Asian-Style Cabbage Rolls with Almond Sauce

By: Cassy Joy
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Bursting with fresh, healthy flavor, these Paleo Asian-Style Cabbage Rolls with Savory Almond Sauce will quickly become a family favorite!

a white casserole dish filled with asian cabbage rolls and garnished with chopped cilantro

Holy moly, I'm excited to share these cabbage rolls with you today! This is another sneak-peek recipe from my ‘Fed & Fit' book and I've already received TONS of rave reviews from folks who've made this dish. Like I say in the book, don't be intimidated by the length of the ingredient list – these rolls are easier than they look!

If you're new to cabbage rolls, I'll outline the concept in a nutshell: you stuff cooked cabbage leaves with a ground meat mixture, roll them up, place in a baking dish, and then top with a sauce of your choice. After a spell in the oven, they're done! If you google “cabbage rolls,” you'll likely find an abundance of cabbage rolls with Italian flavors – often covered in red sauce.Instead of an Italian spin, THESE cabbage rolls are bursting Asian-inspired flavors. The ground pork is generously flavored with freshly sauteed garlic, shiitake mushrooms, carrots, and ginger. The meat mixture is fantastic on its own …and then the sauce takes it to an entirely new and amazing level. This savory almond sauce is a breeze to whip up (don't skip the step with the garlic at the beginning) and truly makes the dish.

a white casserole dish filled with asian cabbage rolls and garnished with chopped cilantro

Note: don't be intimidated by cooking and then rolling the cabbage leaves and please don't be discouraged if/when they break. They will likly tear, and that's okay! Just roll them to the best of your ability and wedge them in a casserole dish. Once they're cooked, you won't notice the breakage. If you find that you have leftover stuffing after your cabbage is used up, flatten them into patties and pan-fry some Asian-style burgers! Any leftover savory almond sauce is EXCELLENT over grilled chicken (just a suggestion).

I like to enjoy them next to cilantro lime cauliflower rice (recipe in my book) or next to polished white rice (if I'm looking for a dose of starch).  If you love stuffed things like as much as we do, you can find TONS of them on the blog (like these BBQ Ranch Meatloaf Stuffed Tomatoes and MORE!).

a white casserole dish filled with asian cabbage rolls and garnished with chopped cilantro and a white plate with two cabbage rolls on it sitting on a gray wooden table

Enjoy and remember to check out my book for 189 other healthy Paleo-friendly recipes!

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Asian-Style Cabbage Rolls with Savory Almond Sauce

a white casserole dish filled with asian cabbage rolls and garnished with chopped cilantro

These cabbage rolls are bursting with Asian-inspired flavors. The ground pork is generously flavored with freshly sauteed garlic, shiitake mushrooms, carrots, and ginger, then wrapped in cabbage and finished with a fantastic almond sauce that makes the dish!

  • Author: Cassy
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings 1x
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 large head Napa cabbage

For the filling:

  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 2 1/2 cups thinly sliced shiitake mushroom caps (about 8 ounces whole shiitakes)
  • 2 pounds ground pork
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves and stems, chopped
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon coconut aminos
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt

For the sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sesame oil (untoasted)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup coconut aminos
  • 1/2 cup smooth unsweetened almond butter
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

For garnish:

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of water (ideally, with a strainer insert) to a simmer. Submerge the head of cabbage into the water, stem-side down. Turn the heat to medium-low and let the cabbage poach for 10 minutes. Pull the cabbage from the water, let drain, and set aside until it’s cool enough to handle.
  2. While the cabbage is cooling, prepare the filling: Melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the ginger, garlic, and carrots and sauté for about 10 minutes, or until fragrant and the carrots are slightly wilted. Add the mushrooms and sauté for an additional 5 minutes, or until they’re reduced in size and slightly brown.
  3. Put the sautéed vegetables, along with the rest of filling ingredients, in a large mixing bowl. Using your hands, mix the ingredients together until they’re evenly incorporated.
  4. Cut the root end off the cabbage head. Working very carefully, because the leaves are delicate, gently separate the leaves from one another and lay them out on paper towel-lined plates.
  5. To fill the rolls, spoon about ¼ cup of the filling onto a cabbage leaf, over the stem, nearest the cut end. Carefully roll the cabbage towards the thinner uncut end, folding the sides over the center as you work. Place the stuffed roll seam side down in a 9 by 13-inch, or similar sized, baking dish. Repeat this process for the rest of the meat mixture and cabbage leaves. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  6. For the almond sauce, heat the sesame oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and stir for about 5 minutes, or until fragrant. Add the coconut aminos, almond butter, vinegar, fish sauce, and red pepper flakes. Whisk to combine and bring to a simmer. Note that the sauce will thicken after simmering for a few minutes – this is when it's done. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  7. Spoon about half of the almond sauce over the rolls.
  8. Place a sheet of aluminum foil over the baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until the almond sauce on top starts to darken.
  9. Plate with additional almond sauce spooned over the top and garnish with a sprinkle of chopped cilantro.

