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When I was a kid, the only way to have cabbage was as chow-chow, sauerkraut, coleslaw, or cooked in an iron skillet with ham and bacon grease. And boy did I LOVE it. The taste of it was amazing! I don’t know, it was probably that it became kind of sweet in my mouth, and the texture was always just a bit crunchy, but not too crunchy?
As a teenager, I got introduced to kimchee. My father was a big fan of hot and spicy things. He said that he had enjoyed kimchee when he was in the Air Force during the Korean War, but that they made it quite differently over there. I tried it, and the heat kept me away. But the texture was still there and I continued to enjoy cabbage the ways I always had.
When you become an adult, all those things stick with you. And because you’re an adult, you can look into newer recipes and also make your own food – seasoned the way you like it. I like things with just a little bit of warmth to the tongue and a kick of flavor whenever possible. And since I love cabbage, I’ve been diving into new recipes for it. This happens to be one of them.
And the cool thing about this one? You can stuff a leaf of cabbage with anything you want or feel the desire for! You feel in the mood for Reuben – get some corned beef and hash and cook it up how you want and stuff those leaves! Feel like some Asian sweet and sour? Cook up your stir fry and stuff those leaves! Up for some meat-loafy flavor? Mix your base with some sweet peppers and stuff those leaves! Roast them all the same and top them with your favorite corresponding sauce for serving!
Now, I get my cabbage at the farmer’s market or the grocery store until mine are ready. And the heads may not be very large because they’re out of season. But, I got two small sized heads and they provided me enough for two full pans of stuffed cabbage rolls. I had the centers left for another recipe. No need to waste them!
For the meat, keep in mind that I still try to keep myself on a primarily vegetable-based diet, so where there are animal products listed in a recipe, I have usually modified it. Always keep in mind the Recipe Rules to Live By. Take any recipe and make it your own. So, instead of animal products, I had picked up a package of chorizo plant-based meat crumbles and mushrooms. I sauteed 8oz of hand-chopped mushrooms with maybe a ¼ cup of hand-chopped onion. Then, I added the chorizo meat. I stirred it all together and – Voila! My meat substitute was ready for the recipe.
- 16-18 large cabbage leaves
- 2 pounds meat or meat substitute
- 1 cup white rice uncooked / or cooked if you want to cut the oven time
- 1 large onion chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- Garlic powder to taste
- Onion powder to taste
- 2 tablespoon Parsley crushed
- 2 tablespoon Worcestershire
- 1 large egg or the equivalent egg substitute
For the pan:
- Spray on oil
- 1 can crushed tomato to coat the bottom of the pans
- 1 can roasted diced tomato
- Fill a large stockpot with water, bring to a boil.
- Take a paring knife, remove the core from the cabbage.
- Add the cabbage into the pot facing the core down. Turn the heat to medium-low. Boil for 8 to10 min.
- Slowly pull off leaves using your tongs and place them to drain.
- Preheat the oven or grill to 350° F.
- While cabbage is boiling mix the rest of the ingredients together.
- Coat a 9″x13″ pan with cooking spray.
- Place 1/2 of the tomato sauce in the bottom of the baking dish.
- Gently remove the cabbage leaf and put the meat mixture in the leaf and roll them up. I use the stem side last, place the meat opposite that, then gently fold in the sides and roll toward the stem side. This leaves the tough portion down in the bottom to get the most cooking.
- Once rolled, put the seam side down in the tomato sauce
- Top with remaining sauce. Cover with foil.
- Bake for 90 minutes or until cabbage is tender and meat is cooked.