I have never made anything like this before and for my first time, I'd say I did a pretty good job! These were almost like mini meatloaves wrapped in cabbage. The tomato sauce was really good, I highly recommend adding the raisins for that extra little something different. I will say that this is not a quick meal to throw together since there is some prep and it cooks in the oven for 2 hours but you can prep all of it ahead of time and refrigerate until you need to put it in the oven. I served these with Cauliflower "Mashed Potatoes" and it was the perfect pairing...that recipe is posted below.
Serves: 6-8 people
- 1 large head of cabbage, about 2 lbs
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 2 eggs
- 1 medium onion, finely minced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 cup uncooked rice (white or brown long-grain works best)
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 cup reserved chopped cabbage
- 2 (15oz) cans tomato sauce
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup brown sugar or coconut sugar
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 raisins (optional)
Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. While you wait for your water to boil, fill another large bowl with ice water. Cut as much of the cabbage core out from the bottom as you can and drop the entire head of cabbage in the pot of boiling water. Let the cabbage boil for 4-5 minutes, until the outer leaves begin to separate and soften. Remove the outer leaves and put in the ice water bath. Continue to remove the outer leaves, place in the ice bath and then lay them on a paper towel to dry.
Set aside 14-16 of the largest cabbage leaves and chop up about 1 cup of excess cabbage to add to your tomato sauce. Cut off any thick veins to make the cabbage easier to roll.
Combine ground beef, eggs, onion, garlic, salt, pepper and rice in a large bowl. Mix well. Lay out your cabbage leaves and place a cylinder of ground beef mixture at the bottom of each leaf. Fold in the side and roll up the leaves. At this point you can either set them aside while you make your sauce or cover and place them in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook them.
Melt butter over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute for 3 minutes. Add the reserved chopped cabbage and saute for another minute.
Add the tomato sauce, lemon juice, brown sugar and salt and pepper. Stir and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add optional raisins, stir and remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Put a layer of sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 glass dish, place cabbage rolls seam side down on top and top with the remaining sauce.
Bake for 2 hours and serve immediately.