Mary Kmak has turned her life around and found a path to health through the Tucson Medical Center Wellness program. In Mary’s Promise she shares tips, recipes, challenges that she has learned along the way.

Hello Readers,

How about trying something different this year for St. Patrick’s Day? This cabbage roll recipe is a keeper and also great to have on Meatless Monday.

Quinoa Cabbage Rolls

Makes approximately 12 cabbage rolls, about 6 servings

quiona cabbage rolls #NoMeatMonday #Vegan #GlutenFree Ingredients:

1 large green cabbage head

1 cup quinoa

1-1/2 cups of water (To enhance the flavor use vegetable broth)

1 small Granny Smith apple, cored & chopped

1 TBSP fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1 cup chopped tomatoes

3 green onions, thinly sliced

(OPTIONAL: 6 chopped pecans and/or 2 TBSP raisins)


1 TBSP olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

28 oz can of crushed tomatoes



  • To a large skillet add one tablespoon of oil and place on medium heat.
  • Add onion, garlic and pepper, stir until soft about 4 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes and bring to simmer and cook until slightly thickened about 10 minutes.
  • Place half of the sauce on bottom of large casserole pan and save the other half to put on top of the cabbage rolls.

Cabbage rolls:

  • Cut core out of cabbage and bring to boil for about 10 minutes. Remove and pat down the leaves and place on dry cloth after cutting out the center vein from the leaves so they will be easier to roll up.
  • Bring the quinoa and water (or vegetable broth)  to a boil in saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to low-medium, cover and simmer until the quinoa is tender about 25 minutes.
  • Toss the chopped apples with the lime juice, olive oil, garlic, tomatoes and green onions. Fold in the quinoa. (Add optional choices here if you choose)
  •  Taking one leaf at a time place 1/4-1/2 cup of filling (depending on leaf size) in center of the cabbage, fold the sides in and roll up to enclose the filling. Place seam size down in casserole pan side by side until all your rolls are made and top with the balance of your sauce. Makes approximately 12 cabbage rolls.
  • Preheat oven to 350° and bake for 30 minutes.

This is a great dinner change that you will enjoy. I tried adding raisins and pecans together and it tastes great! The apples blended together gives the roll a unique taste.

I experiment with different choices throughout my journey to keep my food tastes exciting.  Each time I surprise myself with new ones I like that in the past I would never have tried. Be open-minded, think and try healthy different foods and you may find yourself being surprised too!