Whenever I run to the grocery store to do my weekly food pick-up, I skim through my favorite blogs to see if there are any recipes that inspire me. This week I was looking for something that was going to be heavy on flavor and comfort but light on the carbs. I stumbled upon SmittenKitchen’s “Alex’s Mom’s Stuffed Cabbage.”
Cabbage isn’t really normally part of my cooking repertoire but that’s silly because it is such a versatile ingredient and is chock-full of nutrients. You might be surprised to know that a half cup of raw cabbage contains as much as 30% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C.
With all this in mind, I decided to try out the stuffed cabbage idea. I did not use any rice or vegetables typically seen in the filling of an old world stuffed cabbage dish, rather I created a much more Italian inspired, cabbage-wrapped meatball concoction. Why not use inspiration to create something new out of something traditional?
My version of a stuffed cabbage is a great for those of us cutting down on carbs in anticipation of bathing suit season but don’t want to miss out on a filling meal. It also brings a whole lot of protein to the table while staying low-fat. I used ground turkey meat instead of beef (buffalo is also leaner than beef if you’re looking to stick with red meat). Finally, I used low-fat ricotta and Parmesan cheeses to keep the fat count down. This dish also keeps really well if you want to nosh on it over the course of a week.
You could make my hybrid recipe as is or you could make a twist of your own. Maybe a toothpick grabbing mini stuffed cabbages as appetizer? Or just make meatballs and nix the cabbage altogether. You could also come up with a different sauce (maybe something creamy) or a different filling.
Check out the recipe below, I guarantee you will not be disappointed. And it makes the house smell fantastic.
1lb ground turkey
1 savoy cabbage
1/2 cup low-fat ricotta
1/2 cup low-fat Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup panko or bread crumbs (I used gluten-free)
2 garlic cloves minced
1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce
1/2-3/4 cup of red wine
3-8 tbsp cooking oil
1 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
- fill a 3-Quart or large pot 2/3 with water and let it boil. Meanwhile cut out the heart of the cabbage. If you are not sure how to do this, reference this site.
- When water is boiling, place whole savoy cabbage in the pot, let sit for 10 minutes or until pliable–you will be using the leaves to wrap
- lay out a large cooking sheet with paper towels and place cabbage leaves out on the cooking sheet to dry after removing from the water. Set aside.
- Meanwhile in a large bowl combine: ground turkey, ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, egg, panko/bread crumbs, minced garlic, dried oregano and a pinch of salt and pepper. Once combined roll into 1 -1 1/2 inch balls. Place in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.
- Once meatballs have chilled, take an individual, dried cabbage leaf and place one meatball an inch from the base (closest to your body). roll leaf away from your body, halfway down the leaf fold left and right side into center of leaf, finish rolling to the end of the leaf. Repeat this process for each meatball and set aside.
- Heat a large pot to medium high heat. Once hot, place 2-3 tbsp of cooking oil, then after the oil has heated all the way through add the stuffed cabbages. Be sure to give the cabbages enough room in the pot, you do not want the cabbages touching one another or that will affect the cabbage’s ability to brown.
- Flip the cabbages once they have browned then remove from the pot. Repeat this process until all of the cabbages have browned, adding more oil between batches.
- Once all the cabbages have browned, keeping the heat on, add the red wine and deglaze the pot.
- After a minute, add the jar of tomato sauce and a 1/3 cup of water as the sauce will reduce.
- Add cabbages back to the pot and bring up to a simmer.
- Simmer, uncovered for 1 hour.
- Eat, enjoy!