnips and of course eating it all in style with my new green outfit 😉


This thousand island dressing for the reuben's is delicious for a salad, too!
This thousand island dressing for the reuben’s is delicious for a salad, too!

Cabbage Rolls – Reuben Style

Makes 6 rolls – 2 or 3 servings


1 head of cabbage

½ lb cooked corned beef, sliced (about 2 cups)

¾ cup sauerkraut

2 slices Swiss cheese (optional), cut into thirds


Thousand Island Dressing*:

½ cup mayonnaise

2 T ketchup

1 T fresh lemon juice

1 T onion, finely chopped

½ dill pickle, chopped (3 T)

salt and pepper, to taste


Preheat oven to 400.

Remove the core from your cabbage.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. You want to fill the pot with enough water so that at least half of the cabbage is submerged. Place the whole cabbage head in the water. After about a minute, the outer leaf will begin to peel back from the cabbage head. Using tongs, peel that layer away from the head and keep it in the boiling water for 3 minutes. After the leaf has boiled for 3 minutes, take it out of the pot and place it in a colander to dry. The outer leaves on the cabbage will continue peeling away from the cabbage. Keep using your tongs to peel the outer leaves off the head and leave them submerged in the boiling water for 3 minutes. The goal is to boil each leaf for 3 minutes. You need 6 leaves total for the recipe.

This is the best way I know how to boil my cabbage leaves. If you have a better way, feel free to use your way.

Once your 6 leaves are all boiled, soft, and pliable, cut each tough stem about 2 inches from the bottom in a V shape (see pic below).

You may either chop up the remaining cabbage to put in the bottom of your 13×9 pan or put it away for another day. If you chop it up and use it for this dish, add some salt and pepper to taste. I also like to add a splash of Worchershire sauce to it.

Make the thousand island dressing by combining all the ingredients into a small bowl.

Now we’ll stuff our rolls. Put about 1/3 cup of the corned beef at the top of the roll (the opposite side of the V-shape). Add about 1 T of dressing. Next top with about 2 T of sauerkraut. Then add the cheese slice if you are using cheese. Starting at the top, roll up the leave once. Fold the edges in and continue rolling. Place the stuffed roll into the 13×9 pan (on top of the sliced cabbage if you put the leftover cabbage in the pan). Stuff and roll the remaining leaves.

Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes. Use the leftover dressing as a dipping sauce for the cabbage rolls and/or place a dollop on top of each roll and the leftover cabbage in the bottom of the pan.


*If you are doubling this recipe, there is no need to double the dressing recipe. You will have enough. If you are making the recipe as is, you most likely will have some leftover. Keep it in the fridge and use it on salads – it’s really yummy!

Cut the roughest part of stem out of the cabbage leaf about 2 inches from the bottom. This is what it should look like. Put your filling at the top. Roll once. Fold in both outer edges and then continue to roll up until they are in a nice, neat roll.
Cut the roughest part of stem out of the cabbage leaf about 2 inches from the bottom. This is what it should look like. Put your filling at the top. Roll once. Fold in both outer edges and then continue to roll up until they are in a nice, neat roll.


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  1. Avatar

    I haven’t had a Reuben in years! I can’t wait to try these out!

  2. Avatar

    Those look amazing!! Going to definitely have to try them out!

  3. Avatar

    We love stuffed cabbage rolls(Polish style) and corned beef
    so I’m looking forward to making this awesome looking dish!

  4. Avatar

    This looks very yummy will have to try it…

  5. Avatar

    Alright Kelly… now you’re treading on thin ice! This is my all-time favorite sandwich you’re messing with here. Everyone knows it’s the rye bread that makes the reuben what it is though.

    I am going to make this over the weekend and I am absolutely certain this will closely resemble the real deal, but something will still be missing, no?

    I have a plan though!


    You ROCK! Keep coming with the good ideas!
    -The Mayor

  6. Avatar

    You are a genius. These look amazing.

  7. Avatar

    Such a great idea!!! Can’t wait to try these, either.

  8. Avatar

    I have brisket in the freezer, perhaps I will try corning it myself. Not sure I’ll get around to this by the 17th, but hey… This recipe looks excellent! Thanks, I am drooling already.

  9. Avatar

    these sound delish! I can hardly wait for the loaded parsnips. I have a couple parsnips in the fridge, waiting…

  10. Avatar

    Umm, these are heavenly! I made them for dinner the other night. My 5 year old daughter went back for seconds, and my husband said they were amazing. I have been dreaming about eating them again! Thanks for the great recipe!

  11. Avatar

    These were AMAZING!!!! I have had this recipe bookmarked for weeks and holding off until St Paddy’s Day. It was worth the wait and my family enjoyed them too, thank you so much

  12. Avatar

    You are a Genius! I cannot wait to make this recipe. Corned Beef and Cabbage is my favorite meal. I also love Reubens!

  13. Avatar

    I just made these and can’t wait to try them! Do you think I can freeze some of them?

    • Primally Inspired

      Hi Cassidu! Cabbage is one of those foods that is tough to freeze because it has such a high water content. It may not retain it’s original texture if you freeze it. I haven’t tried to freeze it, though, so it may do just fine. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help. I hope you like them!!

  14. Avatar

    I made these tonight and have to say… they’re a little TOO good! Seriously these things are dangerous!

  15. Avatar

    We haven’t done the wraps yet, but your thousand island dressing was super yummy!

  16. Avatar

    I love cabbage rolls (or as we call them-Sarmas) so I am anxious to try these. However we find that by freezing the head of cabbage for about a week (remove the core) it is much easier to handle the leaves. Unless you are fortunate enough to find a soured head of cabbage!

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