As some of you may know, a large part of my diet involves frozen meals. I used to be a Lean Cuisine gal, but lately I’ve made the switch to the Healthy Choice steam-fresh meals, which are also usually on sale. I know, I know… maybe you’re disappointed in me, but between work and my gym routine there isn’t always time or motivation to prepare a wholesome meal! Anyway, one of my favorite Lean Cuisine dinners is the stuffed cabbage (I’d never had it before, so if a frozen dinner won me over that must really say something!), so I decided why not try making my own version at home? This meal turned out to be quite simple to prepare and easy to keep it pretty healthy.
I used a recipe from Gourmet that I found on Epicurious, but made a few substitutions to up the healthy-factor as well as based on ingredients I already had (sun dried tomatoes instead of dried cherries). I ended up making this on Sunday night and putting it right in the fridge so when I got home from spin class last night, my dinner was all ready to heat and eat! I simply steamed some asparagus and made mashed cauliflower (a go-to alternative for mashed potatoes! just steam a bag of frozen cauliflower and puree it with some milk and seasoning of your choice), and my dinner was complete!
- 1 large onion (1 lb), halved and thinly sliced crosswise
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 (28- to 32-oz) can whole tomatoes including juice
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup dried sour cherries (I used sun dried tomatoes)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
For stuffed cabbage
- 2 lb wrapped-heart mustard cabbage (2 heads)
- 1 lb ground chuck (I used ground turkey)
- 3 tablespoons long-grain rice (I used quinoa)
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1/4 cup grated onion
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Cook onion in oil in a 12-inch deep heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Add tomatoes with juice, lemon juice, brown sugar, cherries or sun dried tomatoes, salt, and pepper and simmer, uncovered, breaking up tomatoes into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon and stirring occasionally, 30 minutes.
Stuff cabbage while sauce simmers:
Immerse whole heads of cabbage, 1 at a time if necessary, in a large pot of boiling salted water and cook until leaves are tender but still hold their shape, about 5 minutes. Transfer cabbages with a large slotted spoon to a large bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking, then drain in a colander. Separate leaves, then cut off and reserve tough stem ends. Discard core. Pat leaves dry with paper towels.
Stir together ground meat, rice or quinoa, water, onion, salt, and pepper. Spread out 1 large cabbage leaf on a work surface and put 2 tablespoons filling in center. Fold both sides of leaf toward center (over filling), then fold stem over filling and roll tightly into a cylinder. Stuff remaining cabbage leaves in same manner, using less filling for smaller leaves. Chop any unused leaves and reserved stem ends and stir into simmering sauce.
Arrange stuffed cabbage rolls, seam sides down, in 1 layer over sauce and simmer, covered, 1 1/2 hours. Enjoy!