Quinoa Cabbage Rolls



Just call me Bubbles.

No, that’s not my new stripper name.  It’s my bird name.

In case you missed it, my boys have decided that their pregnant Mama looks like Orange Bird Blown Up.  Apparently, orange bird’s name is Bubbles.

Lucky me,  hubby jumped on that bandwagon and ran with it.


……like the wind…..of a tornado

…..like Usain Bolt out of a burning building

…..like a kid running after the ice cream truck

He is now oh-so-sweetly calling me Bubbles.

As you would expect my ego is at an all time high.

Of course, the boys don’t dare. I kid myself and think it is actually out of concern for my feelings.  In reality I think they are afraid that the threat of spinach and cooked cabbage every day for a week will materialize.  Mama is definitely on edge these days.

Unfortunately, hubby doesn’t posses such sensitivity or fears.  In fact, I recently fed him cooked cabbage for dinner and he was pretty darn happy with it.


This recipe originated on Facebook when I asked readers what they would like to see on the blog next. Someone suggested a Quinoa Cabbage Roll which I though was a fabulous idea.

I’ve never actually made (or eaten) cabbage rolls before.

I’m so glad I finally decided to make these because they are delicious!  So thanks to whoever made that suggestion – Thanks!  I’ll definitely be making cabbage rolls again.  For Bubbles.

Quinoa Cabbage Rolls

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 12 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 32 minutes

Yield: 6

Serving Size: 2 rolls

Calories per serving: 214

Fat per serving: 4.7g

Quinoa Cabbage Rolls


  • 1 head of cabbage
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 ½ cups vegetable broth
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley (or 2 tablespoons fresh)
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 cup diced zucchini (or carrots)
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese OR vegan parmesan
  • 1 egg, beaten (optional)
  • 2 cups tomato sauce


  1. Remove the core from the cabbage. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cover and cook cabbage for 8 to 10 minutes. Place in cold water. Peel 12 leaves for the rolls, cutting the thick vein from the leaves as necessary. Drain on towels.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  3. Meanwhile, spray a medium saucepan with olive oil. Add onion and pepper and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, until tender. Add quinoa, garlic and tomato paste and sauté for 2 minutes. Add vegetable broth, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 30 to 35 minutes. Stir in zucchini and Parmesan cheese and re-cover. Allow to sit off the heat for 5 minutes. Cool slightly and stir in egg if desired. (You want to make sure the mixture has cooled enough to not cook your egg.)
  4. Divide quinoa mixture among the prepared cabbage leaves. Roll up leaves to enclose the filling. Place seam side down in a casserole pan. Top with tomato sauce.
  5. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Allow to sit for 10 minutes and serve.


Servings 6, Calories 214, Fat 4.7g, Carbohydrates 33.8g, Protein 11.6g, Cholesterol 32mg, Sodium 902mg, Fiber 7.3g, Sugars 10.2g, WW Pts 6


  • nancy

    hi Wendy,
    Congrates on your family expansion…….

    Although Weight Watchers points are great, I live in a rural area that Weight Watchers didn't think made them enough money. Several years ago, they left many customers high and dry at the beginning of Dec of all times….so I started a very affordable, nonprofit T.O.P.S. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) weight-loss support chapter. http://www.tops.org
    We use the exchange system, so I am looking for recipes with diabetic exchanges. Do any of your cookbooks have exchanges listed?
    Thank you,Nancy

    • Wendy Polisi

      Thanks Nancy!

      Good for you for finding something else that works for you! I actually have never been on Weight Watchers (counting anything makes me crazy) but started adding points after repeated requests. I'm not aware of an easy way to calculate diabetic exchanges – with WW I'm able to plug four variables into a calculator and get the points. If you know of something that isn't too cumbersome I could certainly look into it.

  • Brennie

    Is the quinoa cooked or uncooked when added? Can't wait to try these as family loves stuffed cabbage.

    • Wendy Polisi

      It is cooked in step 3. Enjoy!

  • Marge

    Delicious recipe, as always. Thank you for the great ideas. However I am having a problem printing the recipes. Every time I click on the print option it goes to a blank page.

    • Wendy Polisi

      Marge – I'll ask Vincent about this for you. It's a plug in we use and it works fine when I try it so it may have something to do with your settings.

  • Betty

    Hi Wendy (aka bubbles)! It appears as though you've added the egg into the recipe twice. I'm guessing that you add after it's cooled rather than with the zucchini and cheese. Have a great day!

    • Wendy Polisi

      Sorry about that Betty! I realized when I was testing the recipe that I needed to let it cool before I added it and forgot to go back and delete it. It's corrected now. Thanks for letting me know!

