Traditional stuffed cabbage gets a makeover in this vegetarian version with a creamy herb, rice, and ricotta filling.
stuffed cabbage with ricotta and pine nuts

The latest in my never-ending quest to uncover the myriad of ways one can convince a cabbage skeptic to, well, eat cabbage?

Sometimes, you have to fight dirty.

And I mean that in the most provocative of ways.


Say, by uncovering a choice few “scientific articles”, all of which point to cabbage as being the aphrodisiac to trump all aphrodisiacs.

The “best natural Viagra”, as one stated, or a “warming nutritive sexual tonic”, according to the Huffington Post.

I mean, I wouldn’t base my thesis off any of these, but lunch or dinner? Totally reasonable.


Just casually scatter a few of these “official documents”, with choice selections highlighted, around the apartment, along with a plate or two of these creamy ricotta rice and herb stuffed cabbage rolls. And just wait and see how quickly a pan of these babies gets scarfed down.

Because while your cabbage cynic may take his first bite with the hope of a romantic encounter in mind, his second, third, and fourth bites will all be due to the allure of the rolls themselves. They really are that good.


My only warning is that there might be some, uh,ย expectations for what will occur after the meal is over.

But if the cabbage really is as “effective” as it’s claimed to be, then I don’t thinkย that will be a problem.


One year ago…Mexican Vegetable Soup with Avocado

Three years ago…Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

Stuffed Cabbage with Ricotta and Pine Nuts
This vegetarian version of stuffed cabbage is filled with ricotta, rice, pine nuts, and fresh herbs.
Yield: 4 servings
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1½ oz skinny noodles
  • ⅞ cup basmati rice
  • 1¼ cups water
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 medium white cabbage
  • ⅓ cup pine nuts, toasted
  • ¾ cup ricotta
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan, divided
  • 3 tbsp chopped basil
  • 4 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 1½ cups vegetable broth
  • 1½ tbsp sugar
  1. Melt the butter in a small pot over medium heat. Break the noodles into ¾-inch long pieces and add to the pan, stirring constantly, until toasty. Add in the rice and stir to coat with the butter. Add in the water and ½ tsp salt. Bring to a boil and then cover, simmering for 10-15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit, covered for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cut the cabbage in half lengthwise. Peel off the leaves and place into a pot of boiling water for 6 minutes. Rinse with cold water and apt dry.
  3. Heat oven to 350.
  4. Stir the pine nuts, ricotta, 2 tbsp parmesan, basil, parsley, garlic and salt and pepper to taste into the rice mixture. Scoop the rice into the cooked cabbage leaves, making parcels out of them. Arrange the parcels closely together in an ovenproof dish. Whisk together the broth, sugar, and salt and pepper, to taste. Pour over the cabbage. Bake for 40 minutes, or until liquid has almost totally evaporated. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tbsp parmesan cheese. Bake for 10 minutes more. Remove from the oven and let sit 5 minutes before serving.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ¼ of recipe


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67 Responses to Stuffed Cabbage with Ricotta and Pine Nuts

  1. Is it weird that I love stuffed cabbage (minus the rice of course)? I love this version because any excuse to eat cheese makes me happy:-)

  2. Sues says:

    I’ve never even THOUGHT of stuffed cabbage, but I kind of love it! I had noo idea cabbage was considered an aphrodisiac…

  3. Cabbage, ricotta, and pine nuts remind me of a soup that my nana used to make. I just know that one bite of this would flood me with memories of everything good that ever happened in her kitchen.

    My fella will stick his nose up at cabbage too. Maybe if I tell him it’s special kind of kale, he’ll eat it up.

  4. There is something about cabbage….it stares me in the face and my mind goes blank. I love eating it when I try it cooked or raw if someone else makes it, but when it shows up in my csa I just can’t seem to get it together. NOW I have a recipe!

  5. haaaa, omg. Reading this is the perfect start to my day. Now I’m going to have totally different thoughts when someone microwaves a big bowl of cabbage soup at lunch, lol. My mom used to make cabbage rolls all the time when I was younger, but didn’t really have a good idea of what vegetarian fillings to use — so she just tossed in whatever she felt like. We had a lot of cabbage stuffed with olives. This sounds delicious!

  6. Simply Life says:

    I’ve made stuffed cabbage just once and have been waiting for another idea to use it- this is great!

