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Dim Sum Paleo Cabbage Rolls (AIP-friendly, Whole30)

4.63 from 45 votes

What’s Inside: If making dumplings at home sounds intimidating, let me blow your mind. These dumpling-esque Paleo Cabbage Rolls are simple, delicious, and easy to make in the comfort of your own kitchen and inspired by delicious Dim Sum.

paleo stuffed cabbage rolls - dim sum style (gluten-free, AIP, whole30) via Food by Mars

Paleo Cabbage Rolls Are Perfect for the Lunar New Year and beyond

Paleo Cabbage Rolls ARE HERE just in time to celebrate The Lunar New Year — Dim Sum style, baby.

Living in Queens, NYC, my hubby, friends, and I always would go get some soup dumplings around this time of year, and I’ve been missing it since eating more paleo. Well, as it turns out, steamed cabbage leaves are basically nature’s gluten-free dumpling wrappers … so that’s GOOD NEWS.


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The even better news? THEY’RE SO EASY AND TASTY. On top of being low-carb, Whole30, and AIP-friendly, this stuffed cabbage rolls recipe will be your new favorite. While you can stuff them with anything your heart desires, I do ask that you give this stuffing a try because it’s mega flavorful and delicious.

paleo stuffed cabbage rolls - dim sum style (gluten-free, AIP, whole30) via Food by Mars

How To Cook Cabbage Leaves

Flash boiling a hear of cabbage (yes the whole head) and then peeling back each leaf is a breeze. This vegetable is sturdy and holds A TON of goodies inside.

I’m so excited to do more with them, but this simple boiled and then steamed recipe is such a fresh and nutrient-dense way to get those veggies and protein into your system.

Time-saving Reader Tip: If you’d rather save time on the rolls, you can try this as a deconstructed bowl with cooked cabbage and the meat laid over top for the same delicious flavors!

paleo stuffed cabbage rolls - dim sum style (gluten-free, AIP, whole30) via Food by Mars

How To Make the Paleo Filling

I mixed 1/2 ground turkey and 1/2 ground pork with scallions, carrots, cilantro. While this is scrumptious all on its own, this is Dim Sum, and so that means you need a sauce to dunk them in. This sauce is made healthy with coconut aminos and lots of fresh flavors. Learn how to make it below!

paleo stuffed cabbage rolls - dim sum style (gluten-free, AIP, whole30) via Food by Mars

Need more grain-free swap ideas? THERE ARE SO MANY VEGGIES OUT THERE THAT DO THE JOB! Check out my post of the best grain alternatives.

How to Make the BEST Dim Sum Dipping Sauce

Coconut aminos, toasted sesame oil (skip for AIP), and honey (skip for Whole30) with lots of lime juice is a tangy and rich dip with all the UMAMI.

And just to make it fancy, I tossed some seaweed flakes mixed with sesame on top.

paleo stuffed cabbage rolls - dim sum style (gluten-free, AIP, whole30) via Food by Mars

How To Make the Best Paleo Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Video: Watch How To Make The Recipe

dim sum paleo cabbage rolls via food by mars

Dim Sum Paleo Cabbage Rolls

4.63 from 45 votes
A Paleo stuffed cabbage rolls recipe that uses steamed cabbage leaves = nature's gluten-free dumplings! Dip these in my tasty soy-free sauce for all the UMAMI power — Dim Sum style.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 4


For cabbage rolls:

  • 1 Tbsp ghee (sub olive oil or coconut oil for AIP)
  • 1 shallot thinly sliced
  • 1 lb. ground turkey chicken or pork (I did 1/2 turkey and 1/2 pork since it’s the year of the pig!)
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2-3 tsp ginger powder
  • 1 carrot shredded
  • 1/2 Tbsp fish sauce
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 Tbsp coconut aminos
  • 2 scallions finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro roughly chopped
  • 1 head of cabbage
  • water for boiling

For dipping sauce:

  • 3 Tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil (sub olive oil or coconut oil for AIP)
  • 1-2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1-2 tsp honey (I used Mike’s Hot Honey which has a bit of chili in it for heat!) (skip for Whole30, plain honey for AIP)


