Photo courtesy of Sara Salahub http://www.sarasalahub.com

 

I have a bit of Ukrainian heritage and Semi-Primal Husband is 1/2 Hungarian, so we both grew up eating homemade cabbage rolls.  When I think of comfort food, it’s definitely one of the dishes that comes to mind.  The traditional cabbage roll uses rice as a filler, so I substituted ground cauliflower. This is actually really easy to make – the hardest part is getting the cabbage leaves off the cabbage in one piece.  

Ingredients (makes 10-12 cabbage rolls):
– 1 large head green cabbage 
– 1/2 head of cauliflower – ground up (use a food processor if you have one or chop finely and use your hands to shred it)
– 1 Lb ground pork (i also made a batch with ground beef which tasted just as good)
– 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
– 1/2 onion – chopped
– 3 garlic cloves – minced (about 2 Tbsp)
– 1 Tbsp flat leaf parsley – chopped
–  1 egg
– 725mL crushed tomatoes (~3 cups or 3/4 litre)
– 1/2 small can of tomato paste
– lots of fresh ground black pepper
–  2 Tbsp of olive oil

Directions:

  1. There are a few different ways to remove the leaves from the head of cabbage – I used this link to determine my weapon of choice.  I went with the microwave method: Cut 1 inch off the end (or you can remove the core like the picture in the link) of the cabbage.  Put it core side down in a microwave safe dish filled about 2 inches with water.  Microwave for 12 minutes.  Carefully remove, drain and start running under cold water.  Pull off the top couple leaves and put them aside to dry (you’ll need these later).  Start carefully peeling off the other leaves and set aside.  You may need to cut off more of the bottom once you get closer to the middle.  Let the leaves dry while you work on the other stuff.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 350
  3. In a small pot, put 1 Tbsp of olive oil.  Add 1 Tbsp of the minced garlic and saute for about 1 min.
  4. Add the crushed tomatoes and some ground pepper stir.  Bring to a simmer.
  5. Add the white wine vinegar and stir.  Let it simmer for about 5 more minutes.  This is your sauce.  Set it aside.
  6. In a large skillet, add 1 Tbsp of olive oil.  Add the onion and remaining garlic (1 Tbsp) and saute until soft.  
  7. Add the tomato paste, parsley and 1/4 cup of the sauce that you already made.  Stir and let it heat up for about 2 min.  Set it aside – this is for the cabbage roll filling.
  8. In a large bowl, combine the ground pork, egg, tomato/onion filling,  cauliflower and more ground pepper.  Mix together thoroughly with your hands.
  9. Line a large casserole dish with the couple larger outer cabbage leaves that you set aside. This will insulate your cabbage rolls when cooking and prevent them from burning.
  10. Take 1 of the other cabbage leaves and lay it down flat.  Make a slim cut to remove the center vein of the cabbage leaf – this will make it easier to roll and get rid of the tough part.  
  11. Add 1/2 cup of the meat filling to the center of the cabbage leaf. Starting at the stem end,  begin to roll while tucking in both sides.  Place it in the casserole dish seam-side down.
  12. Repeat with the other cabbage leaves – you should end up with about 10-12 rolls
  13. Pour the tomato sauce over top of your cabbage rolls and bake in the oven for 1 hour.
  14. Enjoy!

My Semi-Primal Husband provided the following testimonial, “WOW, these are so good.  Really really good.  This and the lasagna are my 2 new favourites.”