I’ve been on the hunt for some veggie packed meals. Meyer and I seem to eat ‘more vegetables than a vegetarian’ these days. p.s. I love that hashtag. But even so I’m always interested in figuring out how to add several servings of vegetables to our dinners. Whenever I can sneak in an extra veggie I do: for example zucchini in meatballs or broccoli in meatloaf. Really? Yes, it’s true. But this cabbage roll recipe might be the best meal at fitting in a ton of veggies into one main course!
I’ve been thinking about trying cabbage rolls for several months. After going grain free this winter, cabbage rolls seem to be an interesting way to get a lasagna-type meal without grains or dairy. I’ve been replacing rice with cauliflower rice for a while so I thought why not do it in this recipe as well. I also added in some celery as yet another vegetable. I’m pleased to say it worked out really well. I borrowed from several different recipes to make this one my own. The results were a spicy simple tomato sauce with delicious cabbage rolls stuffed with pork, beef and cauliflower. I see the key to the dish is boiling the cabbage head for approximately 10 minutes to soften the leaves. If your cabbage leaves aren’t soft enough then rolling the filling will be quite a problem.
This meal also probably one of the ugliest. How do you make cabbage rolls look pretty? They’re oh so tasty but not the most elegant meal. It’s a hearty sunday night meal-when you have time to prep everything. The best part is you’ll be more than likely to have leftovers for lunches or another dinner during the week.
- 1 large head of green cabbage
- 1/2 lb ground pork
- 1/2 lb ground beef
- 1/2 head of cauliflower, finely grated to look like rice
- 1 whole onion, finely diced
- 4 celery stalks, finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes in paste
- 1 teaspoon chili pepper flakes (add more to taste)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Remove the core of the cabbage and boil whole for approximately 10 minutes.
- Remove from stove and pour cold water over the cabbage to quickly cool it. Drain and set aside.
- In a large bowl combine pork, beef, celery, onion, cauliflower, and 2 teaspoons of salt. I like to use my hands to make sure ground meat is well mixed.
- Peel leaves of the cabbage head and dry with a towel. Remove any of the tough center ribs from the outside leaves. You'll be able to use about 2/3 of the cabbage head for rolling before the leaves get too small.
- In the mean time, set a medium sized sauce pan over medium heat.
- Add in the olive oil, garlic and onion. Sauté for approximately 4 minutes or until onions are transparent.
- Add in the can of tomatoes and chili pepper flakes and let simmer for approximately 20 mins.
- Once the tomatoes have cooked and softened, take the back of a spoon and mash them. Set sauce aside.
- Take one cabbage leave and add approximately 1/4 cup of filling.
- Roll like a burrito, folding the edges in and then rolling up.
- Place each cabbage roll into a shallow heavy pot with the seam side down. (I use my Staub braising pan).
- Keep going until you've used all the cabbage leaves you've separated. Approximately 12-20 pieces. Pour the tomato sauce over the cabbage rolls and set over a low heat.
- Simmer covered for approximately 45 mins or until filling is cooked and sauce has reduced.
- Serve approximately 2-3 cabbage rolls per person.
If you want to taste test the filling then cook a thumb size portion of the filing in a small fry pan add more salt if needed to the rest of the filling and mix again.