Project 12: Month 11: Cabbage Rolls w/ Jalapenos and Beans

Cabbage Rolls Served

Blue Cabbage
Single Cabbage Roll
All Rolled Up
Cabbage Rolls - pre-bake
Cabbage Rolls Baking
Cabbage Rolls Finished
This month — yet another favorite but with a twist… cabbage rolls but with beans 🙂  — I’m sure everyone is excited about that! For the past couple months, I’ve been upping my fibre (fiber?) intake and lowering my sugar intake, and I’m a fan of refried beans, so figured this would be a good experiment – have been revisiting ‘Cooking for Geeks’ – speaks my lingo and advocates experimenting similar to how you would carry out tests back in Chemistry class.Well anyway, back to the Cabbage Rolls – way back when I was a kid, I was in and out of McMaster Hospital after being hit by a car (I thought I could stop it with my head, but I was wrong…), and I used to always run down to the cafeteria hoping they would cabbage rolls in the cafeteria – I can still picture café and the section where they used to serve them – I wonder what that café looks like now! (Anyone able to get a picture??)So over the years, I eventually started making cabbage rolls myself. It used to be so daunting! but overtime, I’ve been able to get it down to pretty quick recipe.  To start, you need the following Ingredients:

  • 1 Head of Cabbage
  • 1 medium size tomato, diced
  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • 1tbsp crushed garlic
  • 450g Extra-lean ground beef
  • 500mL Tomato Sauce
  • 1 medium Jalapeno pepper, diced finely
  • 1/2 can refried black beans (can omit or substitute non-refried)
  • 1/2 cup uncooked brown rice
  • Oregano (as desired)

As you can see, over time, I’ve added some ‘non-standard’ items like the jalapeno pepper and substituted brown rice for white.  I even used Red cabbage this time for the first time – which, who knew, turns blue when you boil it!

The rest of the steps can be done in parallel – otherwise it can seem to take forever.

Step 1: Boil the Cabbage
In a big pot, dunk in a head of raw cabbage into boiling water. Once the cabbage is done (wait for a bright blue color) after about 25min, remove it from the pot, let it cool, and peel off as many leaves as you need. Best to cut the leaf from the base. If you need you can put the cabbage back in the water after rooming some leaves, to cook some more, and I suppose you could use the remainder water as food coloring too.

Step 2: Prepare filling
In a skillet, heat some oil, then add the onions, crushed garlic, and ground beef, continuing to stir occasionally until the beef is done.  Add in the diced tomato, jalapeno, refried black beans, brown rice, oregano, and a quarter cup water.  Mix it together thoroughly, and then let it simmer until the rice is done.

Step 3. Make the Rolls
This is a bit time consuming. First cover the bottom of a casserole dish with tomato sauce. Then divide the filling amongst the leaves.  I find it easiest to add the filling at the base of the leaf (the harder part), then roll it slowly, turning the sides in like a you would when making a wrap. As you finish a roll, place it into the dish, coat with the remaining tomato sauce, bake in a preheated oven at 350F for 30 min and Voila! High Fibre, low sugar, high protein – gone in 2 days…

Total time – about 1 hr 15 incl. prep time.

3 thoughts on “Project 12: Month 11: Cabbage Rolls w/ Jalapenos and Beans

  1. These look fantastic Rahim! Just a few quick questions… what type of tomato sauce are you using? Is it homemade or canned? Homemade is best of course but if you are using “canned” try to use ones in glass jars instead. Tomatoes are acidic so it will leach out any chemicals or metals from the cans. Also, unless the cans specifically say it is BPA free, it will most likely have BPA (bisphenol A) lined inside the cans. You want to avoid BPA because it mimics the hormone estrogen. You DON’T want excess estrogen in your body. Studies have shown BPA interferes with reproductive development and linked to cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Actually not too long ago there was a study that was released a couple of months ago from Harvard. I believe it was published in the Journal of American Medical Association.

    My other comment is regarding garlic. Make sure after you’ve chopped/minced them to let them sit for about 5-10 minutes before using. This gives it time to release the medicinal property allicin, found in garlic. Garlic is great for cardiovascular health.

    Hmm, now I’m craving cabbage rolls! 😀

    1. Thanks Suz 🙂 I usually have homemade sauce, but this time I used tomato sauce from a jar. Fluke though – didn’t know about avoiding canned versions but will do from now!
      Generally use pre-crushed garlic from trader joe’s. Too lazy to make my own… But trying to up my intake of it too. scared it’s gonna make my skin smell!
      Thanks for the tips

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