  7. pine nuts yes, ricotta, yes but cabbage! Oh girl you are going to get me out of my comfort zone aren’t you! I would try anything from you though! You rock and this does look amazing

  8. Cheese stuffed cabbage sounds fabulous!

  9. Monica says:

    I love cabbage cooked like this with all that bonus stuffing! I wish I lived at your house.

  10. Ottolenghi + Joanne. My dreams have come true. Considered this pinned and made for dinner.

  11. These look easy to make, light and delicious! Definitely trying this, I do have cabbage!!

  12. Julia says:

    Baaaahahaha! I’m still far too immature to read about aphrodisiacs without getting all 8th-grader giggly over here. I’m still amazed people need convincing when it comes to cabbage, myself..I love the stuff to the end of the earth. But I didn’t realize cabbage was a love potion #9, so I’m even more inclined than ever to stuff it full of deliciousness and get my grove on. TMI. YUM!

  13. Well, I had no idea! Hmmmm… I’m going to have to look into this a bit more. ’cause I love cabbage in all forms. Never thought to stuff it with ricotta but seeing that it’s one of my favorite cheeses, I think I need to make this right away.

  14. i loved that picture you posted on IG. I love the idea of ricotta and pine nuts together…spreading the research all over the apartment with some highlights – very valentines day appropriate ๐Ÿ˜›

  15. SallyBR says:

    Aphrodisiac or not, I love this dish! I happen to have a green cabbage in my fridge which I bought to try it grilled. It was so cold outside that I quickly gave up that silly idea. But this recipe is a bit too involved for a weeknight, I might have to wait a little to make it

  16. Lady Lilith says:

    Very nice. I usually stuff my cabbage with meat. This is a nice change.

  17. Oh yes – this will have me fall in love with cabbage again for sure. (And not surprised to see Ottolenghi influenced you – I’m in hog heaven over Plenty right now ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Lisa says:

    Another must try and I happen to have some cabbage that I need to use up. Too bad I already have dinner planned for the next few days, but I am bookmarking …

  19. That does make cabbage pretty sexy! Nice! That is how I stuff my peppers! Mmmmmmm! I heart pine nuts!

  20. Love the use of pine nuts and ricotta here. Such a creative recipe and way to cook cabbage!

  21. Trisha says:

    I want that creamy ricotta rice in my face immediately. Also, this post is hilarious and I am sending that sexual nutrition article to my hubby right now! ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Jessie says:

    Okay, your sentence about the cabbage cynic with the hope of a romantic encounter has me dying over here. You and the.boy make quite a pair! I would eat this stuffed cabbage any time (although I fully admit I LOVE cabbage). Awesome recipe, as always!

  23. What a great filling for stuffed cabbage! I forget about stuffing cabbage until I get reminded of this great use of it. Thanks for reminding me!

  24. Sounds interesting and it looks nice. We didn’t grow up with our mom making stuffed cabbage, so this is something we would definitely consider. Thanks!

  25. sandra says:

    aphrodisiac? who knew. I like how you changed it up and eliminated the meat.

  26. Oh my gosh, that is too funny about cabbage! I never would have guessed, lol. I love this vegetarian switch-up…I bet I’d enjoy it even more than meat-stuffed cabbage!!

  27. I was so glad to see that you are running as part of the Cabot fit team! They picked an awesome team ๐Ÿ™‚ This dish looks perfect, love the pine nuts and ricotta!

  28. Pam says:

    You had me at ricotta and pine nuts!

  29. Megan says:

    I love that there are noodles inside instead of the usual rice!

  30. I’m obsessed with this. You are a genius. Your recipes are so creative! I love all of your vegetarian dishes! Since I looooove cabbage (you don’t have to convince me at all!), I’ve got to make these. Pinned!

  31. HAHAHA you girl crack me up, this was such a fun post! I love love cabbage, and rolls, oh and ricotta too. And hey yeah pine nuts too, so I know I’d be in love with these. They look too awesome : D

  32. Haha – I had no clue cabbage was an aphrodisiac!
    Love the texture of the nuts in these cabbage rolls.

  33. Trisha says:

    sounds like a great combination! Who knew that cabbage had such an effect!

  34. Eileen says:

    Wow, what a different filling for stuffed cabbage! I love the idea of the rich ricotta and crunchy pine nuts. ๐Ÿ™‚

  35. Love the ricotta-pine nut filling!

  36. I LOVE my grandma’s standard cabbage rolls with a capital L — but these? These might give hers a run for their money. Because cheese.

