Wednesday, January 27, 2016

First Time Cabbage Rolls

With food prices soaring, we're eating a fair amount of frozen vegetables, instead of fresh ones. Fear not, despite what many have said, they are just as nutritious! My boyfriend, Bill,  went shopping the other day to pick up a few items and came home with a large cabbage. The previous one was made into cabbage soup and many days of raw cabbage salads and steamed cabbage and mixed vegetables. 

Thanks to Google I was able to type in "what to make with a head of cabbage" and cabbage rolls popped up. I love watching Youtube cooking videos because I am definitely a visual person. Just giving me instructions to cook doesn't always work.  So I came across Jenny Jones' Cabbage Rolls recipe. A couple seconds into the video, it occurred to me that this woman not only looks identical but also sounds like the famous talk show host "Let's Do A Makeover" Jenny Jones! I didn't know she was a cook, so this was a surprise.

Just a few things to note.

  • We used some different ingredients that suited us best, so i'll show the recipe below and what we used. Tweak to your tastes and I am sure these cabbage rolls will still turn out amazing.
  • We have also done this recipe many times without any meat, so it's vegetarian, just with rice and lentils. 
  • Be cautious when taking out the cabbage from the boiling water!
  • It took longer than 10 minutes for the cabbage we bought to soften enough to peel the top layer off and after a few layers in, we put it back into the boiling water for another 5 minutes to soften more.

Cabbage Rolls

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Makes: 16 to 24


1 large head of cabbage (about 3 lbs.) – or use 2 smaller heads
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 cup diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced   Used a variety of Epicure spices to sprinkle into the meat mixture
2 large mushrooms, finely diced - 1 1/2 cups (optional) Bill does not like any 'shrooms
1 pound ground sirloin   we used extra lean ground beef
3/4 cup uncooked long grain rice 
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 cup Pomi strained tomatoes or canned tomato puree   Large can of Hunts Tomato Sauce (look for low sodium kinds!)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
pepper to taste
3/4 cup liquid (beef stock, cabbage water, or combine with some leftover tomato for 3/4 cup)


Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cut center core out of cabbage and place, core side down, in boiling water. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

While cabbage simmers, heat oil in pan over med-high heat and sauté onion and garlic 3-5 minutes until browned. Add mushrooms and cook another 2 minutes. Transfer mixture to a large bowl to cool.

Remove cabbage to a rimmed baking sheet, keeping water in the pot. Gently remove leaves from cabbage, cutting away from the core with a small knife. Set aside the best 16 unbroken leaves and cut off the thick spine in the center for easier rolling. Set all remaining broken or small cabbage leaves aside. (If the core is too firm, return it to boiling water for a few minutes to soften)

Preheat oven to 350° F.

To cooled onion mixture, add meat, rice, parsley, tomato, salt & pepper. Combine well.

Place about 1/4 cup of filling in each leaf, roll, and place seam side down in a 13 by 9-inch pan. Pour liquid over rolls and lay some leftover leaves on top. Cover pan tightly with foil, and bake for 1 1/2 hours. (Place pan on a cookie sheet in case it drips)

Remove from oven and let rest 30 minutes or better still, refrigerate overnight. 

Smelling these from the oven, we couldn't wait to eat them. After that we let the rest cool, put some in the fridge, delivered a couple to a friend who was ill, gave my parents some to try, and the rest went into the freezer!

Taken out of the oven

Ready to eat

Thanks again to Jenny Jones for a terrific recipe that we'll be making again since we just purchased another cabbage!

If you make these cabbage rolls, send me an email, or leave a comment on this post, letting me know how they turned out and what tweaks you made to this recipe!

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