Savoy Cabbage Parcels Stuffed with Rice, Olives, Artichokes and Capers, with Smoky Tomato Sauce

What a title.

This tastes nowhere near as worthy as ‘cabbage parcels’ sounds, and is a good one is you’re hosting vegetarians for dinner — just leave out the anchovies and use a veggie alternative to Parmesan. The filling can be mixed up in all sorts of ways to suit the contents of your fridge: just make sure there are some umami flavours in there to give the dish some welly: mushrooms, olives, capers, anchovies, tomatoes (sun-dried would be nice), Parmesan, Worcestershire sauce etc.

This would be a good way to use up leftover rice, which would shorten the prep time.


Serves 4

1 medium savoy cabbage
100g brown rice
1 onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
200g mushrooms, chopped finely
1 tablespoon capers
2 tablespoons olives
2 tablespoons artichoke hearts in oil
3 anchovies (optional)
Small bunch of parsley
Juice of ½ lemon
2 tins of chopped tomatoes, or 500ml passata
2 teaspoons sweet smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
Salt and cracked black pepper


1.      Cook the rice, and drain well.

2.      Remove 8 outer cabbage leaves, keeping them whole. Cut the thickest few centimetres of stalk from each. Finely shred half of the remaining cabbage.

3.      Blanch the whole leaves in boiling water for two minutes to soften them. Remove and plunge into or run under cold water to refresh them and shake dry.

4.      Preheat the oven to 180C / gas mark 4.

5.      In a medium sized saucepan, sweat the onion over a low heat for five minutes until soft, then add the garlic for a final minute. Remove to a plate, turn up the heat a bit, add some more oil and fry off the mushrooms until browned. For the final couple of minutes, add the shredded cabbage and cook until softened and lightly browning – add a splash of water if it’s starting to brown and stick to the pan.

6.      Tip into a large mixing bowl: the mushrooms and shredded cabbage, half the onion and garlic and the cooked rice.

7.      Toast the cumin and smoked paprika for 30 seconds in the saucepan, then add in the other half of the onion and garlic. Pour over the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and simmer while you chop the capers, olives, artichoke hearts, anchovies and parsley and squeeze the lemon juice and add them to the rice mix. Season well and mix thoroughly.

8.      Spoon the smoky tomato sauce into the bottom of a medium baking dish.

9.      Assemble the cabbage parcels: place a couple of tablespoons of the rice mixture in the centre of a cabbage leaf, fold the sides over, then the top and bottom – a bit like you would make a burrito. Place them on top of the tomato sauce as you go.

10. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 15 – 20 minutes until lightly browned on top and hot through, then sprinkle over the Parmesan and the rest of the parsley and serve.