  • Bring a large, heavy-bottomed pot with water to boil (enough water to cover the cabbage). Use a pot that can accommodate a steam basket on the top. Cover and let boil while you make the filling.
  • Melt ghee over medium heat in a skillet on the stove. Add sliced shallots and cook, stirring occasionally for just a few minutes until soft. 
  • Add ground meat and break up with a wooden spoon. Season with salt, ginger, and garlic powders. Cook meat until no pink remains and the liquid is starting to absorb, approx. 5-6 minutes.
  • Add shredded carrot, fish sauce, and coconut aminos. Stir into the meat mixture and continue to cook until the sauces absorb for a minute or so.
  • Mix in the freshly chopped scallions and cilantro and remove from heat. Let rest and come to room temperature way from the stove.
  • Meanwhile, the water should be boiling. Prep an ice bath in a large bowl with ice and cold water next to the stove. 
  • Using tongs, lower the whole head of cabbage into the boiling water and let it boil for approx. 1-1.5 minutes. Remove the head of cabbage carefully with a large spoon and tongs (it will be heavier now, carrying water). Keep the water on a low boil – you’ll need it again.
  • Add the cabbage to a large bowl, and carefully peel back the soft leaves, placing in the ice bath to stop cooking.
  • Repeat this process until you have at least 8 good leaves to use for rolling. Dry each blanched leaf well with a paper towel after the ice bath and lay the cabbage leaves in front of you with the core facing you.
  • Prep a steam basket next to you with one additional cabbage leaf lining the bottom of it. You’ll add the rolls to the steam basket one by one.
  • Prep your work station and add approx. 3 Tbsp of your meat mixture to the bottom of the cabbage leaf towards the core, fold the sides in, and then fold the bottom away from you to the top of the leaf. Keep the edge tucked underneath.
  • Add each stuffed cabbage roll to your steam basket with the folded edge on the bottom. Return the steam basket to the top of the pot with boiling water. Cover and let cook for 15 minutes on a low boil to steam.
  • Remove steam basket and turn off heat. Using tongs, plate each cabbage roll with dipping sauce on the side, serve! This also stores well in the fridge.

For the dipping sauce:

  • Combine all ingredients to a small bowl and whisk.
Diet: Chinese
Keywords: cabbage rolls, dim sum, paleo, stuffed cabbage rolls
paleo stuffed cabbage rolls - dim sum style (gluten-free, AIP, whole30) via Food by Mars

More Veggie Appetizers To Try

If you liked my Dim Sum Paleo Cabbage Rolls, then you’ll love these other veggie-loaded appetizer recipes:

-Alison Marras
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

browse more recipes:

AIP Appetizers & Entertaining Dairy-free Entrées Gluten-free Grain-free Nightshade-free Nut-free Paleo Pork Recipes Whole30
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  1. Made those yesterday with only beef and quadrupled the carrots.
    Sooooo delicious!
    The cabbage was very pliable after the recommended cooking time, but still very tough while eating (only the „veins“). Will increase the cooking time next time.

  2. These are awesome even made with beef because I didn’t have turkey, chicken or pork. I made each step in my InstaPot and though it took a while to make, the mess was much less than it could have been. Thank you for this wonderful recipe to add variety to my AIP diet!!

  3. I made this yesterday and it was so easy! The idea of peeling the layers off the cabbage seemed really intimidating but I managed it with ease. Some of the centre leaves weren’t as pliable as the outer leaves so I popped them in the microwave for a minute to soften them up. I can see myself making a variation of this pretty regularly. I’ve popped them in my lunch box this week and frozen the leftovers.

    • These were super yummy! I used beef instead of turkey because it’s locally sourced in my area and the swap was great. There’s a similar recipe in Gwyneth Paltrows cook book The Clean Plate that uses Napa cabbage instead, and I find those a lot easier to work with. Less breaking and cooked more evenly in the large pot, So perhaps next time I’ll try with those.

  4. My husband is going to be so excited I ran across this recipe. He is going to LOVE these. We are gf and love all things cabbage.

  5. I’m excited to try this!! I don’t have a steamer basket or anything that would wok like that. Could I make this is my vegetable steamer or in the oven?

  6. This recipe is DELICIOUS. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is on the AIP diet, due to all the restrictions. However, I would suggest creating this in a deconstructed version of this. One thing I would warn is this recipe DOES NOT take only 30 minutes. It took me up to 1 hour and 45 minutes with a huge mess of a kitchen. This recipe requires a lot of dishes that you don’t realize. 1. pan to saute the meat 2. pot to boil the cabbage 3. cutting board to cut up veggies that go in the meat 4. shredder to shred the carrot 5. bowl for ice water 6. strainer/bowl for putting the boiled cabbage in to peel the leaves 7. an area to lay the leaves out to dry plus a ton of towels to dry them 8. a plate to make the rolls. My husband, who does the dishes after I cook, was not happy. It was a mess. But this is not to say it wasn’t delicious, next time I would just boil the cabbage, peel and lay out with the meat on top of it. Or even layer them like a lasagna and drizzle the sauce on top.

    • Thanks for the feedback and for sharing your experience! I love the idea of taking a shortcut to just lay the meat over cooked cabbage. I’m going to add that as a trick in the post for others to see. And, I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  7. This was so delicious. I made it today! It was approved by my entire family!  I am adding it to the rotation! YUMMMM

  8. Wow!! These sound amazing! The cabbage filling is so flavorful and then that dipping sauce, just wow. 

  9. Just wow! This is by far the best AIP recipe I have tried (I am a newbie but still! ). Amazingly delicious! Thank you so much! I did not have a steamer so I used a big pot of boiling water and put a strainer on top of it. It worked beautifully! Do you think I could freeze these? It takes quiet some time to cook so maybe I could cook a big batch and save it for other days? 

    • Wow is right, what a compliment!! Thanks so much, I’m over the moon you enjoyed them 🙂 They’d freeze beautifully – go for it!

  10. Absolutely Amazing! AIP can be a challenging diet but recipes like this bring light. Super easy to make and FULL of flavor. Thank you 🙂 

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