Stuffed Cabbage Casserole

I dig Polish food. A lot. As evidenced by my sauerkraut & kielbasa obsession, I try to eat certain Polish foods a few times a month. Why? Well, besides the fact that I was brought up with them, as an adult, here’s what I’ve discovered:

  • They taste good.
  • They’re fairly cheap to make.
  • They usually take less than 30 minutes of hands-on time in the kitchen.
  • They tend to involve cabbage, which is a great veggie in your daily arsenal of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Stuffed cabbage is simply that: a big ol’ cabbage leaf stuffed with a ground beef and rice mixture, rolled up, and then topped with an easy tomato sauce. But to make this correctly, there’s a fair amount of work and time involved to get them just right. My wife has been traveling a lot lately for work, and has stocked the kitchen with prepped meals so I don’t starve. Or really, so I don’t go and spend $20 per meal at the local fried chicken joint. But after a while, she got really tired of spending an hour at the stove to make a meal she wasn’t going to eat. So she took some shortcuts, and this casserole was born.

All your standard components are here: rice, ground beef, cabbage, and tomato sauce, but it just cooks down into something delicious and comforting. Depending on the tomato sauce you use, this is also a fairly clean meal with minimal processed ingredients, so this gets a mark in the “Win” column for that, too. Go ahead and give this a shot…just don’t tell my Polish grandma about it.

Stuffed Cabbage Casserole

Serves 6
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 1 hour
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Hot
This recipe offers all the taste of stuffed cabbage rolls, or golumpki, but with lots of shortcuts. It tastes similar to my Grandma's, but without all the work.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white rice (uncooked)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2lb ground beef
  • 1 Large head of cabbage
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon garlic salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Step 1
Add rice and water to small pot on medium-high heat. Once it begins to boil, place lid on top, lower heat to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit for 5 minutes before taking the lid off.
Step 2
While the rice is cooking, fill a large stockpot with water and the head of cabbage. Place lid on top and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, remove lid and let it continue to boil for 5-10 minutes.
Step 3
In a separate pan, brown the ground beef. Drain the fat off and add it to a large mixing bowl. Add the rice and stir to combine.
Step 4
Once the cabbage is done cooking, drain the water and carefully (as the cabbage will be extremely hot) cut the cabbage in half, remove the core from both edges, and chop into 1/2-1" pieces. Add cabbage to mixing bowl.
Step 5
Open the can of tomato sauce. Directly in the can, add garlic salt and freshly ground pepper. (Regular salt with work fine, we just prefer the garlic.) Stir, then pour 3/4 of the mixture into the bowl.
Step 6
Stir all ingredients until well combined. Pour into a 9x13 inch pan and top with remaining sauce, using a spoon to spread it over the top of the casserole.
Step 7
Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes in an oven preheated to 350 degrees.
Step 8
Serve.

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