Stuffed Cabbage Rolls for Dinner

Stuffed cabbage rolls.

Since the day I planted the cabbage seeds I’ve been looking forward to making stuffed cabbage rolls! With all the rain we’ve had, everything is starting to grow quickly. I went out this morning and harvested two nice, firm cabbages that weighed a bit over 6 pounds total. Unfortunately, with all the rain, the slugs also found them… Luckily though, they were only on the outside and between a couple outer leaves, which went into the compost bin anyway. The insides were flawless! I will gladly give up a few outer leaves knowing that my home grown produce has never been chemically treated. Ever.

I made a double batch of stuffed cabbage rolls so I will have a few meals to freeze. They freeze great! By next weekend the remaining six will be harvested and Romano (Italian) beans will take their place. Hmmmm, what other cabbagey goodness can I make? I’ve got a whole week to think about it. For right now, here is my recipe for…

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Ingredients:
  • 1 large firm head of cabbage, about 2½-3 pounds
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbl olive oil
  • ½ pound ground beef
  • ½ pound ground pork
  • (I like to use meatloaf/meatball mix, a blend of ground beef, pork and veal. You can also use ground sausage, chicken or turkey!)
  • ¾ cup uncooked rice
  • 1 quart of diced tomatoes, drained and crushed (reserve liquid)
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 Tbl fresh dill weed, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cracked black pepper, or to taste
And now the fun part:

Fill a large kettle half full of water and bring to boiling. While the water is heating, wash and core the head of cabbage. Place, core side down, into the hot water. Cover and simmer for about ten minutes. While the cabbage is simmering, saute the diced onions and garlic in the olive oil until tender and remove from heat. Set aside to cool.

Using tongs, remove the outer leaves of the cabbage as they become soft and easy to remove. Cut away more of the core as necessary. Place leaves on a cutting board and cut away a “V” shape to remove the tough stem or rib ends and stack them up. Reserve the best 16 to 20 leaves. Chop up any remaining cabbage and place it in the bottom of a 13×9 baking pan.

Add ¾ cup of the drained and crushed tomatoes, ground beef and pork, uncooked rice, herbs, salt and pepper to the onions and mix well. Place about ¼ cup of the meat mixture on the center of a leaf, fold the stem end over it, then the sides over that and roll it up the rest of the way. Place in the 13×9 baking pan, seam side down. Repeat until all leaves are used.

Pour the reserved tomato juice and remaining crushed tomatoes over the stuffed cabbage rolls, cover with foil, and bake at 350° for 1½ hours. Serves 6.

Enjoy!

 

Low carb version- omit the rice, they come out great! This is what I had for dinner tonight.

Sweet and sour sauce version- add 2 crushed garlic cloves, 3 Tbl brown sugar, 2 Tbl apple cider vinegar and salt and pepper to taste to the remaining tomatoes and juice. Stir well. Pour over cabbage rolls and bake as above.

Vegan version- Use 2 cups of black beans or lentils and saute 8 oz of chopped mushrooms with the onions and garlic. Add 1 tsp smoked paprika or to taste.

To freeze- allow to cool completely, pack into freezer containers or vacuum seal in bags. To reheat, thaw in fridge overnight and heat in microwave or 350° oven until heated through.

Want this even easier to prepare? Make it lasagna style! Simply chop or slice the cabbage, spread some on the bottom of the baking pan, cover with half of the meat filling, another layer of cabbage, the rest of the filling and finally the rest of the cabbage. Pour the tomatoes and juice over the top, cover with foil and bake as above!

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