I have never had a cabbage roll, but the idea of it, and pictures of it, seemed pretty good. Then I started seeing recipes on Pinterest for cabbage roll casserole. They were described as being similar to cabbage rolls, but without the work of rolling. Bingo! I love anything that involves less work, especially these days!
This cabbage roll casserole does involve a little bit of time because of the preparation of the veggies and cooking rice in advance. But it was really simple to put together and is definitely doable for a weeknight dinner. And it would also be great for preparing in advance and cooking when you need it. As a matter of fact, because this makes so much and I was preparing it for just my husband and me, I divided the casserole into two dishes and froze half of it (before adding cheese and baking). When I was ready to eat the frozen dish, I defrosted it in the refrigerator for a day and then I just microwaved the portions I wanted.
Don't let the simplicity of this cabbage roll casserole fool you. It is delicious and full of great flavors! But another bonus is that it is a great low carb recipe. For this whole huge casserole, there is only 2 cups of brown rice, which makes it whole grain and also gluten-free. Plus, it is full of veggies!
So the bottom line is that this recipe is simplified, healthy, easy, and delicious. Even my husband, who is not a big fan of cabbage, gave me the "OK" to make this cabbage roll casserole again. Now you are officially out of excuses to not make this. Try it tonight!
1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp paprika
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp white vinegar
1 can (14 oz) Italian-style diced tomatoes, with juices
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
2 cups cooked brown rice (use 1 cup uncooked)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 head cabbage, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded
Brown ground beef in deep skillet or pot over medium-high heat until browned. Drain and rinse.
While beef is draining, saute onion in the same skillet or pot on medium heat for 3-4 minutes, until softened. Add garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
Return beef to skillet. Stir in thyme, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, and vinegar and cook for a few minutes before adding the tomatoes and tomato sauce. Swirl about 1/4 cup of water in the bottom of the tomato sauce jar and add that as well.
Let this simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in the cooked rice and remove from heat.
In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat and add the chopped cabbage. Cook, stirring frequently, until the cabbage is about half cooked. Add salt and pepper to taste and remove from heat.
Spread about 1/2 of the cabbage onto the bottom of a large greased casserole dish, pressing it down a bit with the back of a spoon.
Spoon half the beef mixture over the cabbage, then add the remaining cabbage and finish with the remaining beef mixture. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and sprinkle cheeses on top. Bake about 10 more minutes, until cheese melts.
Recipe from comfortablefood.com