Grandma Elaine's Unstuffed Sweet & Sour Cabbage

Total Time
2hrs 50mins
Prep 30 mins
Cook 2 hrs 20 mins

It is not lightly that I post this recipe. This is not a cookbook or kicked around recipe. This is an authentic HEIRLOOM recipe that has been passed down through my family for ages. Each generation has improved and tweaked the recipe slightly (I suggested brown sugar instead of white). Let me know if you enjoy eating this as much as I do!

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Use Large Stock Pot and wooden spoon.
  2. Wash cabbage, cut off core. Cut cabbage in half horizontally. Take core out and cut.
  3. cabbage in 3 inch chunks.
  4. Cook sliced onions in oil until translucent.
  5. Add can of whole tomatoes, stir and chop slightly with spoon. Add tomato sauce, half of salt, half of pepper, and mix.
  6. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stir occasionally so it doesn't burn.
  7. Then add cabbage and stir and push cabbage down into the sauce.
  8. Cover pot and continue to simmer approx 1 hour till you can mix cabbage around in the sauce.
  9. In large bowl mix ground beef with chopped onion, 1 1/2 level teaspoons salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, 2 eggs, rice, and water. Mix well with hands.
  10. If too mushy, add a little more rice. Form golf ball size meat balls, and then store briefly in refrigerator to get firmer.
  11. Place meatballs on top of cabbage on sauce. Cover and simmer approx 15 minutes till meatballs feel firm.
  12. Then gently mix meat balls into sauce. Let pot simmer for approx 45 minutes, then add lemon. Taste for lemon taste, if not add more lemon.
  13. Then add raisins, honey, and then sugar a little at time to taste. Cook for another 15 minutes, then mix gently, uncover and remove from heat.
  14. Try not to eat right away so flavors can infuse. Tastes better when eaten the second day, but don't overheat. Only reheat what you will eat at that sitting.
  15. This freezes well.


Most Helpful

This is a fantastic recipe! I used more rice than called for (1 cup of brown instant rice), and I cooked it before adding to the meat mixture. The meal is not too sweet (my husband can't handle sweet with savory), and has wonderful flavor! I omitted the raisins (see above reason!!!) Thanks for a great recipe.

Tam (Canada) March 02, 2008

This is definately a dish that I will fix for my family again. Only thing different that I done was to use brown rice instead of the white rice that was called for in this recipe. And it was still great!! Way to go Pete. Love this one. And thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe.

durangolady01 October 23, 2007

Very tasty! It reminds me of cabbage rolls. I reduced the onion by one and it was just right for us. I used demerra sugar just the right amount of sugar for us also loved the fresh taste of the lemon juice. for the meatballs I added uncooked rice and when cooked the meatballs plumped up nicely. I made the meatballs a little smaller than written. Overall we loved this recipe and will make again. Fall comfort food at its best. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

Calee October 11, 2007

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