Out of nowhere the other day, I was suddenly craving stuffed cabbage. I don’t know why. Nobody had mentioned it, I hadn’t seen it anywhere, it had been completely and totally off my radar so far this winter. That said, I was just about to go to the grocery store, when inspiration struck, and I had to change up my list to accommodate my craving.
I’m really trying to stick with my New Year’s resolution to bring a lot more healthy into my diet (which seemed to fall apart over the holidays), so even though I was craving delicious, old-fashioned, comforting cabbage rolls, I looked for a recipe that might not be so heavy and sabotage all of the hard work I’ve done this week. I was excited to come across a Weight Watchers friendly recipe that looked authentic, and tasty, so I gave it a try.
I started by wrapping eight leaves of Savoy cabbage in some wet paper towel and microwaving them for a couple of minutes, just to soften them up a bit for rolling. As the cabbage was cooking, I mixed together my filling ingredients.
Into a large bowl went a half pound of lean ground beef, some uncooked white rice, seasoned breadcrumbs, a diced onion, a shredded carrot, a few cloves of minced garlic, an egg white, salt, pepper, and a dash of water.
I combined all of that, using my hands, and then it was time to start rolling! I took each slice of softened cabbage, and cut out the thicker, white part of the spine of each leaf, to help it fold a bit easier. Then, I placed about a quarter of a cup of the meat mixture in the middle of each leaf.
I brought up the bottom of the leaf over the meat, then folded in the sides as best I could (some leaves proved harder than others), and then tucked the top of the leaf over the little package. They looked like little cabbage burritos.
Then, I heated a couple of teaspoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Once the oil was hot, I carefully placed my cabbage rolls in the pan. I sautéed the rolls on each side, carefully turning with a large fork, until they were browned up just a bit.
Once they had browned all over, I poured two cans of diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano over the top of the cabbage rolls. I scooted the rolls around a bit, letting some of the tomatoes fall around and under the rolls.
When the mixture came to a boil, I reduced the heat to as simmer, and popped the lid on the pan. The rolls cooked for an hour, and I checked them every fifteen minutes or so, just making sure they weren’t sticking to the pan at all. They never did.
I remember having mashed potatoes with cabbage rolls as a kid, so that’s always the side dish I think of serving with them. Creamy, rich mashed potatoes aren’t exactly on my diet, though, so I substituted another family favorite…mashed cauliflower! If you’re looking for a recipe for mashed cauliflower, check out this one. Mine was a bit less fancy, none of the cream cheese or Parmesan used in this recipe, but this one does sound delicious. I made two heads of cauliflower because one is never enough for my family!
Mission accomplished! These lightened up little guys certainly did curb my cabbage roll craving. They were a delicious alternative to the traditional, and my whole family enjoyed their comforting coziness on a chilly night.
LIGHTENED UP STUFFED CABBAGE ROLLS
Adapted from Weight Watchers
- 8 leaves uncooked Savoy cabbage
- 1/2 lb. lean ground beef
- 1/2 cup long grain white rice
- 2 Tbsp. water
- 1/4 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
- 1 large carrot, shredded
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large egg white
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 2 (14.5 oz.) cans diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano
- Rinse off the cabbage leaves, and place them on a plate. Wrap the plate in damp paper towels, and microwave on high for 2-3 minutes, until the leaves are soft and pliable. Cut off the thickest white portion of the spine of each leaf, and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the beef, rice, water, bread crumbs, carrot, onion, garlic, egg white, salt and pepper. Mix well.
- Spoon about 1/4 cup of the meat mixture onto the center of each cabbage leaf. Bring the bottom of the leaf up over the meat, fold in the sides, and bring the top portion of the leaf over the top, wrapping the meat like a little package. Don’t wrap them too tightly. The rice will expand as they cook, filling the rolls.
- Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the cabbage rolls and cook until browned on all sides, carefully turning them over every minute or so.
- Add the tomatoes to the pot, shift the rolls a bit so that some of the tomato goes under the rolls. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pot, and allow to cook for 1 hour, until cooked through. Check on them every fifteen minutes or so just to make sure they aren’t sticking to the pan.
- Two rolls per serving. 7 WW Points Plus per serving.