My mom and I must have been thinking with the same brain this week. At the grocery store the other day, I picked up a head of cabbage, without forethought as to how I would use it. It just called out to me, looking so green and pretty, and I knew I could come up with something.
My mother called me the next day, asking what seasonings I put in my cabbage stew. Unfortunately, before I started this blog, I never really kept track of my kitchen creations and, most of the time, they were never the same twice. Sometimes my chilli had rosemary, sometimes it had lots of garlic. Sometimes it had both. The cabbage stew I made around St. Patrick's day last March? It probably had about 5 different herbs in it, but I can't quite remember what they were! In any case, we were both dining on cabbage this week, though I had decided to try my hand (literally) at making cabbage rolls.
I had an idea to make them somewhat Asian-style, sweet and sour, with granny smith apples. So, last night, with my dissertation proposal behind me (Yay! On to data collection!), I set to work on a creating my first cabbage roll feast.
What I finally came up with turned out to be a success, but I am still playing with ideas to make them even more spectacular. If anyone has any good ideas, shoot them my way!
Cabbage is really healthy, especially for those of us on an anti-inflammatory diet! It has high levels of glutamine, which reduces inflammation in the body. I have been taking glutamine in a supplement form for a few months now, since it is easily depleted when you keep an active, athletic lifestyle. The lentils add a significant amount of fiber and iron to this meal.
Vegetarian, gluten free cabbage rolls:
1 head green cabbage
2 cups cooked brown rice (about 1 cup dried)
1 cup cooked lentils (about ½ cup dried)
1 med granny smith apple, diced finely
½ med sweet onion, diced finely
2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon ginger
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Two large eggs
Mix all of the ingredients together, except for the cabbage. Core the cabbage and peel off the outermost leaves. Place the entire head in a large pot of salted, boiling water and cook until the outer leaves turn bright green. The outer leaves should begin to pull off nicely. Take the pot off the heat and peel off the first couple of leaves. The outer leaves will be cooked and tender, but as you work your way into the head, the inner leaves are less cooked. Leaving the head in the hot water as you roll the “done” leaves will soften the inner leaves as you go.
Line a large baking dish with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 400F.
Slice the ribbing out of the leaves (slicing the leaves in half at the rib). Orient the leaf half horizontally, so that where the rib used to be is farthest from you. Place about a ¼ cup of the mixture onto the leaf edge closest to you, fold the sides in, and roll over (like rolling a burrito). Place the roll into the baking dish, seam side down. Repeat with remaining leaves until you fill your baking dish(es).
(I only did one dish, but could have filled at least two. I decided to chop up the remaining cabbage and mix with the remaining rice mixture, filling three souffle dishes. These I baked at 400 for about 30 minutes for another version of rice gratin (and another night's meal!).)
Bake uncovered at 400F for about 30 minutes. The rolls will slightly brown on top.
Serve with this dipping sauce, or your favorite!
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
2 Tablespoons agave nectar
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
2 garlic cloves, minced
Mix all the ingredients well in a small bowl and refrigerate while you make the cabbage rolls.
Post-publication P.S.: I just noticed that Gluten Free For Good's most recent post is on cabbage! Read more about the health benefits of cabbage there!