Capolish Cabbage Rolls

Kapolnische Kohlrouladen or ‘Karo Kohl’

(Capolish cabbage rolls) This recipe was inspired by a recipe for vegan stuffed which was vaunted as a Polish recipe by an 

online cook. I adapted it to ingredients more widely available in South Africa, replacing maple syrup with jaggery, quinoa with wheat and so on. I also simplified it and tweaked it to include more onion and less grains, reduced the soy and increased the olive brine vinegar, which I saved from a batch of pickling olives two years ago. The pickling vinegar is aged and mellow and tastes of olives and its also salty so

 with soy it would have been mouth puckeringly over salted. I chose the recipe because my husband loves cabbage rolls. He normally stuffs them with mince, but I'm trying to increase the vegetable content of my diet and decrease fat as I have high cholesterol. I must get round to reducing salt too sometime. I liked the recipe because it was so simple, with so few ingredients. It seemed to be a classic. 

I'll see how this dish goes accompanied with a few spoons of homemade beet and carrot pickles and a mix of seared 

vegetables and herbs drizzled with olive oil, lemon juice and a very little soy sauce. The leaf vegetables include some leaves just picked in the garden, nettle (not too much its got quite a silage flavour), dune spinach (a native very like New Zealand spinach), wild Sage and a branch of rosemary. In the fridge drawer I found some old chinese radish, carrots and maize. I saved the few green leaves I could from some old parsley and threw the rest in the compost bucket. It's really awful to throw food away, so try to use them all up. In the west, 50% of food that leaves the farm gets thrown away. A great thing you can do is pickle old vegetables with a low salt kraut pickle. You preserve the food, you don't waste it and the pickles are so good for your gut. You can see my pickle recipes, and they work with most vegetables and vegetable mixes.

Preparation time: 15 minutes 
Cooking time: at least 60 minutes
Resting time: 0 minutes
Total time needed: at least 1 H 15 minutes
Grade of Difficulty: standard


Serves 4


  • Measuring spoons
  • Stick blender 
  • Pan or skillet
  • Wooden spoon
  • Knife and chopping board
  • Small pot for  the grains, larger pot for the cabbage
  •  blender
  • Baking pan with high sides

Capolish Cabbage Rolls

  • 1 head of white cabbage


  • brown lentils ½ cup 
  • pearled whole wheat 1/3 cup 
  • broth 1 cup 
  • water 1 cup 
  • onion 1 large diced 
  • vegetable oil 1 tablespoon
  • olive brine vinegar 2 tablespoons
  • soy sauce 1 tablespoon
  • paprika 1 teaspoon


  • Peeled Tomatoes 410g / 14.4 oz. tin  
  • 2 tbsp. Tomato paste 
  • Jaggery (unrefined sugar) 1 tablespoon
  • Olive brine vinegar 2 ½ tablespoons
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Capolish Cabbage Rolls


  • Boil the cabbage head whole for twenty minutes. 
  • Cook lentils and wheat together with water and broth. Should end up firm and dry, not slushy. 
  • Fry onions lightly in the oil until they are beginning to brown. Add the vinegar, soy sauce and paprika, and the cooked lentil and wheat to the pan, stir till all ingredients are warm and mixed together well, and then take off the stove and set aside.  


  • Blend the sauce with a stick blender and pour one centimeter into a baking pan with high edges.
  • Carefully peel cabbage leaves off the cabbage, make a v shaped cut to remove the thickest part of the stem, place a spoon of stuffing on the leaf, flap the sides in over the stuffing and roll up the cabbage from the thick end, wrapping the thin edges nicely round the roll and lift it into the baking pan without letting it disintegrate. 


  • This cabbage was already small, as the outer leaves had been used for the other roulade recipe. This time after I peeled off ten leaves and made ten rolls the rest was too small and tight to unwrap. Most recipes don’t explain what to do with the highly folded heart of the cabbage, and recommend setting it aside for ‘future use’ or ‘other purposes’. Cut the heart in half, and then from each half remove the very tightly curled soft middle, about two cm or one inch across. In any case it was off colour and funny tasting in my cabbage specimen. Around the hollow left by removing the 

heart, gently lift out a two leaf layer which comes in the form of a small cup of tightly curled cabbage leaves. You then have four cabbage cups. The way I then arranged them was to place the cups on top of the first layer of rolls in the baking dish. They were placed centrally and framed with cabbage rolls to keep them upright and in place. I then filled the cups with stuffing by gently spooning it in to keep it neat. I spooned the rest of the 

  • stuffing into gaps in between the cabbage and poured the remaining red sauce into all the nooks and crannies. You can use your creative license here I'm sure.


  • Bake the dish at 180 Celcius / 356 Fahrenheit for an hour. Serve Capolish cabbage rolls hot.

Mince Filled Cabbage Rolls (Kohlrouladen) German Style

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