Spicy Cabbage Rolls

Spicy Cabbage Rolls with Mozzarella

Spicy Cabbage Rolls with Mozzarella are a different take on traditional cabbage rolls. They’re filled with a creamy, slightly spicy ground beef and turkey Italian sausage mixture and topped with Mozzarella cheese. You can control the amount of heat, but the hint of cayenne adds a little kick that’s unexpected. 

Spicy Cabbage Rolls with Mozzarella

Have you ever had cabbage rolls topped with cheese?

I hadn’t until a few nights ago.

I’m married to a mozzarella loving man that could eat it on anything. Well, he actually will eat an entire block of it in one sitting.

So, I always consider his cheese love when planning my recipes. Sometimes it fits, sometimes it doesn’t.


I honestly didn’t think this would work. But it really does.

What’s in Spicy Cabbage Rolls?

I haven’t made cabbage rolls many times in my life, but one thing I figured out is that if you don’t blanch the cabbage leaves, it just won’t turn out right.

And, you’re gonna have the most severe gas you’ve ever had in your life. Oh, and – how convenient – adding spiciness also helps in that area, too. 

These are a little different than the ones that you’re used to (other than the cheese).

I added some cream cheese to my meat mixture (think Rosé), and I used half ground beef and half Italian sausage.


Although I love real Italian sausage, I tend to use turkey Italian sausage to cut out some of the fat. The turkey version is just as good as far as I’m concerned.

I do, however, like to add fennel seed when using it because for some reason I feel like I don’t get as much of the fennel flavor that the real Italian sausage has and I LOVE fennel.

We had these with mashed potatoes and homemade Focaccia bread.

Here’s your printable

Spicy Cabbage Rolls

Spicy Cabbage Rolls with Mozzarella

Yield: 6 cabbage rolls


  • 1 head cabbage
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1/2 lb. ground round
  • 1/2 lb. ground Italian sausage (I used turkey Italian sausage)
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tbsp cream cheese
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup white rice, cooked
  • 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 lb. whole milk Mozzarella, sliced thin
  • Fresh parsley, chopped


Bring about 8 cups of water to a boil in a dutch oven; add cabbage and boil for 10 minutes.
Remove cabbage from water using large tongs and peel off outer layer of leaves and return cabbage back to boiling water.
Continue boiling for 10 minutes, taking off the leaves as they soften.
Cover cabbage leaves with paper towels.
Heat olive oil over medium heat and add onion and garlic; saute for about 2-3 minutes until fragrant.
Add ground round, Italian sausage and fennel seeds and cook, stirring until brown.
Add cream cheese, stir until melted.
Add chicken broth, both peppers and rice, stir thoroughly to combine and remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spoon about 2 tbsp of (or enough to fill) meat mixture into each cabbage leaf and roll, tucking in the sides, placing each in a 9x13 baking dish.
Whisk the crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce together and pour over cabbage rolls.
Top with sliced cheese; cover with foil and bake for one hour, then uncover and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes; until bubbly and cheese has melted.
Sprinkle with parsley

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 549Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 90mgSodium: 1346mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 8gSugar: 16gProtein: 33g

The provided nutrition calculated may not always be accurate.

Did you make this recipe?

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  • Shea

    Shea Goldstein is a writer and the voice behind Dixie Chik Cooks. She's also a recipe developer and brand ambassador. She has been published in several media platforms such as Redbook, Parade, Food Blogger Magazine and more. She has been developing recipes and writing since 2009. Shea is a Southern Belle Who's Thinking About What's For Dinner While Eating Lunch

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Heather Eanes

    I am making cabbage rolls for the first time, use to help my grandma. And I’ve been thinking I could add cream cheese to the mix and top with cheese. Did a search and came across your recipe…. exactly what I was thinking down to adding Italian sausage!!!

    1. Shea

      Good minds think alike! So glad you came across my recipe.

  2. Louise

    I must admit, Shea, I’ve made Cabbage Rolls quite a few times through the years and never did I think to top them with Mozzarella. Sounds intriguing:) I’ll have to give it a try because yours look dee…li…cious!

    Thank you so much for sharing…

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