To Make Nut-Stuffed Cabbage


a single complete cabbage rollup, cut in half to display a delicate filling of nut loaf
the final product

“The Art of Cooking; The First Modern Cookery Book’

“the eminent Maestro Martino of Como”

as translated by Jeremy Parzen.

Not being a numbered book, this is the last recipe in the Riva del Garda section, on page 126. Unfortunately, there is no original in this book to refer back to, only an English translation.

I have a nice little head of cabbage, and thought it would be nice to make some stuffed leaves.

Cabbage, garlic

hazelnuts, walnuts

parsley, marjoram, mint, pepper, saffron*

fat*, eggs, cheese*


the raw ingredients for the dish, assembled
preparations commence

I used whole hazelnuts and did not blanche them. I strongly suggest blanching them. The skins were bitter in the dish, which was less of a good thing than anticipated.

First, I grated the cheese* into the bowl with  the herbs and seasonings. I had no parsley, but used fresh mint, dried marjoram, walnuts (also not blanched, though less of an issue, much less less manageable), eggs, fat, pepper, and garlic, but no saffron*.

a bowl containing only the dry seasonings and grated cheese
all measured and ready

After blanching the cabbage leaves in salted water and processing the nut based stuffing in the machine, I stuffed the cabbage like galumpkes rather than making a loaf.

a blanched cabbage leaf cradling a quarter cup of stuffing, waiting to be rolled up and steamed.
step one of rolling

(hmm, maybe I can do this as a slide show?)

Using the same pot I had blanched the leaves in, I steamed the stuffed cabbage rolls in about a half inch of the  salted water remaining from blanching the leaves.

Not having a lid for this particular pot, I used some foil to help hold steam.

a small pan with alumimum foil wrapped over it, in place of a proper lid
make-do lid

They took just under 10 minutes to cook, and only took a whole 10 minutes to assemble because I was taking pictures.

The flavor was pleasant, with the earthy nuts, bright seasoning, and sweet cabbage  leaves.

2 oz hazelnuts
2 oz walnuts
2 oz asiago cheese
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp marjoram (dry)
1 tsp parsley (dry)
a handful of fresh mint
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs, whole, beaten
3 oz melted veal fat (book calls for minced)
3 cabbage leaves.



–         heavy on the costs from nuts

–         labor intensive; small batches in a food processor, someone has to blanch a   lot of leaves

–       Not clearly meat, but not vegetarian (can sub the fat, it just needs a little something to avoid tasting mealy and dry)

–        Needs wet cooking, so oven or large steamers

+        Fast

+        Minimal assembly fuss

All in all, this recipe is not worth making for more than 12 people. The main reason to invest in nuts is to provide an alternate protein, this is neither cost effective nor vegetarian enough to bother with.

I would make it for a picnic basket in a heartbeat though, it’s portable food, not gloppy, interesting flavors, and doesn’t require much in the way of effort to transport.

*I start with asiago then move sharper, saltier, or milder depending.

*My general rule with saffron is not to add it until I am using a dish regularly and have the recipe right where I want it, it’s much too dear.

*the recipe called for veal fat, which we actually had from a prior recipe. I used it rendered, what I had could not be minced as called for. Olive oil would work well, I do not think butter would be pleasant if this were intended as  a dish served cold.

4 Replies to “To Make Nut-Stuffed Cabbage”

  1. I’m not much of a lover of stuffed cabbage, but yours looks so perkily green, I’m kinda tempted. Do you think the recipe really needs that much oil/fat? Or could I maybe get away with half as much, assuming I was using olive oil?

  2. Use just enough fat to moisten and help it clump, it’s always more of a guide than a rule.
    It might be dry, something to hold moisture inside would be good if you want it less rich; perhaps soaking the nuts overnight would do the trick.

    I blanch in shallow water. Let it boil, add salt, let it boil again, then holding the leaf (by hand or with a pair of tongs) dunk the leaf in just til the color and texture turn. It doesn’t take long, it”s just to get the flexibility to fold. The rest of the cooking happens when stuffed.

    I love these. The recipe doesn’t make that much, so it’s not a huge commitment.

  3. This recipe has come at just the right time, I got a nice little head of cabbage in last week’s farm share. This week’s newsletter from the farm had a very similar recipe using collards for the wrapper and filling them instead with mushrooms. I’m planning to try both and see what I think. I wonder how nuts and mushrooms would be together?

  4. Luke, I can’t imagine it would be a bad thing, but the seasoning on this particular list doesn’t call out for mushrooms either.
    I do think that if I were to do it, I would cut the hazelnuts more than I would the cheeses.
    Also, I might switch the marjoram for thyme.

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