I always wondered if cabbage rolls made with red cabbage would turn out and now I can report on my experiment. I already knew from eating lots of cabbage salads that red cabbage is a little tougher than the green one. That turned out to be true even when the leaves are softened for cabbage rolls. I boiled the whole head of red cabbage for ten minutes, just like I do the green one for my cabbage rolls. The leaves didn’t seem soft enough so I put them back in for another few minutes and they seemed a little softer. I then proceeded as usual, cutting off the thick spine to make them easy to roll.
The main difference occured when rolling. I made both green and red ones so I could really compare and the green leaves rolled up beautifully and didn’t tear or break. But some of the red ones tended to break and crack so I had to patch the crack and then roll up my golabki. So the red leaves were a little harder to work with but I must say they do look good.
And the taste? Wonderful, just like the green ones. So my summary is… if you are making cabbage rolls for the first time, stick with the green cabbage. The soft leaves will be easier to roll and you will be confident in making them again. If you make them in red, just be prepared for a little extra work if they tear but that can happen with green leaves too. When it happens, you remove the filling, lay an extra piece of a cabbage leaf over the tear, fully covering and overlapping the tear, then add your filling and roll it up.
Cabbage rolls made with red cabbage make a beautiful presentation and once they are cooked, the red rolls are just as tender as the green ones. So there is my report. I will definitely make red cabbage rolls again if only for the reaction I’m sure to get when I put them on the table.
My Polish cabbage rolls recipe has been very popular and I’m thrilled with the number of people who have made and love them. Over 1/4 million people (update February 2021 – over 15 million!) If you haven’t made stuffed cabbage yet, click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones