Well here we are in 2019 and I have to say I’m off to a pretty good start!
If you’ve been following along for a while you’ll know that I get really excited about a New Year. I love reflecting on all of my past accomplishments as well as looking ahead at all the adventures coming my way.
It’s also a great time to re-evaluate my goals [although I do that on a fairly regular basis] and maybe even set some new ones.
This year’s theme seems to be ‘being my best self everyday’. I have a long list of ideas on how I can achieve that, but one of the the things I’m focusing is incorporating veggies into my meals at least 3 times a day. Which brings me to these cabbage rolls.
Cabbage rolls are another one of those cozy, cold weather dishes that I really enjoy making in the winter. AND, [I’m learning this as I’m writing this post] they are so good for you! Here’s why:
- Cabbage supports a healthy gut.
- The tomato sauce is loaded with antioxidants.
- The beef and rice will keep you full all afternoon 🙂
Making cabbage rolls is pretty easy, honestly I think the hardest part is coring the cabbage. I’ve also learned that it’s easier if you allow time for everything to cool before moving on to the next step [saves burning your fingers on hot cabbage while assembling the rolls].
I also like to assemble mine in layers so I can use the full head of cabbage. [I always end up with some broken cabbage leaves by the time I’m done boiling it.] Instead of throwing them out, I’ll use them to line the bottom of the casserole dish and to separate the two layers of cabbage rolls. At the end I’ll use whatever is left over to top all the cabbage rolls.
If you wanted to use a 9×13 glass pan and skip all the layers that would work to [I just really like using my cast iron pot].
Hope you enjoy!
Beef & Rice Stuffed Cabbage Rolls [in a Spicy Tomato Sauce]
- 1 28oz Can Whole Peeled Plum Tomatoes (with juice)
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1/2 Medium Onion, Finely Chopped
- 2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
- 1/4 tsp Red-Pepper Flakes
- Salt (to taste)
- 3/4 Cup Raw Rice
- 1 Medium Head of Cabbage
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Medium Onion, Finely Chopped
- 2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
- 1 lb Lean Ground Beef
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Pepper
To Make Tomato Sauce
Dump tomatoes (including the juice) into a food processor and pulse until smooth. Set aside.
Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and red-pepper flakes. Cook, stirring constantly, until onion is tender.
Add tomatoes and juice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 20 minutes. Season with salt. Let cool completely.
To Make Cabbage Rolls.
Core cabbage and place in large pot. Fill the pot with water until cabbage is just covered. Bring to a boil. Using tongs, remove the cabbage leaves as they soften and set aside (you’ll know when they are fully softened because they will be easy to remove).
Meanwhile, cook rice according to package directions. Set aside.
Pre-heat oven to 325F. Spray an 8 liter casserole dish and set aside.
Heat oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring constantly until onion is tender. Add ground beef and cook completely, breaking the beef into small chunks. Stir in rice, salt, and pepper.
Line the bottom of the casserole dish with softened cabbage leaves (I like to use the ones that are broken or won’t hold the beef and rice mixture very well). Set aside.
Working 1 leaf at a time, spoon about 2 – 3 tablespoons of the beef and rice mixture onto a cabbage leaf. Fold the stem end of the cabbage over the filling. Then fold in the sides. Carefully roll the cabbage over to form a package, overlapping the ends to seal. Place seam side down in the casserole dish over top of the first layer of leaves. Repeat until you have fully lined your dish with a layer of cabbage rolls.
Pour half of the tomato sauce over the cabbage rolls.
Top with another layer of cabbage leaves, and then another layer of cabbage rolls. Pour the second half of the sauce over top. Finish by topping with any left over cabbage leaves.
Cover with foil and bake until cabbage is tender, about 1 1/2 hours.