Quinoa Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

???????????????????????????????Last week in my Fresh Fork Market bag I received 2 small cabbage heads, beautifully light green and crisp.  All week long I have contemplated my first-ever attempt at cabbage rolls, wondering if I could make them as yummy as the ones others have prepared that I have enjoyed.  Cabbage rolls are not simple, but neither are they extremely difficult.  Tonight finally afforded me the time and energy to take on this new food challenge.

First step, find a recipe.  An online search revealed several options, of course.  I could not settle on a specific recipe so finally decided to make up my own from the features I liked in several recipes.  I know, not the wisest choice for someone who has never made them before!  But I like to be my own cook, my own person, as they say. Plus, I like to force myself to use what I have in my cupboards already, unless it is impossible to make adequate substitutions. So, to be honest, I am writing this blog at a late hour because I am afraid I will not remember what I did while making these cabbage rolls; thus, I need to write it down for my own future reference!

???????????????????????????????Second step, carefully separate the cabbage leaves and remove the hard stem portion with a sharp knife.  Then cook/wilt the leaves in boiling water for 2-4 minutes.  Drain and set aside.

Third step, prepare the filling.  Here’s where I modified the recipes.  The filling calls for rice.  I had a small amount, but not enough.  So I opted for a Near East Quinoa/Brown Rice Mix with a seasoning packet I had on hand.  I prepared it according to the directions and then proceeded with the recipe.  Here’s what went in the filling:

  • ???????????????????????????????1 lb. traditionally seasoned pork sausage, uncooked (can use lean ground turkey or ground beef)
  • Some chopped onion, to your liking ( I used about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp. condensed tomato bisque soup
  • the cooked quinoa blend

I mixed this thoroughly, using my hands, until it was well blended.  Then I scooped the mixture into the cabbage leaves, rolled each leaf up like a burrito, and placed it carefully in a glass 13×9 pan, positioning each stuffed cabbage leaf closely to the next one.

Fourth step, cover the stuffed leaves with sauce.  One recipe I looked at used tomato sauce, another tomato soup.  I had neither.  I did have a can of tomato bisque soup.  After using the 2 Tbsps above, I added about 1/2 cup sour cream to the remaining condensed soup and stirred this well.  Add a little more sour cream or water if it needs to be thinned out.  (Next time I will make a little more sauce to pour over the rolls before baking them.) Spoon this over the cabbage rolls, then bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or more, until meat is thoroughly cooked.

I have read cabbage rolls freeze well, which is my intent.  However, I couldn’t help but taste one as soon as it was cool enough.  I was surprised and excited at the flavorful result. Thanks, Fresh Fork, for once again expanding my experience and appreciation for fresh delicious food.

I know I have not provided this recipe (or other recipes on my blog) in a specific format or with a printable option.  I hope this does not create a difficulty for anyone.  Primarily I view this blog as an idea blog, something to encourage your creativity and mine as we cook, rather than simply providing recipes.  Hopefully a few of my ideas will spur you on to try a few of your own as well!

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