Cabbage keeps turning up on Pinterest and blogs I follow. And it's just so. darn. cheap. So I've had cabbage on the brain and no real idea how to make rolls but I'm stubborn. And snowed-in.
I'm not sure if I've ever actually even had a true cabbage roll. Here's a true story about them though: when I was living in Orlando, three of my coworkers spent two days desperately trying to convince me to come over and have a party and eat cabbage rolls. I swore I hated cabbage rolls and didn't want to go. Eventually I caved and told them I'd go if I could wear my PJs. They said mayyyyybe I should wear normal clothes. Or even dress up just a little. I showed up for dinner and...
Bam! Surprise bachelorette party. Awkward.
So there were no cabbage rolls. In fact, we went out for fajitas and margaritas, which is kind of the opposite of cabbage rolls.
Anyways. The idea I had in my head included a tangy, sweet tomato sauce and super soft cabbage rolls wrapped around a decadent filling. Without cheese or rice. So I cooked up some ground turkey and went in search of the perfect cabbage roll recipe.
My first stop was smitten kitchen, because I just knew Deb would have the sauce of my dreams. Except this is what I found under ingredients:
"3 to 4 cups of your favorite simple tomato sauce, tomato juice or V8"
Noooo! So I found these Paleo Stuffed Cabbage Rolls from Mom Gone Paleo and just began tweaking on my own. What I came up with is exactly what I was going for but it was via the "a little bit of this, a dash of that" method, so feel free to tweak to your own preference.
1 large head of cabbage, cored
1 pound ground meat of choice, cooked but slightly pink
2 stalks celery, diced
1 can mixed veggies
1 yellow onion, diced
1-1 1/2 C chicken or veggie stock
2 cloves garlic, mined or diced
1 tbsp oil
1/2 can tomato paste
2 tbsp vinegar
1 cup frozen spinach
2 tbsp sugar
1. Steam or boil cabbage until leaves are tender. I cooked mine for way too long but it was still tasty and maybe easier to eat - less crunchy, more tender leaves.
2. Heat oil over medium low eat and add onions and garlic, cooking until fragrant and tender.
3. Add tomato paste, sugar, vinegar and stock to thin. Bring to a boil and then decrease heat to simmer for 5 minutes.
4. Reserve 1/2 of the sauce in a small bowl. Set aside.
5. Add meat, spinach and veggies and allow to cook on low for another 5 minutes.
6. Line a glass baking dish with 2-3 outer leaves of cabbage and begin peeling leaves off to stuff.
7. Place 1-2 tbsp of filling mixture in each leave and wrap like a burrito. Place seam-down in prepared baking dish, squeezing rolls tightly together.
8. Spoon reserved sauce over the rolls and preheat oven to 350.
9. Cover baking dish with foil and bake 10-15 minutes until heated through.
10. Allow to cool, and enjoy!