  • Dianne

    Hi Wendy:

    What can a person substitute for the zucchini? Squash? Parsnips?

    • Wendy Polisi

      I actually used carrots for part of the zucchini because I couldn't find another good looking one. Squash or parsnips would work great too!

  • chris

    Can I post this one on pinterest? I like to keep all of my vegan recipes together if possible

    • Wendy Polisi

      Feel free to post the picture to pinterest with a link back to the recipe, but I prefer you not to copy and paste the recipe.

  • Ana

    Hello! I'm a new reader from Spain. You won't believe it but I have never tried quinoa and I friend told me about it and that's how I found your blog. All the recipes seem amazing, but there are so many I don't know which one to do first. Would you recommend me 2 or 3 outstanding recipes, your favourite ones for example.

    Thank you and regards from Spain!

  • Teri Elmore

    I was blown away at how good these were! Halfway through (probably as I was peeling the cabbage leaves off the head) I had second thoughts about them and recalled why I quit making cabbage rolls, HOWEVER, they were totally worth it. I did only salvage about 10 leaves, thus 10 rolls, and only used one can of tomato paste. They were delish! Thanks!

    • Wendy Polisi

      Thanks Teri! I was thinking the same thing as I was making them. A bit of work…but I would make them again.

  • Nadine Osborne

    I made these last week for a church dinner. Then I wasn't able to get to church, sent them along anyway & they were all gone. Everyone loved the filling. I think my cabbage was smaller than what you used, I used the 12 biggest leaves, stuffed them as full as I could, and had filling leftover. I used it for sandwiches on wheat bread for lunch, it was delicious. Thank you for sharing. This recipe is 'a keeper' for sure.

    • Wendy Polisi

      So glad you liked it Nadine! Yes, the cabbage I used was pretty big. In fact, I had 4 or 5 leaves left over when I was done.

  • Pam

    How do you core the cabbage? do you cook the cabbage whole then core ???

  • Pam

    What is the best way to store quinoa??

    • Wendy Polisi

      I store it in a canister in the pantry. We keep our house cooler year around so I've never had a problem with it going bad. If you will be keeping it longer you can always but it in an airtight container in the fridge.

  • luvalab

    I've been a lurker for several months now and have made a couple of your recipes. Thank you, Wendy, for helping me eat more healthy! I like this recipe a lot. I absolutely hate stuffing anything and had Brussel sprouts that needed to be eaten, so I roasted the sprouts and added them into the quinoa mix. Delicious! (I ate it at room temp since I made the dish earlier in the day and didn't want to reheat my kitchen.)

    • Wendy Polisi

      I'm so glad that you are enjoying the recipes and that they are helping you eat healthier! I bet this would be great with Brussel Sprouts. I'll have to try it. :)

  • kathy

    In theory this might be a workable recipe. In reality….not so much
    I used savoy cabbage which is a much nicer cabbage for rolling. And I used the mandoline for thin matchstick zucchini 30 minutes wasn’t enough time. More like 45+ before adding the egg and cheese. Its a good thing I had some leftover rotisserie shredded chicken in the freezer. I rolled up half of the original recipe but added 1 cup of shredded bbq chicken (I thought the flavours wouldn’t mesh….but it was fine)to the remainder of the mixture.. The original recipe did not roll well….did not stay rolled after cooking. As some of us hate the cabbage and routinely unroll the whole thing to eat and discard the cabbage. The origjnal recipe just fell apart. The g’kids aged 6 and 5 wouldn’t eat any of it. The rolls that had the added chicken….held up after cooking. And were really good. Both were flavourful but if the g’kids won’t even attempt to eat it. what’s the point. The leftovers were taken for lunches the next day. Again the original recipe roll did not hold up. Fell apart. If your going to make this maybe add some gluten free ceasar salad croutons pulverized or add some shredded cooked chicken Next time I make regular cabbage rolls with ground beef I will use this recipe. But the quinoa needs something to stick it all together.

    • Wendy Polisi

      Sorry you had a hard time with yours holding together. I used regular cabbage, not savoy, and had no problem with my rolls holding together. I agree that savoy does roll nicely, but since it is thinner and more pliable it doesn’t have quite the structure that regular cabbage has.

      • kathy

        I’ve never had that problem with Savoy.  A roll is a roll… and when they’re all crammed in the casserole dish the rolls stay together. I use Savoy because it cooks down to almost paper thin but the contents always stay together. I think Savoy had a much better flavor…. the was one time I head more filling than cabbage and actually used some romaine and even that turned out well

        Sent from Samsung Mobile

        ——– Original message ——–

        • Wendy Polisi


          Sent from my iPad