Verza Viva: The Art of Italian Cabbage Rolls


Involtini di Verza, a traditional Italian dish, transforms the humble cabbage into a culinary work of art. These delicate rolls are a harmony of tender cabbage leaves, lovingly wrapped around a savory filling of minced meat, Parmesan, and herbs, each bite bursting with rich, hearty flavors. The involtini are simmered in a fragrant tomato sauce, infusing them with depth and warmth. This dish is a celebration of Italian home cooking, offering a comforting embrace with every mouthful.

Verza Viva: The Art of Italian Cabbage Rolls

Preparation and Cooking Time

  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 1 hour

Number of Servings and Ideal Serving Size

  • Servings: 4
  • Ideal Serving Size: 2-3 involtini per person, served with a generous portion of sauce

Essential Nutritional Information

  • Calories per Serving: Approx. 400 kcal
  • Macronutrients:
  • Carbohydrates: 20g
  • Protein: 25g
  • Fat: 22g (saturated: 8g)
  • Dietary Fiber: 6g
  • Sodium: 500mg


  • Large cabbage leaves: 12
  • Ground beef: 500g
  • Ground pork: 300g
  • Onion (finely chopped): 150g
  • Garlic cloves (minced): 3
  • Cooked rice: 150g
  • Grated Parmesan cheese: 50g
  • Canned crushed tomatoes: 800g
  • Fresh parsley (chopped): 30g
  • Dried oregano: 5g
  • Olive oil: 30ml
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Method of Preparation

  1. Cabbage Preparation: Blanch cabbage leaves in boiling water until pliable. Drain and set aside.
  2. Filling Preparation: Mix ground beef, pork, cooked rice, Parmesan, half the onion, parsley, salt, and pepper.
  3. Roll Assembly: Place a portion of the filling on each cabbage leaf, roll tightly, and secure with a toothpick.
  4. Sauce Cooking: Sauté remaining onion and garlic in olive oil. Add crushed tomatoes and oregano, simmering for 10 minutes.
  5. Involtini Cooking: Place rolls in the sauce, cover, and simmer for about 45 minutes.
  6. Finishing: Remove toothpicks before serving.

Proven Tips for Culinary Success

  • Ensure the cabbage leaves are blanched until just soft to prevent tearing.
  • For a vegetarian version, substitute the meat with a mix of mushrooms, lentils, and ricotta.
  • Letting the involtini rest for a few minutes after cooking makes them easier to handle.

Anticipated FAQs

  • Can I prepare this dish ahead of time? Yes, involtini can be refrigerated overnight and reheated.
  • Is there a gluten-free option? Replace breadcrumbs with gluten-free breadcrumbs or cooked quinoa.
  • Can I freeze the cooked involtini? Yes, they freeze well in the sauce for up to 3 months.