22 April 2015

Kaalilaatikko - Finnish cabbage casserole

I have been enjoying my time back home in Finland just relaxing and visiting family. I asked my mum, if she would teach me how to make this dish called Kaalilaatikko. So we had serene cooking moments making it and at the same time observing a red squirrel on the yard. Kaalilaatikko is a traditional Finnish dish made of cabbage, mince meat and rice. We of course made a vegetarian version with soya mince. I was never too fond of cabbage dishes as a child, but my taste has developed and become much more versatile, and I was curious to have this casserole again after a long break. I really liked it and will surely sometimes make it in the future.

Here's the recipe.


1 kg white cabbage

1 onion

1 tbsp vegetable oil

2 dl soya mince

Salt, pepper and thyme to taste

1,5 dl rice

4-6 tbsp dark syrup

2 dl cream


Chop the cabbage and put the pieces into boiling water. Boil them for a few minutes until they become translucent and then leave in the pot while you make the other preparations. Save the cabbage cooking water for later when draining the cabbage.

Chop the onion finely and fry in oil. Add the soya mince (my mince was dried and needed to be boiled first) to the pan and cook for a few minutes. Season with salt, pepper and thyme. Boil the rice until it's done or little al dente. Instead of rice also pearled spelt or barley can be used.

Mix the ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the cream and syrup and and put the mix into an oven dish. You can pour a little syrup on the top as well.

Bake at 175C for about one hour. Add some of the cabbage boiling water onto the surface during the baking so that it doesn't dry out.


Your VegHog



  1. how nice you could make a veg version of a traditional favourite - I am quite partial to cabbage as long as it is not lank and soggy. Is dark syrup a Finnish syrup or does it refer to something like molasses? Does it make the cabbage dish quite sweet or just add to the flavour? Cute squirrel and lovely background in the photos.

    1. I'm afraid that the cabbage here does get a bit soggy apart from the crispier surface, so this might not be a dish to your taste. It could of course be boiled less to be firmer. The dark syrup is a Finnish one, but I believe it is like dark molasses. It adds a little additional sweetness here, which I find quite pleasant. Wouldn't want it to be too sweet though.


Thanks for reading! I would very much appreciate any comments or suggestions from you.