  37. Juliana says:

    Your stuffed cabbage looks delicious, I like the creaminess of it…
    Thanks for the recipe Joanne and have a wonderful week ๐Ÿ˜€

  38. Yum! I love stuffed cabbage but have actually never made it. Mostly because I think it would be delicious the first night.. and then I would have leftover cabbage rolls. I don’t know what it is about leftover cabbage but I’m never excited about it ๐Ÿ™‚ Love the idea of ricotta and pine nuts! Savory and creamy!

  39. What a terrific idea. I love cabbage rolls but these are so differentโ€ฆthey sound delicious.

  40. The. Boy doesn’t like cabbage? Neither does Paul or my BIL – and they’re both Irish! I love love love it!! And I so desperately want these rolls. All 4 servings.

  41. Cabbage an aphrodisiac? That’s seriously the most unlikely vegetable to be one, but these rolls do look great!

  42. I love cabbage and this is an awesome vegetarian stuffed version! I never knew that cabbage was an aphrodisiac – that is seriously surprising!

  43. I make stuffed cabbage rolls all the time (Polish!) but never with ricotta! This is such a genius idea!

  44. Had no idea cabbage offered such benefits.

  45. Yummm! You had me at creamy ricotta! You’re giving me some delicious ideas to stuff cabbage with! And lol at cabbage being an aphrodisiac, go figure!

  46. Hotly Spiced says:

    I’ve always been a fan of stuffed cabbage leaves. My mother used to make them when I was growing up. They always had a meat filling though! I love how you’ve turned an old family favourite into a very yummy looking vegetarian dish xx

  47. I loooooove stuffed cabbage! And with ricotta and pine nuts!? You just sent me over the moon!

  48. Haha, I have never heard that about cabbage. My boyfriend also HATES stuffed cabbage, but who knows? Maybe he’ll turn around

  49. cheri says:

    This is really a great dish Joanne, Stuffed cabbage, Yum!

  50. Cooked cabbage is something I’ve never made friends with, although I will eat it if someone else prepares it. This does look good, Joanne! I might have to give it a try to prove I’m not a wimp. ๐Ÿ™‚

  51. I shall have to try and prove this theory ๐Ÿ˜‰

  52. I love seeing a non-tomato and beef filled version of cabbage rolls! My fiance refuses to have anything to do with cabbage (or brussels sprouts) either; I might have to try your strategy!

  53. Blond Duck says:

    These sound so good!

  54. Mmm I have often eaten stuffed vine leaves, but cabbages are new to me – definitely want to try this ๐Ÿ˜€

    Choc Chip Uru

  55. I’ve never had traditional stuffed cabbage, but I certainly don’t feel the need to seek it out now that I’ve seen your delicious version!

  56. Kate says:

    I think cabbage gets a bad rap. It’s essential for coleslaw, fantastic in soups, and is perfect for rolls!

  57. I love your stuff cabbage. I am a cabbage lover in what ever shape or form.

  58. Christine says:

    I love it!!! Will be making it this weekend! ๐Ÿ™‚

  59. Super creative! Gosh this looks so good and I could kick myself because I almost bought pine nuts the other. Definitely need to make this dish!!

  60. Reeni says:

    I like these much better than the traditional ones! The filling is calling my name – ricotta and pine nuts are an irresistible pair. I didn’t know cabbage did that first thing you said. ๐Ÿ™‚

  61. Shannon says:

    ooh, i had no idea about cabbage! i made a delicious creamed cabbage last weekend ๐Ÿ˜‰

  62. I guess your cabbage skeptic approved! And I can see why…these look delicious ๐Ÿ™‚

  63. tigerfish says:

    Always fun to be inspired by interesting ways to use cabbage…from: cabbage lover ๐Ÿ™‚

  64. I don’t think I’ve ever made stuffed cabbage, but I do enjoy it, and this variation looks fantastic! Love that there’s an option to make it without a pound of ground beef in it!

  65. Love this idea for stuffing cabbage! I have only had the traditional stuffed cabbage with rice and meat sauce but this sounds even better. Love it!

  66. Nutmeg Nanny says:

    Oh my god, these look amazing, what fantastic flavors ๐Ÿ™‚

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