Cabbage rolls are something I did not grow up eating, but something I thought about quiet a bit during my adult life. Not sure why the cabbage rolls were on the back burner for so long, but I have found my love for cabbage once again. If you have not tried the easy and humble fried cabbage and noodles that I recently made, maybe start there or better yet jump right into these cabbage rolls. I ended up making these cabbage rolls for a couple of reasons. One, I had a bunch of homemade salsa that was so delicious (but a lot), and I had a nice head of cabbage I wanted to use up. It was ultimately a win, win situation and got me to finally making cabbage rolls. These are probably not the traditional Eastern European style cabbage rolls, but pretty darn excellent cabbage rolls to boot.
Let’s get started.
- 1 large head of green cabbage, core removed
- 2 cups cooked and cooled rice, leftover rice works well
- 1 whole egg
- 1 1/2 lb ground beef
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- 1/2 tsp salt, to taste
- 1/2 tsp pepper, to taste
- 3 1/2 cups of salsa
Start by bringing a large pot of water to a boil.
While the water preheats, remove the core, keeping the cabbage intact, from the cabbage.
Add the head of cabbage to the boiling water, and submerge it. Boil the cabbage for about 2-3 minutes, then carefully remove it from the water. Peal away the outer leaves (careful as they will be hot) until you get some resistance from the leaves then submerge the head back into the boiling water for another 2-3 minutes, repeating the process until you have as many cabbage leaves as you need. Save all of the leaves on a plate until you are ready to stuff and roll the cabbage rolls.
Heat a skillet on medium heat. Add the oil, then toss in the diced onions. Sweat the onions for about 10 minutes. You are not looking for any caramelization on the onions. Next, add the rice, egg, and beef to a mixing bowl. Toss in those onions and start mixing as though you were getting some meatloaf mixture going.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Add some of your salsa, just enough to lightly coat the bottom of your baking dish, to the baking dish.
Take a cabbage leaf, and add a 1/2 cup of the meat mixture to the inside of the leaf. Form the mixture a bit, leaving an inch or so on each side so that you can roll the cabbage roll.
I begin rolling a bit to start the roll, then fold over each side, then completely roll. Place the seam side down into the baking dish.
Pour over the remaining salsa so that you cover all of the cabbage rolls. Cover, and bake for 60 minutes. Remove from the oven, keep covered, and let them sit for about 15 minutes. Why 15 minutes? Safety. These cabbage rolls will be ripping hot so be careful.
Use a spatula and serve out a roll or two. With these Mexican style cabbage rolls, you can serve with some sour cream, chips, and even guacamole.
As ugly as they are, they are totally delicious and the great thing about these is that you can really make them your own. Stuff them with a rice and veggie mixture, or some other type of mixture but I’m certain you will love them. I know my wife and I really did. Hope you enjoy!