Friday, 19 October 2012


A recipe for cabbage rolls can only mean one thing: I was craving comfort food.

When I think of cabbage rolls, I'm reminded of my childhood, of home, of my mother and my grandmother cooking late into the night. Cabbage rolls are one of those classic dishes you don't serve to dinner guests, but share with family.

Keeping with my Whole30, these cabbage rolls don't contain rice or any grain, for that matter. Instead, I used nutrient dense butternut squash and spinach, making these cabbage rolls a fabulously healthy addition to your fall menu.

All right, so my cabbage rolls don't photograph well (at all), but they're delicious nonetheless!

Cabbage Rolls with Butternut Squash & Spinach

1 cabbage
2 cups ground pork
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 cup butternut squash, cubed & roasted
1 1/4 cups chopped spinach
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1 cup crushed tomatoes
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
salt and pepper

1. Separate cabbage leaves. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop cabbage leaves in the pot and let cook for 3-4 minutes. Drain well and set aside to cool.

2. For the filling, heat a pan with olive oil. Add the onions and sauté until softened. Add the ground pork and cook through.

3. In a large bowl, combine onions and pork, squash, spinach, garlic, and the rest of the seasoning ingredients. Mix well.

4. In a large crock pot, pour 1/3 of the crushed tomatoes and spread around so the entire bottom of the pot is covered.

5. Place a small portion of the filling in the centre of each cabbage leaf and roll leaf around filling (like rolling a burrito, since you do that all the time, uh). Neatly pack filled cabbage rolls in the crock pot. After completing one layer of cabbage rolls, pour another 1/3 of the crushed tomatoes to completely cover the rolls. Continue to fill and pack cabbage rolls, and finish with the last 1/3 of the crushed tomatoes completely covering the very top of the rolls.

6. Season with red pepper flakes and salt and pepper. Turn crock pot on low-setting and let cook for 6-8 hours.

Makes 20-25 small cabbage rolls.

Try This: There are different ways to prepare the cabbage leaves (and I think I took the more difficult route). If I am correct, you can actually cook the entire cabbage head and then separate the leaves, rather than the other way around. This might make separating the leaves easier, and therefore avoid rips and tears along the way.

The alternative to making cabbage rolls in a crock pot is, of course, the oven. The standard temperature and cook time for (most) recipes is 350 degrees F for 40-45 minutes. 

What's your go-to comfort food?

DISCLAIMER: I am not a nutritionist, physician, or any kind of health professional. Everything that you find on my blog is based on my own knowledge and opinion. If you require specific health and fitness advice, please seek a qualified health professional.

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