unstuffed cabbage roll casserole.

Happy Friday! It felt like such a long week, didn’t it? We’re nearing the end of harvest season (sniff!), but there are still many delicious, in season vegetables to choose from at your local markets and farm stands. One of the hardiest being cabbage. I don’t know about you, but up here in New York, cabbage grows like a weed. At my local market, you can buy a huge head of green (also called white) cabbage for a measly dollar. I’m talking an overly inflated basketball sized cabbage. Now, I’ve shown you that leftover cabbage is easily thrown into a smoothie, but how many dishes out there highlight cabbage as one of the main ingredients? Besides coleslaw I mean….

If you thought ‘cabbage rolls’, you and I are thinking along the same lines! Maybe it’s my Polish heritage, but I love a good, simple cabbage roll. Delicate leaves stuffed with rice, beef and onions, and cooked slowly in a simple tomato sauce. Mm! Just the thing to warm you up on a chilly day. Not surprisingly, cabbage rolls take a little patience and finesse to make properly, and I was feeling mighty lazy and just not up to the task of making them. What’s a girl to do? Why, deconstruct them of course! This ‘unstuffed cabbage roll casserole’ is the end result of that thought. I know, the name of it is a tongue twister, but I wanted something that would accurately reflect the dish. If I had called it ‘cabbage roll casserole’, I was concerned people would assume that it was full of actual cabbage rolls, and who wants to be disappointed before they eat?? Hello, HANGRY (hunger + anger = me way too often).

This recipe is perfect for when you want the yumminess of cabbage rolls, but want the convenience of a casserole. I hope you try it out and it warms you up on the chilliest of October days! Bonus – this is gluten free and healthier thanks to the brown rice. So you can have seconds without the guilt! Or you can sneak extra forkfuls standing over the stove after dinner… it happens!

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unstuffed cabbage roll casserole.
inspired by giverecipe.com.

cabbage

ingredients

1.25 pounds cabbage, chopped into 1 inch by 1 inch pieces (about 3 cups)
1/2 pound lean ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 14 oz. can petite diced tomatoes with juice
1/4 cup plain tomato sauce (see note)
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 1/4 cup cooked brown rice
1 tablespoon lemon juice

directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Chop cabbage into one inch pieces. Blanch them in boiling water for about five minutes, until just barley tender. Drain and set aside.

Heat a skillet over medium heat and add ground beef. Cook until browned, and add in onions, garlic, Italian seasoning, sea salt and pepper (add in a touch of olive oil if it seems dry) and cook until onions are soft and translucent, about five to ten minutes. Be careful to not burn the garlic.

Add tomato paste and cook for an additional minute, stirring consistently. Add in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and stir well.

Add in chopped parsley, lemon juice, cooked rice and blanched cabbage. Stir well to combine, and lower heat to low. Cook for 5 minutes longer.

Spray a casserole dish with olive oil cooking spray. Pour the mixture into dish and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Serves 4.

Note: Use plain tomato sauce that often comes in cans near the diced/canned tomato products. It is usually thin, unseasoned sauce. Do not use pasta/spaghetti sauce.

**Please use all organic ingredients wherever possible**

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