Mmm…cabbage, beef, spicy sausage in a rich tomato sauce. Potatoes, yams, and beets roasting in the oven with olive oil, garlic, and rosemary. A comforting combination for a very chilly day. Sometimes, I simply cannot face another green salad. I long for hearty, “grandma-like” meals and to me, a green salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar just does not fit into that category. Back in the day when I could eat dairy and slather my salad with blue cheese dressing, I was a lot more excited about eating my greens with every dinner. Now, I like to mix it up a bit and I’ve fallen in love with roasted vegetables. Roasting brings out their rich and deep flavors, giving them a completely different taste from steaming or sauteing. That earthy roasted flavor of the potatoes and root vegetables combined with the rich and spicy flavors of the stuffed cabbage is a taste explosion you won’t soon forget.
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup spinach, chopped
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup zucchini, diced
1 large head of cabbage, blanched with leaves separated (See Below)
1 1/2 teaspoons rosemary, chopped
1 Tbsp. thyme, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
about 3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. of ground extra lean beef
1/2 lb. gluten-free, dairy free – hot Italian sausage
2 cups rice blend (I use Rice Select Royal Blend – Texamati, Brown, Wild, and Red Rice)
Prepare vegetables, garlic and herbs, meat, and set aside.
Prepare rice according to package instructions.I leave the butter and salt out because I like to control the flavor in the rest of the dish.You can always add to it but it’s very difficult to take away too much salt.
Pour olive oil in a large dutch oven and heat over medium-high. Add onions, peppers, ground beef, and sausage to hot oil. Saute until meat is done. Add garlic, herbs, spinach, and zucchini, cooking for about five minutes more, until zucchini is softened and spinach is wilted. Salt and pepper to taste. I used about a tsp. of sea salt and 7 or so grinds of pepper.
Stir in rice, remove mixture from dutch oven and place in bowl, leaving any browned tidbits and drippings, set bowl and dutch oven aside.
Bring a medium-sized pot of water to a boil for the head of cabbage. Once it boils, turn down to medium and place cabbage in the water. While you’re waiting for the cabbage to loosen, prepare the tomato sauce.
2 cans fire roasted tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine, Merlot is best
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 1/2 tsp. thyme
Place all ingredients in blender and process until smooth. Set aside.
Remove the leaves from the cabbage with tongs as it starts to soften, draining them on paper towels. You won’t end up using the entire head of cabbage. I probably used about 10 or 12 leaves.
Fill each leaf with 1/2 cup of filling, rolling the cabbage over the filling and tucking the ends. Place in dutch oven seam side down.
Place them tightly so that they don’t fall apart during simmering.
Add sauce, place back on the stove and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 1 hour.
While the cabbage is simmering, prepare the roasted potatoes and root vegetables.
Roasted Potatoes and Root Vegetables
Preheat oven to 425 degrees
6 medium red potatoes
1 medium yam
3 medium to large beets
about 6 Tbsp. olive oil
about 3 Tbsp. garlic, chopped
1/2 Tbsp. rosemary leaves
sea salt and pepper to taste
Quarter potatoes, peel yam and beets. Cut yam and beets the same size as the quartered potatoes. Place on parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil sprinkle garlic and rosemary over the top. Salt and pepper (be generous) and toss.
Roast for 1 hour, stirring twice during cooking until vegetables and potatoes are browned and fork tender.