Notes

Approximate Calories & Macro Breakdown (based on 3 rolls with 2 extra tablespoon sauce per serving)

For the rolls: Calories: 333; Protein: 24 g; Fat: 21 g; Carbohydrates: 12 g

For the sauce: Calories: 159; Protein: 4 g; Fat: 11 g; Carbohydrates: 9 g

Comments

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  1. Penny says:

    These were delicious! New reader of your site, long time reader and maker of all things Paleomg. This was a HUGE batch and filled a 9×13 and another corning ware, and I still have about 1/5 of the cabbage left, which I am quite fine with. I used ground turkey instead of the pork, and good old Canadian Kraft peanut butter. DELISH! I look forward to exploring more of your site. Thanks again!

  2. jennyquack says:

    Holy crap! This might be the best thing I have EVER eaten! I have never used Napa cabbage, and this whole process has given me a million ideas: enchiladas and shrimp ‘egg rolls’ just to start with. The recipe made a LOT and it took me over an hour to get it to the putting in the oven point, but I will definitely make again. I bought your book and I can’t wait to try everything!

  3. Autumn says:

    Making this now while listening to your podcast, can’t wait to dig in!!

  4. Joanna says:

    SUCH a delicious recipe! I was short on time, so I actually ended up making this into a stir-fry instead by just shredded the cabbage and cooking it all in a big wok! The flavors were amazing – loved the sauce!

  5. Alexa Whalen says:

    Do you cook the pork before putting it in the roll? I have made regular cabbage rolls before and have always cooked the beef prior to mixing and rolling. Thanks!

  6. Phoebe says:

    This recipe looks so good Cassy! I can’t wait to try it out. My husband is always raving about the Italian stuffed cabbage (which I’ve never made), I’m going to skip the Italian version and make these instead! Yum!

    1. Cassy says:

      Ha! I hope you love them!

  7. Aska says:

    Hi Cassy! I recently found your blog and just love it and love you. I wanted to let you know that I made this dish tonight and my non-paleo husband said “oh my gosh, this is the best thing you’ve ever made!” and I also thought it was super delicious! I’ve recently gotten back to an anti-inflammatory/paleo diet and your blog/recipes/knowledge on the topic has made the transition so much easier and more enjoyable. Thank you so much for doing what you do!

    1. Cassy says:

      Aw thank you so much for such a thoughtful comment, Aska!! I’m thrilled to know y’all liked the cabbage rolls!

  8. Neyha says:

    Hi Cassy! Really excited to make this! I actually have your book, but somehow missed seeing this recipe. Quick question- I don’t eat pork so would you recommend substituting (a) ground chicken or (b) ground beef for the meat? I can do either 🙂

  9. Robin says:

    Oh my gosh Cassy, these are absolutely amazing! It definitely took me longer than 15 minutes to prep, but I figured it would so I waited until Sunday when I had time and we’ve been eating them for lunches ever since…even better the day after. I’m making pecan crusted chicken fingers tonight from Paleo Mag and I can’t wait to use the rest of the sauce to dip them in…it is to die for! Also, one tip for anyone else, I used 2 8×8 pans and it worked just perfect, used all of the meat mixture and napa leaves…I might try using some cauli rice in the mixture next time for extra veggies but I always make recipes as-is the first time so I know how they are supposed to taste and this definitely didn’t disappoint…thanks Cassy 🙂