Greek Cabbage Roll Rice Bowls

Today’s Eat the World challenge takes us to Greece.  I’ve made several Greek recipes in the past, Pastiso (Greek lasagna) and various takes on gyros.  I wanted to stretch myself a bit this time and decided to make cabbage rolls.

As with many traditional recipes from any country, there is a lot of variation on cabbage rolls, but the basics remain the same: beef (sometimes pork) & rice, seasoned with herbs, rolled in cabbage and topped with a lemon egg sauce.  Ambitious, but doable, I decided to give it a shot.

My filling most closely resembled this recipe from Akis Petretzikis, only I added a teaspoon of my own Greek seasoning plus a spring of fresh rosemary and mint from my garden.  I topped it with the sauce from Mia Kouppa.

Removing the leaves from the cabbage was a lesson in patience and exasperation and not one I intend to repeat anytime soon.  Then I got to the recipe (and masterfully tempered the eggs, if I do say so myself).  Finally, the time-consuming recipe was on the table and…

It was so bland and disappointing!  

I added salt and it helped some, but still not what I had expected.  Hubs stated that the recipe was “very Eastern European” (he was in Slovakia, The Czech Republic, and Romania a few years ago, so I guess he’d know).  So perhaps, I thought this was how it was supposed to taste?

I almost threw the leftovers away, not imagining that I would be willing to eat them again.  But before I did, I asked Hubs (and got the Eastern European comment), and decided to save them.

I almost started writing up the recipe, but I just couldn’t do it!  This is not who I am as a cook!  So I thought about how I could re-envision this and “fix it”, if you will.

Below, you’ll find my rice bowls, the “fixed” version.  The method is reminiscent of fried rice (but not as dry as fried rice tends to be).  Plus, I upped the Greek Spice to bring some flavor to the party.

When I served this version, everyone was apprehensive, but when I assured them that I’d fixed it, they were willing to give it a try.  Dude and Hubs happily ate their portion and seconds (it reminded them of my Hamburger Rice Skillet).  Spud was not as enthusiastic, but he generally doesn’t care for casserole-type recipes of any kind, so I take that in stride.

The fixed version was a hit, so that’s what I’m sharing here today.  The recipe is a little wonky, since it relies on a fail to be successful, but it’s what I have!

Check out all the wonderful Greek dishes prepared by fellow Eat the World members and share with #eattheworld. Click here to find out how to join and have fun exploring a country a month in the kitchen with us! 

 Looking for more even Greek inspired recipes? Check these out!

Disclaimer: This post contains a recipe highlighting a different country or culture. While I strive for authenticity, I sometimes need to make adjustments to recipes due to ingredient availability.  

Greek Cabbage Roll Rice Bowls

4 cups leftover cabbage rolls

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 small onion, diced

2 carrots, peeled & diced

2 stalks celery, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

Salt & pepper

2 eggs

1 teaspoon Greek seasoning

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion, carrots, and celery and cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic and season with salt & pepper.  Add eggs and scramble, stirring constantly.  Stir in the Greek seasoning.

Finally, add the leftover cabbage rolls.  Break up the cabbage rolls and allow the rice to fry slightly, cooking and stirring frequently for 10-15 minutes and serve.

Amy Eats the World in...

Cuba: Ropa Vieja (Slow Cooker Beef)
Ireland: Cheesy Potato Soup with Irish Ale
Thailand: Chicken Satay
Kenya: Crunchy N’Dizi (Peanut Crusted Bananas)
Sweden: Rodbetssallad med Getost (Grated Beet Salad with Goat Cheese)
New Zealand: Kiwi Burge
France: Fougasse (Provencal Flatbread)
Argentina: Chimichurri Sauce
Mexico (Halloween Special): Pan de Muerto (Day of the Dead Bread)
India: Spiced Golden Mil
Poland: Chrusciki (Angel Wing Cookies)
Ethiopia: Buticha (Hummus)
England: Wizarding World of Harry Potter Leaky Cauldron-Style Mini Cottage Pie 
Georgia: Lobiani (Bean-Stuffed Bread)
Mexico: Crispy Pork Carnitas
Cambodia: Loc Lac (Shredded Beef with Lime)
Israel: Chicken Albondigas (Chicken Meatballs)
Finland: Sima (Lemonade) 
Puerto Rico: Arroz con Tocino  (Rice with Bacon)
Egypt: Ghorayebah Cookies
Ukraine: Scuffles (Rohalyky) Cinnamon Crescent Rolls
Portugal: Bitoque (Steak & Eggs) 
Germany (Christmas Special): Lebkuchenherzen (German "Gingerbread" Cookies) 
Trinidad & Tobago: Trini Macaroni Pie 
Iraq: T'bit (Slow Cooked Chicken & Brown Rice) 
Fiji: Fijian Creamy Lentil Soup (Dhal) 
Senegal: Cafe Touba (Senegalese Spiced Coffee) 
Colombia: Cañón de Cerdo (Colombia-Style Pork Loin Roast) 
Soul Food (United States): Oven-Baked Ribs with Cola BBQ Sauce 
Bangladesh: Shemai (Sweet Vermicelli Pudding) 
The Netherlands: Dutch Farmer’s Cheese Soup (Boerenkaas Soep) 
Laos: Khao Piak Sen (Lao Chicken Noodle Soup) 
Jamaica: Chicken &  Pumpkin Soup 
Vietnam: Vietnamese Chicken Porridge (Chao Ga) 
Sudan: Red Lentil Soup (Sudanese Addas) 
Luxembourg: Bouchée à la Reine (Vol-au-Vent)
Uruguay: Pasta Caruso

Lesotho: Borotho Bread
Scotland: Tattie Scones
Native American Tribes of North America: Wild Rice, Squash, & Corn Soup
Guyana: Butterflaps


  1. I love a leftover makeover, or in this case an upgrade. It really does sound delicious now.

  2. I love your resourcefulness, using some creative thinking to save a meal. What a great turnaround for a tasty win! I was brought up never to waste food, so I'm smiling to see how you completely revamped a mediocre dish into something delicious.

  3. I'm sorry your cabbage rolls didn't turn out as you hoped but you took that lemon and made lemonade....good for you!!

  4. Way to save it, Amy! I would love your rice bowls and can't wait to have leftover cabbage rolls to try them. My grandmother and mom always cooked cabbage rolls in a tomato sauce which adds a lot of flavor.

  5. We love cabbage rolls. I like how you turned a less than success into something delicious.

  6. You are creative in turning the not so great one to an amazing one! Now I am interested to try the cabbage rolls!