In these Pork & Squash Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, tender cabbage stuffed with flavorful pork, Parmesan cheese, and roasted spaghetti squash gives classic cabbage rolls a makeover. This hearty dish is so fabulous, and it’s a lighter alternative to carb-heavy, cheesy dishes.

stuffed pork rolls with cabbage

Who doesn’t love cabbage rolls? They’re meaty, slow-cooked goodness. And a pan can feed a crowd. But I get tired of the same-old-same old cabbage rolls and decided to switch things up.

Pork & Squash Cabbage Rolls

These Pork & Squash Cabbage Rolls are meaty, saucy, and a wee bit of cheese on the top adds richness. The jammy tomato sauce is good enough to gobble up with a spoon, and you can prep this cabbage roll recipe ahead of time, so all you have to do is pop it in the oven and bake.

cheesy stuffed cabbage rolls

Why I love this recipe

  • It’s deliciously different!
  • It’s low-carb for those days when I want something a bit lighter.
  • You can prep much of this recipe the day before.

a Pork & Squash Cabbage Roll

Gather these ingredients 

    • Spaghetti squash – Halved lengthwise and seeded.
    • Olive oil
    • Salt and pepper
    • Cabbage leaves – See below for the best cabbage to make cabbage rolls.
    • Ground pork
    • Dried sage
    • Dried fennel seeds – Chopped or coarsely ground.
    • Onions – Yellow onions; diced.
    • Garlic – Fresh cloves; minced.
    • White wine – Use a dry white wine that’s drinkable.
    • Parmesan cheese – Crumbled.
    • Provolone Cheese – About 6 slices.
    • Chicken broth 
    • Tomato paste 
    • Fish sauce
    • Crushed tomatoes – One large 28-ounce can.

how to make cabbage rolls

What kind of cabbage makes the best cabbage rolls?

Ultimately, you want large cabbage leaves. You can use regular green cabbage that’s found in every grocery store, or if you want to get a little bit gourmet, use savoy or napa cabbage.

cabbage rolls sauce

How to make the best Pork & Squash Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

    1. Preheat your oven to 400-F.
    2. Drizzle the cut and seeded spaghetti squash with olive oil and sprinkle it with salt. Roast the squash until tender and golden.
    3. Cool the squash, then scrap it from the shell into a bowl and fluff it with a fork. 
    4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and blanch the cabbage leaves, working in batches. Drain.
    5. Cut the stem out of the thickest part of the bottom of the leaves by cutting an inverted V-shape about 1-2 inches from the bottom. Repeat with each leaf.
    6. Heat olive oil in a large oven-safe skillet or Dutch oven and brown the ground pork. Season it with dried sage, fennel seeds, salt and pepper. Transfer the pork to a large mixing bowl, leaving behind any fat in the pan.
    7. Saute the onion and garlic in a bit more oil and stir to coat. Add the white wine to deglaze the bottom, and simmer until the onion is translucent.
    8. Transfer half the onion mixture to the bowl with the pork.
    9. Add the tomato paste to the skillet with the remaining onion and cook for 2 minutes. Add the fish sauce, crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, and salt. Simmer until thickened and adjust the seasoning.
    10. Meanwhile, stuff the cabbage. Combine the pork and onions with the spaghetti squash and Parmesan cheese. 
    11. Add ¼ cup of filling to the center of a cabbage leaf and roll it up burrito-style, tucking in the edges. 
    12. Transfer the rolls to the skillet with the tomato sauce and top with provolone cheese slices. Turn the heat up and cover to melt the cheese, then remove the lid and simmer until heated through.
    13. Broil the stuffed cabbage leaves until the cheese is bubbly and brown. 
  • Serve and enjoy!

Pork & Squash Cabbage Rolls before the cheese

Tips & substitutions

  • Large cabbage leaves work best. Use one large head or buy 2 smaller ones if there are no big ones. If you have small leaves, you can use 2 smaller leaves to make a roll but you’ll have to line the leaves up side-by-side with them overlapping a bit in the middle.
  • You can prep the cabbage and the spaghetti squash up to a day in advance.
  • No tomato paste? Use ketchup instead.
  • You can swap fish sauce for soy sauce, or to keep this recipe gluten-free, you can omit both. 
  • You’ll probably have some leftover cabbage. Use it to make a crunchy slaw or add it to a hearty soup.

serving of stuffed cabbage

Serving suggestions

This stuffed cabbage recipe truly is a 1-dish meal, but sometimes I serve it with a side of brown rice or mashed potatoes. The cabbage roll sauce is so good you could also spoon it over pasta. 

squash and pork rolled with sauce

Storage

Store any leftover cabbage rolls in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Cabbage rolls also freeze nicely. Package them with the sauce in containers and freeze for up to a month.

