The Ancestral Table Book Review: Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

While Juli is in lock down working on her latest cookbook before it’s due next week, I wanted to tell you all about one of my favorite cookbooks from last year! Russ Crandall, the man behind the cookbook The Ancestral Table and, has a crazy health story. He had a stroke at 24, a diagnosis of a very rare auto-immune disease that effects predominately Asian women at 25, had a major elective  surgery at 26 where he was clinically dead for 8 hours where he didn’t find relief, and has come out of all of that seeing great improvements in his health by changing the way he eats. Talk about a dramatic way to spend your 20s. He also got married, welcomed a baby, created a blog, wrote a cookbook… all while serving our country as active duty Navy. I’m really in awe of him. Read his whole story here.

I am a huge fan of international inspired food and found Russ’ blog when I was trying to get creative with some flank steak (winner – Rouladen) and have been a fan ever since. When I found out he had a cookbook coming out this time last year, I preordered it in anticipation. I was not disappointed! The Ancestral Table has recipes inspired by food from all over the world – Japan, India, Vietnam, Lebanon, Korea, Russia, Greece… and that’s just the first two recipe chapters. But he also brings us American favorites like Banana Cream Pie and New England Clam Chowder. The book is worth buying alone for the Teriyaki recipe. I lived on teriyaki bowls pre-Paleo, so it’s an absolute dream to find this perfect Paleo version. And did you know teriyaki can be traced back to the 17th century? These are the fun facts you learn along with each of Russ’ delicious recipes! What is unique to Russ’ cookbook that you don’t find in most Paleo books is he includes dairy and “safe starches” white rice and potatoes in some of his recipes. You get a full run down on his reasoning for including those ingredients in his personal health quest, but he also includes substitutions for people who follow a stricter version of Paleo (beginning on page 275).

Speaking of safe starches, Russ just came out with a brand new, beautiful e-book released last Sunday called… The Safe Starch Cookbook! It’s 64 brand new recipes that are all gluten-free and Paleo Friendly (with yet another Substitution Guide to help you personalize your Paleo where needed). You can skip the 2 corn recipes if they’re going to send you into a dither, but for you occasional corn indulgers, one of them happens to be for Juli’s beloved arepas! If I could eat corn, that would be my first stop. I’m rebellious like that.  Here’s a full run-down of what’s included, check it out!


Back to this recipe! Cabbage rolls were one of my mom’s favorite things to make, so I knew I had to share this recipe when she said they’re better than hers. You don’t know Daryl, but that is basically the highest compliment I will ever receive in my culinary adventures. Hope you enjoy it as much as she did!

PaleOMG Book Review: The Ancestral Table Book Review Stuffed Cabbage Rolls


Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

  • Yield: 6 1x


  • 6 tbsp. butter, divided
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. black pepper, divided
  • 1 tsp. dried dill
  • 1 tsp. mustard powder
  • 2 cups warm cooked rice (*substitute cauliflower rice if you’re so inclined)
  • 2 carrots, shredded (1/2 cup)
  • 1 head green cabbage
  • 1 (14oz) can tomato sauce


  1. Warm 2 tbsp. of the butter over medium heat, then add the onion and sauté until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute, then add the ground beef, 1 tsp. of the pepper, salt, dill, and mustard powder. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until most of the pink has been cooked out of the beef, about 6 minutes. Stir in the cooked rice and carrots, then remove from the heat and set aside as you prepare the cabbage.
  2. Cut out the core of the cabbage. Bring a stockpot of water to a boil on high heat. Drop the cabbage into the boiling water and press it down with a wooden spoon, boiling for 5 minutes. Carefully remove the cabbage from the water using 2 forks and strain in a colander for 1 minute, but keep the water boiling. Peel off the softened cabbage leaves, stopping when the leaves get hard and dry. Return the head of cabbage to the water, repeating the process.
  3. Heat the remaining 4 tbsp. butter in a saucepan on low. Stir in the tomato sauce and the remaining 1/2 tsp. pepper; allow to simmer while you make the rolls. Place the softened cabbage leaves on a cutting board and shave off the excess spine from the outer side of each leaf. Spoon some filling into the base end of the cabbage leaf and roll it together, tucking in the sides as you roll. One head of cabbage should yield 15-18 rolls.
  4. Preheat the oven to 325° F. Place the rolls in a casserole dish, then spoon the tomato sauce over the rolls. Bake until cooked through, about 40 minutes.

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Oh, Hi! I’m Juli.

I’m a food hoarder. And a really bad dancer. If you don’t know me well, you will probably not understand my humor. Therefore, I apologize ahead of time. Thanks for listening to my ramblings of my ever-changing life and trusting my kitchen mishaps. Your trust in me is appreciated.


21 thoughts on “The Ancestral Table Book Review: Stuffed Cabbage Rolls”

      1. hey ladies, it says Stacy at the top of the post. She’s my email assistant who helps out with some of the behind the scenes stuff, such as book reviews, while I’m finishing up my cookbook

  1. Can’t wait to try this with the cauliflower rice! Looks yummy! Started wondering the other day if the cabbage leaves could be used to make chicken enchiladas. And now I know how to soften the leaves up to try it out! Thanks so much for the post! EXCITED! =D

  2. I’m a fan! Made this for dinner last night and I’m thrilled to have another great recipe in the line-up! Thanks for sharing!

    1. So, a little busy mom trivia if you freeze the cabbage and allow it to defrost, you do not have to boil it. Once you’ve cooked the cabbage rolls, you can freeze, and if you can vacuum seal, them. When you’re ready to eat them again, just throw the vac sealed bag in a simmering pot until they are cooked. Do not boil. Almost like a sous-vide.

  3. These were fantastic. My husband loves cabbage rolls but I rarely make them as I haven’t found a go to recipe – until now! Followed recipe exactly as is using cauliflower rice and it was delicious. I asked him if he thought they were good and he said good didn’t even come close to describing them. We have a winner!

    1. It’s a book review. It explains safe starches in the post. And the cauliflower rice substitute is listed. That’s wus up wit dat.

  4. This is a standard recipe in our house (using cauliflower rice) and today I used the filling for zucchini boats. LOVE this recipe!

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