You simply have to try this. It is a teeny bit time consuming but worth every minute. The cabbage rolls I remember – and it’s been a really long time – were stuffed with white rice and ground beef. These cabbage rolls are stuffed with ground beef and cauliflower rice so are therefore low carb, GAPS legal and paleo approved. I did all the work the night before. I made marinara from scratch, as always. I suppose you could buy a jar or two if you are short on time but the sauce is great and has no weird ingredients so I think it is worth the effort. I stuffed the cabbage rolls, put them in my crock pot, covered them and put them in the fridge overnight. In the morning all I did was cover the rolls with the marinara and set the temperature to low. I came home to an unbelievable aroma and a dinner ready to be devoured.
Paleo Cabbage Rolls
1 large head of green cabbage
Remove core and steam entire, intact head of cabbage in 1-2 inches of water for approximately 5-8 minutes. Set the cabbage in the water core down. There is a fine line between over cooking the leaves and leaving them still too stiff to be pliable. It is probably easiest to steam for 5 minutes, allow to cool enough so that you can peel off the outer leaves and then stem for another couple of minutes to soften the inner leaves. When you have the leaves soft but not too cooked and separated, set them aside.
2 T olive oil
1 large onion chopped
6-7 cloves of garlic, minced
2 stalks of celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 can tomato paste (6 oz)
1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz) or 2 cups chopped fresh
1 tsp dried basil
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 cups stock/bone broth, preferably homemade (I happen to use pork because that’s what I grabbed out of the freezer. Beef or chicken or whatever would work too)
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
2 tsp red wine vinegar/or fresh squeezed lemon juice
Heat large saute pan and add olive oil. Add onion, celery, garlic and carrots. Instead of hand chopping these I just put them all in the food processor using the S blade and made it into a fine meal consistency. It doesn’t really matter because you are going to blend the final sauce anyway. Saute until veggies are soft, approximately 10 minutes. Add tomato paste, diced tomatoes, salt, pepper, basil, oregano and stock. Simmer, covered for about 30 minutes then remove from heat. Add red wine vinegar/lemon juice. Start mixing the filling for the cabbage rolls now (See next section). When you are done making the filling and the marinara has cooled a bit, use a stick/immersion blender or even food processor to blend your sauce to a smoother marinara.
1 large finely chopped onion
2 T bacon grease or other fat of choice
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp Italian seasoning (this should be only herbs with no fillers or preservatives)
1 1/2 lbs of ground beef (I used grass-fed)
1/2 large head of cauliflower, grated in food processor (I guess this could be done with a box grater but I value my knuckles and time)
2 tsp sea salt
black pepper, however much you like
Saute onion and garlic in saute pan with fat. Cook until onions are starting to brown and are soft. In a large bowl combine raw beef, onions and garlic with remaining ingredients. Mix well. Using your hands is easiest.
Fill each cabbage leaf with about 1/4 cup of filling. Roll into cylinders and tuck flat edges under. Some of my smaller leaves were still a little stiff (this is why I think the steaming should be done in two steps) so the edges were not tucked. It didn’t matter. I just wedged the looser ones in between the tighter ones. I did all of this the night before and placed them in my crock pot, covered them and put them in the fridge overnight. In the morning, well mid morning, I pulled them out and covered the rolls with all the sauce. I set the crock pot to low and left the house. I came home to dinner ready and an absolutely amazing smell.