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Brazil Nut and Raisin Cabbage Rolls with Sweet and Sour Sauce

Here’s a "wholesome and plenty" main dish to serve a small gathering. It’s a delightful meal any time of the year, but particularly welcome as a winter or spring meal for its robust heartiness. Serve with steamed vegetables and a large tossed salad.

We consider this dish rather special and well worth the preparation involved. It’s an ideal make-ahead recipe, and any leftovers retain their flavor quite well.

  • 3/4 C. (177 ml) short grain brown rice
  • 2 C. (480 ml) water
  • 3/4 t. salt 1 large green cabbage, about 2 1/2 to 3 lbs. (1 to 1.36 kg)
  • 4 C. water (960 ml)
  • 1/2 t. salt


  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 T. water 1 C. (237 ml) Brazil nuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 14-oz. (397 g) ground beef or sausage
  • 1/2 C. (118 ml) black raisins, plumped in hot water to cover
  • 1/2 C. (118 ml) golden raisins, plumped in hot water to cover
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • Pepper to taste

Sweet and Sour Sauce

  • 1 15-oz. (420 g) can tomato paste
  • 3 1/2 C. (835 ml) water
  • 1 1/2 t. salt
  • 7 T. sugar
  • 6 T. lemon juice 1/2 C. (118 ml) black raisins


  • Combine brown rice, water, and salt in a 2-quart (2 liter) saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn heat down to low and steam for 35 to 45 minutes until rice is soft but still chewy.
  • Remove outer, coarse leaves of the cabbage. Using a paring knife, remove the center core. Place whole cabbage, core side down, in a large saucepan. Add the 4 C. (960 ml) water and 1/2 t. salt. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn heat down to low and steam for about 10 minutes. Fork test for tenderness, and remove cabbage to a dish when soft and pliable. Set aside.
  • Combine onions, garlic, bell pepper, olive oil, and water in a large skillet or wok. Sauté over high heat, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes, until just tender. Turn off heat.
  • Add Brazil nuts, crumble in ground meat, drain water and add raisins. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Preheat oven to 350. Add cooked brown rice and toss well to combine flavors and distribute ingredients evenly. Set aside.
  • Combine sauce ingredients in a 2 or 3-quart (2 or 3 liter) saucepan and simmer over medium heat, uncovered, for about 5 minutes to blend flavors. Spoon a small amount of sauce into the bottom of two 9" x 13" (22.5 x 32.5 cm) ovenproof baking pans.
  • To form cabbage rolls, separate cabbage leaves by lifting each one up from the core end. Lay one leaf on a dish, cutting board, or your counter top. Have the core end facing you. Spoon filling into the center of the leaf. The size of the leaf will dictate the amount of filling. Roll up the core end first, then the sides, then roll leaf over to enclose completely. Place cabbage roll in baking pan and repeat process with remaining cabbage leaves.
  • Pour sweet and sour sauce over cabbage rolls, and sprinkle with black raisins.
  • Cover baking pans with aluminum foil, shiny side down. Bake in preheated oven at 350 (Gas Mark 4) for 20 to 25 minutes to heat through. Serves 6 to 8 hungry humans.

Adapted from