Monday, March 1, 2010

Stuffed Cabbage

Recently I've encountered a lot of recipes for stuffed cabbage. It's strange how certain foods appear in my life across various mediums (magazine/newspaper articles, menus at new restaurants, on the Food Network, etc.) all at once... It's like the universe is deliberately trying to feed me inspiration.

Anyway, I wanted to create a vegetarian version of stuffed cabbage. Typically, stuffed cabbage calls for rice and ground beef; however, I don't eat beef and therefore needed to come up with something different.

I've been eating a lot of quinoa lately so I figured this would work as a great base for my filling. I steamed a bag of spinach and added that to the quinoa along with a can of lentils and a dash of salt and pepper. That was all; simple, healthy and delicious, and not to mention total improve. I literally used whatever I had in my cabinet and fridge.

As I began pulling the cabbage leaves apart I felt that they were a bit firm, so I steamed those for a few minutes which made them softer, and therefore easier to roll and form.

Here's how it went...

Steamed cabbage leaf.

Cabbage leaf with filling

Stuffed cabbage leaves in a casserole dish.
Once rolled, I secured them each with a toothpick to hold the contents together.

I've noticed that most recipes for stuffed cabbage call for a topping of tomato sauce, so this is exactly what I did. I made a quick sauce (recipe below) and spooned it over the entire dish before baking in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Tomato Sauce:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 24 oz can crushed tomatoes
Salt, pepper and crushed hot pepper to taste
In a medium sauce pan, heat oil and add onion and garlic
and saute for about 3 minutes.
Add the can of tomatoes and let simmer until ready to use.
Could not be easier.

I have to say that this was really fun and easy to make and super delicious. It was the perfect comfort food I wanted for a lazy Sunday evening. I sprinkled a little Pecorino Romano cheese on top (how could you ever go wrong with PR?!) and I ate it immediately when it came out of the oven. It's also great as left overs. Brad just ate some more, or should I say devoured some more, and it was just as good if not better today.

I highly recommend making stuffed cabbage, either my way or your own way. Think of the cabbage leaves as an blank canvas - you can create your own masterpiece!