My mom makes killer stuffed cabbage rolls. I mean they are just fantastic. A flavorful meat mixture wrapped in delicate cabbage leaves and simmered for hours in a yummy tomato sauce. YUM! I’ve used her recipe a couple of times, and while the end result was quite delicious, the time and energy it took to get there was more than I wanted to spend. See in the original recipe, you have to core and boil the cabbage, then let it cool enough to take apart all of the leaves individually, then roll about a bajillion little rolls, then let it simmer for longer than I want to wait. I’m a little lazy by nature and frankly folks, this is all a little too much work for me. I usually only have about 15-20 minutes in the kitchen by myself before a three year old is trying to “help” me or asking for a snack and a 10 month old is down around my ankles or dumping the dog’s water bowl all over himself. I require meals that are get in and get out, if you know what I mean.
Enter the un-rolled cabbage casserole. It’s all the flavor of a cabbage roll without the boiling of the cabbage and the work of rolling. The original recipe also called for rice. I’m certainly not against rice, but I’m trying to get more veggies in our diet, so I substituted cauliflower instead. I know you’re probably thinking that doesn’t sound too appetizing but really it is. If you chop the cauliflower into tiny bits that resemble rice, you can hardly tell the difference. If you prefer rice instead, by all means, use rice. Sometimes I do, myself. You can use a 1/2 cup raw rice or 1 cup cooked rice.
I love making this in the summer when I have fresh cabbage and fresh tomatoes from my garden, but it also can be made any time of the year with canned or jarred tomatoes. My family loves this dish, children included. We hope you like it as much as we do.
Cabbage roll casserole
- 2 lbs ground beef or a mixture of ground beef and sausage grass fed is best
- 1 small head of green cabbage
- 1 cup cauliflower chopped very small to resemble rice or cooked rice(1/2 cup uncooked or 1 cup cooked)
- 1/2 c diced onion
- 2 cups diced tomatoes fresh or canned
- 2 cups jarred strained canned crushed tomatoes, or tomato sauce
- 1 T. + 1t. dried oregano
- 3 cloves garlic minced or pressed
- sea salt 1 1/2 t. divided and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Chop cabbage into bite sized pieces and put in a 9x13 casserole dish.
Sprinkle with a 1/2 t. salt and drizzle about 1 c. tomato sauce over the cabbage as well. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine meat, cauliflower or rice, onion, 2 c diced tomatoes, 1/2 t salt, garlic, and spices. Mix well with hands.
Spread meat mixture in an even layer over the cabbage.
Drizzle remaining 1 cup of tomato product over top.
Sprinkle 1/4 t salt and a generous amount of pepper on top.
Bake covered for 50 minutes and uncovered for 10 minutes. Make sure meat mixture is no longer pink before serving.
If your meat is not very lean, I would recommend draining off some of the grease that will accumulate on the sides. If you use lean grass fed beef, you shouldn't have much problem.