Squash Cabbage Rolls with pork

Check out these awesome cabbage recipes while you’re here

a Pork & Squash Cabbage Roll
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Pork & Squash Cabbage Rolls

In these Pork & Squash Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, tender cabbage stuffed with flavorful pork, Parmesan cheese, and roasted spaghetti squash. Serves 4-6.
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
bake spaghetti squash: 1 hr
Total Time: 1 hr 30 mins
Yield: 6

Ingredients
 

  • 1 small spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise, seeded
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • Salt to season
  • 18-20 savory cabbage leaves, (savory, green, napa)

Filling

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp dried sage
  • 1 ½ tsp fennel seeds, chopped or coarsely ground
  • 1 tsp fresh black pepper, plus more to season
  • 2 yellow onions, diced, divided in half
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced, divided in half
  • ½ c white wine
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt to season
  • 1 c crumbled Parmesan
  • 6 oz provolone cheese slices, about 6 slices--substitute dry mozzarella

Tomato Sauce

  • 1 c chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp ketchup or tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce, substitute soy sauce or omit
  • 28 oz crushed tomatoes
  • Salt to taste

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 400.

Roast the squash:

  • Drizzle spaghetti squash in 1 Tbsp of olive oil and season with salt. Roast squash for 45-60 min or until tender and golden. Let cool, then scrape into bowl and shred with a fork. Season with additional salt and pepper.

Prepare the cabbage leaves:

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Blanch 1/3 of the leaves into the boiling water for 2-3 minutes, or until translucent (this cook time may vary for other cabbage varieties). Set the leaves on a clean towel to absorb excess water—8 minutes. Repeat for remaining cabbage.
  • Cut out the bottom, thickest part of the stem in an inverted “V” shape, 1-2’’ up from the bottom of the leaf (depending on size of the leaf). Repeat for all leaves.

Make the pork mixture:

  • Heat a large, oven safe skillet or an enameled braising dish over medium-high heat, then add 1 Tbsp olive oil and the pork. Break the pork into small pieces, season with salt, dried sage, fennel seeds, and pepper. Let sit undisturbed until browned, 2-3 minutes. Stir the pork and cook through. Remove from the pan, leaving behind any fat, and add 2 Tbsp olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onion, garlic, and salt. Stir to coat, then add the white wine to deglaze the bottom. Cook 15 minutes until translucent.
  • Remove half of the onion and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Make the red sauce:

  • Add the ketchup to the onions and sauté 2 minutes. Add the fish sauce, crushed tomatoes, chicken stock, and a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring semi-frequently, until thickened—22-25 minutes. Taste for salt.
  • While the tomato sauce reduces, make the filling and stuff the cabbage: Add the pork, 2 heaping cups of spaghetti squash, and Parmesan to the onions and garlic. Mix to combine, and taste for salt and pepper.

Roll the cabbage leaves:

  • For large leaves, add 1/4 c of filling to the center of the leaf, just above the tip of the inverted “V”. Roll the leaf like a burrito, tucking in the edges as you roll forward. For smaller leaves, use 2-3 Tbsp of filling. Repeat until all leaves are stuffed.
  • Transfer the rolls to the tomato sauce and top with cheese slices. Increase heat to medium-low and cover. Let sit 5 minutes to melt the cheese, then remove lid and reduce 10-15 minutes more.
  • Preheat broiler to high and broil the rolls until the cheese browns and bubbles.
  • Serve warm and enjoy!

Notes

  • Large cabbage leaves work best. Use one large head or buy 2 smaller ones if there are no big ones. If you have small leaves, you can use 2 smaller leaves to make a roll but you’ll have to line the leaves up side-by-side with them overlapping a bit in the middle.
  • You can prep the cabbage and the spaghetti squash up to a day in advance.
  • No tomato paste? Use ketchup instead.
  • You can swap fish sauce for soy sauce, or to keep this recipe gluten-free, you can omit both. 
  • You’ll probably have some leftover cabbage. Use it to make a crunchy slaw or add it to a hearty soup.
Cuisine: American
Course: Main Course
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Pork & Squash Cabbage Rolls