Turkish Cabbage Rolls Recipe [Video]

Catalina Castravet
By Catalina Castravet
5 from 5 reviews

Lamb Main Dishes Recipes

Cook time Cook time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Turkish Cabbage Rolls are made with spiced lamb, crunchy pine nuts, a medley of Turkish spices and herbs, then all baked in an aromatic Turkish tomato sauce. This is a super healthy dish that tastes simply amazing!

If you’ve never had lamb before, these rolls are a fantastic introduction! This versatile meat is also amazing in this Easy Shepherd’s Pie, Garlic Lamb Chops in the Oven, and Lamb Stew.

 Homemade Turkish Cabbage Rolls Recipe

Turkish Cabbage Rolls is similar in structure to our popular Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, but this version is filled with a spiced lamb, apricot, and pine nuts.

Also, the Turkish tomato sauce is mouthwateringly fragrant with cinnamon, cumin, and allspice. Topping it all off is a refreshing mint yogurt sauce.

This dish also reheats beautifully, so you can make it ahead and heat up to enjoy anytime. In addition, feel free to make it in advance and store it for later. It will taste even better the following day as the flavors will sit together. 

Are cabbage rolls healthy?

Yes, both the classic version and this one are super healthy recipes! This Turkish meal has protein-loaded lamb, which also a great source of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.

You also have the cabbage which has tons of fiber and vitamins. The other ingredients are nutritious too, such as the pine nuts with protein and healthy fat.

How do you soften cabbage for cabbage rolls?

  • Freeze: First, stash the whole head in the freezer overnight, then thaw. They’re soft enough to roll!
  • Peel and blanch: Next, peel off the leaves, and submerge in boiling water for a minute or two until tender.
  • Microwave: Place the entire head in a bowl. Add water, about a cup. Cover tightly, then microwave for 10 mins.
  • Blanch the whole head: Boil salted water, then submerge the whole vegetable for about 10 to 12 mins until tender. Cool before using.

How long do you blanch cabbage for cabbage rolls?

Blanching the entire head takes longer, about 10 to 12 minutes depending on how big the vegetable is. Blanching just the leaves only takes a couple of minutes, so make sure you keep an eye on it to avoid soggy leaves.

How to make Turkish Cabbage rolls?

  • Soak the bulgur wheat. Soften in cool water for about 20 mins.
  • Prepare your cabbage. Then, blanch, freeze, or microwave. Cool the leaves while you’re getting the rest of the ingredients ready.
  • Make the sauce. Next, sauté the aromatics, then add tomatoes along with the broth, spices, and sugar. Simmer for a couple of minutes. Pour half onto the dish and spread evenly on the bottom.
  •  Mix the lamb filling. Mix the bulgur wheat with the lamb, sauce, pine nuts, and the rest of the filling components.
  • Assemble. Flatten a leaf, stuff with the lamb mixture (about 1/3 cup), then roll. Place in the dish. Repeat until the dish is filled, then cover with the rest of the Turkish tomato sauce.
  • Bake. Use foil to tightly cover the dish. Bake at 350F for around an hour.
  • Serve. Garnish with fresh herbs like mint or dill, some toasted pine nuts, and a bowl of Greek yogurt on the side. Enjoy hot!

Cabbage rolls recipe variations:

  • Use different meats: Try this with ground turkey, beef, pork, or chicken.
  • Vegetarian. Sub the meat with crumbled tempeh or tofu, and use veggie stock.
  • Low-carb: Skip the bulgur wheat, and sub with riced cauliflower for a keto-friendly version.
  • Use other grains: Sub the bulgur with quinoa, farro, or rice.

What to serve with Turkish Cabbage rolls?

Serve with some crusty Beer Bread or fluffy 30-Minute Dinner Rolls to soak up that awesome Turkish tomato sauce! We also love it with some Tzatziki sauce on top.

For a heartier meal, enjoy it with Irish Colcannon, Garlic Roasted Potatoes, or Chickpea Salad

Can you make cabbage rolls in the slow cooker?

Yes. Assemble as directed, but arrange directly in the pot instead of a baking dish.

Set crockpot for 4 hrs. (high) or 8 hrs. (low). Read more details about this method in my recipe for Slow Cooker Stuffed Cabbage Rolls!

How to store leftovers?

First, cool the leftovers in the baking dish, or transfer to a tightly-sealed container before storing up to 3 days in the fridge.

You can also freeze the leftovers individually for about an hour or two. Once frozen, place in freezer bags or containers. To reheat, thaw then heat in a skillet with the sauce. You can also microwave until hot.

More cabbage recipes to try:

Recipe tips:

  • Roll those leaves tightly, like burritos. Tuck the seams and ends properly so the filling doesn’t spill.
  • Also, feel free to add the juice of the crushed tomatoes to the Turkish tomato sauce to loosen it up.
  • Toast the pine nuts before adding them to the dish. That smoky flavor is so delicious!
  • If you want to swap up the meat, use beef or pork instead.
Save Recipe
5 from 5 reviews

Turkish Cabbage Rolls

Turkish Cabbage Rolls are made with spiced lamb, crunchy pine nuts, a medley of Turkish spices and herbs, then all baked in an aromatic Turkish tomato sauce.

Author: Catalina Castravet Serves: 6 servings
Prep time: 1 hour Cook time: 1 hour 15 minutes Total time: 2 hrs 15 mins


Turkish Tomato Sauce:

Lamb Filling:

Mint Yogurt Sauce:



Mint Yogurt Sauce:

Blanch Cabbage:

Make the Turkish Tomato Sauce:

Make the filling:

Nutrition information

Carbohydrates: 43 Protein: 31 Fat: 37 Saturated Fat: 13 Trans Fat: 1 Cholesterol: 84 Sodium: 1452 Potassium: 1176 Fiber: 12 Sugar: 15 Vitamin A: 839 Vitamin C: 71 Calcium: 196 Iron: 6 Calories: 512
Save Recipe
Made This Recipe?

Show me what you made on Instagram or Facebook and tag me at @sweetnsavorymeals or hashtag it at #sweetnsavorymeals.


Lamb Main Dishes Recipes

Get free recipes to your inbox!


Leave a reply

Amber Myers

I don't think I've ever had these kind of cabbage rolls. I'm pretty sure I'd like them!



Oh my, this looks really flavorful. I know my family is going to love this.



Yum! This sounds amazing! I have recently become obsessed with everything lamb too!


Nikki Wayne

This doesn't even crossed my mind. I can imagine how it tastes liked and it seems really delicious.


Rose Ann Sales

Brilliant idea! Cabbage tastes so great with that kind of sauce and meat.



Cabbage is one of my favorites. I can't wait to give this a try. Looks so good!


Kita Bryant

I love that every aspect of this dish is made with fresh ingredients. Gosh, that flavor was off the charts! PERFECTION!


Monica Y

This recipe looks delicious, my family is trying to try new foods this year, so I will be making this for them soon



I haven't cooked much with cabbage, and these sound delicious. I am not too familiar with cabbage, but I think I could make this recipe.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.