Flavorful cabbage casserole has all the flavors of stuffed cabbage, but requires much less work. Leftovers are delicious, warmed up or at room temperature.
My grandma Chava (Eve in Hebrew) used to make amazing stuffed cabbage leaves. The cabbage leaves were stuffed with a mixture of beef and rice, then cooked lovingly in tomato sauce. Grandma’s stuffed cabbage leaves were delicate, flavorful, and laborious.
Grandma’s entire life revolved around cooking for us, her kids and grandkids, and feeding us. She made complex recipes and basically slaved over the stove the entire day. She didn’t mind – that was what she did, and our pleasure when eating her food was her reward.
I belong to a different generation. I still expect my food to taste good, but I also expect it to be easy and quick. I almost never make complicated recipes.
That’s why I love this cabbage casserole so much. It has all the wonderful flavors of stuffed cabbage, but it requires much less work.
My own version of cabbage casserole is low carb, so I don’t use rice. This cabbage casserole comes out so good, I seriously doubt the rice is even needed. I don’t think you’ll miss it at all.
As I was cooking this cabbage casserole, I decided at the last minute to add a pinch of cayenne, and was rewarded with subtle heat that really enhances the casserole.
I like to use the Pomi brand of chopped tomatoes in this cabbage casserole and in other recipes, because the packaging is BPA free, the tomatoes contain no added sugar or salt, and because these Italian tomatoes are sweeter than American canned diced tomatoes.
But if you can’t find this brand in your grocery store, simply use drained diced tomaotes.
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 medium green cabbage, roughly chopped (1 lb. raw, 4 cups cooked)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 lb. 85% lean ground beef
- 1 medium onion, 6oz, chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 (26 oz container) Pomi chopped tomatoes, drained (22 oz after draining); or equivalent amount of drained diced tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella (4 oz)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 2-quart (7 X 11-inch) baking dish with olive oil.
- Place the chopped cabbage in a colander. Wash it but do not dry. The water adhering to the cabbage will allow it to steam. Place in a large pot, cover, and turn heat to high. When cabbage starts to steam, lower heat to medium and steam until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well.
- Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, about 3 minutes. Add the beef and the onion and cook until beef is browned, about 5 minutes, stirring and breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon. Add the garlic, paprika, thyme and cayenne and cook 30 seconds, stirring.
- Add the drained tomatoes, salt and pepper. Continue to cook, stirring often, 5-10 minutes, or until liquids have evaporated. Turn heat off and stir in the cooked cabbage until well-incorporated.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish, pressing on it to flatten. Sprinkle with the cheese. Bake, uncovered, 30 minutes, until casserole is bubbly and cheese is browned. Carefully tilt baking dish into the sink and pour out any extra liquid. Allow to rest 10 minutes before cutting and serving.