Chicken Laab Cabbage Rolls


Laab (or larb) is a minced meat salad flavored with fish sauce, lime juice, and fresh herbs. It's the inspiration for the filling in these updated cabbage rolls.

Chicken Laab Cabbage Rolls
Photo: Carson Downing
Hands On Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
50 mins
8 rolls


  • 1 medium head savoy or green cabbage, separated into leaves and softened*

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

  • 1 cup roughly chopped cabbage

  • 1 pound uncooked ground chicken

  • 1 tablespoon sambal oelek

  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce or tamari

  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce

  • ½ teaspoon packed brown sugar

  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil

  • ¼ cup chopped fresh mint

  • Spicy Sesame Dipping Sauce (see recipe)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 2-quart rectangular baking dish. Lay cabbage leaves flat on a work surface.

  2. For filling: In a small skillet heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil over medium-high. Add garlic, ginger, and chopped cabbage; cook and stir 2 minutes or until garlic and ginger are fragrant and cabbage is slightly wilted. Remove from skillet; let cool.

  3. In a large bowl stir together ground chicken, sambal oelek, lime juice, soy sauce, fish sauce, and brown sugar. Stir in cabbage mixture and 2 Tbsp. each of the chopped fresh basil and mint.

  4. Spoon about 1/4 cup of the filling onto a cabbage leaf; roll up like a burrito, tucking in sides as you go. Place roll, seam side down, into the prepared baking dish. Repeat with remaining filling and cabbage leaves. Drizzle rolls lightly with olive oil.

  5. Cover and bake 20 to 25 minutes or until chicken is done (165°F). Serve rolls with Spicy Sesame Dipping Sauce and remaining basil and mint. Serves 4.

Spicy Sesame Dipping Sauce

In a small bowl stir together 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce or tamari, 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions, and 1 tsp. each toasted sesame seeds, rice vinegar, sambal oelek, and toasted sesame oil.


To soften cabbage leaves so they are pliable for rolling, try one of the following methods.
Fill a large pot halfway with water (pot needs to be large; the cabbage will displace some of the water). Bring to boiling, then reduce heat until water is simmering. Insert a large serving fork into cabbage core and submerge cabbage in water 1 to 2 minutes or until outer leaves soften. Remove cabbage from pot, cool slightly, and pull or trim the softened outer leaves away. Repeat dipping and peeling leaves away from core. (The thicker inner leaves will take 2 to 3 minutes to soften.)

Remove wilted outer leaves from cabbage. Rinse cabbage and remove core; pat dry. Place cabbage in a resealable plastic bag; seal. Freeze 3 hours or up to 2 days. When ready to use, thaw cabbage at room temp 2 to 3 hours. Peel the leaves away from core.

Cabbage amount to buy

You can get away with only one head of cabbage for both the wrapping and the filling.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

284 Calories
18g Fat
9g Carbs
24g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 284
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 18g 23%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 98mg 33%
Sodium 1136mg 49%
Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 24g
Vitamin C 40mg 200%
Calcium 107mg 8%
Iron 2.8mg 16%
Potassium 954mg 20%
Folate, total 87mcg
Vitamin B-12 0.6mcg
Vitamin B-6 0.8mg

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Related Articles