Unrolled Cabbage Casserole

I'm a foodie.  I LOVE a good meal.  Back in college when other kids were partying, I would be in my dorm perfecting my upside down baileys creme brulee.  Once a week I would invite friends over so I could work on the timing of preparing a meal so all elements were ready by the same time.  As the years have passed, my focus on cooking as gone towards a more healthy approach understanding that what we put in to our body helps fuel us for the day and affects our performance.  However, I'm a sucker for comfort food.   This recipe, the Unrolled Cabbage Casserole, comes from Health-Bent.  It is not the prettiest dish out there, and may take a while in the oven, but it more than makes up for it in taste.  And after it sits overnight in the fridge for the flavors to fully meld, you'll find yourself suddenly unwilling to share your left overs with anyone else.  

Let's cut to the chase, and get down to cooking.  Quick note my ingredient list is slightly adjusted from the original recipe because it's so gosh darn good, and also I like to have a healthy mix of layers so I want plenty of each element.  ALSO the original recipe calls for sugar, which I have simply omitted.  Don't worry, it still tastes awesome.  And as a result, BONUS: that makes this dish Whole 30 and Whole Life Challenge compliant.
 

Ingredients

  • 1 medium-large head green cabbage
  • salt

For the Meat

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dried onion flakes
  • 3/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • salt & pepper to taste

For the Sauce

  • 1 (28 oz) plus 1 (14 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic

Method

1. Preheat your oven to 350ºF.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a simmer.  While waiting for the pot to boil, core and cut the cabbage into very thin slices.

3.  Once the water is boiling, toss the cabbage into the water and let cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Strain the water from the cabbage and toss lightly with a bit of salt.  (The salt bit's important.)

4. Meanwhile, brown the beef and pork in a large pan over medium - medium/high heat.

5. While meat is cooking, you can pre mix and measure your spices into a small little dish so that as soon as the meat is cooked you can just dump it in.  Not a necessary step, but a great way for me to make sure I haven't forgotten anything since cooking with a 5mo in the kitchen can be a bit distracting.  

6. After meat is brown, add in your spices.  Combine well, then remove from heat and set aside.

7. For the sauce, you can open the can of tomatoes and mix the spices directly into the container(s). 

8. For the assembly, get out a high-sided casserole dish.  Pro tip: If you have a casserole dish with a lid, this is ideal.  That way after you enjoy, just throw the lid on the container to store the leftovers.

9, Place a layer of cooked cabbage on the bottom, then add a layer of meat, then a layer of tomato sauce. Continue layering until everything is used up.

10. Depending on how deep your casserole dish is, you’ll bake for about 1 to 1½ hours (I warned you it takes a while to cook) …until the cabbage is completely cooked through, the sides are a bit bubbly and the top tomato layers has turned a tad crusty (in a good way!).

This dish needs to rest for about 30 minutes before digging in, as the liquid that was expelled will reabsorb while resting.  And after all your patient waiting... DIG IN.

Nutritional Value (Serves 8)

  • Calories: 347
  • Carbs: 19g
  • Fat: 21g
  • Protein: 24g
  • Sodium: 1474g
  • Sugar: 10g