Fall is almost here, and our weather (except the last few rainy days) has been picture perfect so far this September; sunny, a bit cooler and not at all humid (hooray!). As much as I love this weather and want to be outside in it, I enjoy the tastes and flavours of the season… so my slow cooker is running almost daily.
I was browsing through the slow cooker recipes on Life Made Delicious, when all the sudden the idea came to me… cabbage rolls! I haven’t made them for years and years, but they the perfect meal to cook in the slow cooker and as long as you have a loaf of crusty bread on hand, you don’t need to prepare anything else during that end of day dinner rush.
While these come together in about 20 minutes, if you don’t have that much time to spare in the morning you can prepare the rolls and the sauce the night before and then pour the sauce over the cabbage rolls in the slow cooker in the morning. Another huge time saver, throw your cabbage in the freezer when you get home from the market and simply thaw it in the fridge for 24 hours prior to making the cabbage rolls, the leaves will peel right apart. Another note, we like our cabbage rolls on the sweet side… if you like a bit more tang, add more vinegar and if you prefer a more tomato-y taste, cut back on the brown sugar.
My Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls
Makes 12-15 Rolls
- 1 medium head of cabbage, frozen and thawed before prep time (this cuts out any boiling of leaves)
- 1 pound ground beef (I used medium, but lean is great)
- 1 cup cooked white rice
- 1 onion, minced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- shake each of salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
- 1 small can tomato paste
- 1 24oz bottle strained tomatoes (or can of crushed tomatoes)
Peel apart cabbage leaves, rinse and set aside.
In a skillet, heat olive oil and sautée the onions until softened. Add in the allspice, garlic powder and parsley and cook a minute or so until the mixture is very fragrant.
Transfer about 2/3 of the onion & spice mixture to a large mixing bowl along with the ground beef and the cooked rice. De-glaze the skillet with the balsamic vinegar and add the tomato paste, stirring. Add in the strained tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and remove from heat. Add 1/4 cup of this sauce to the meat/rice/onion & spice mixture.
Mix together the filling for the cabbage rolls and very loosely form into balls just a bit smaller than a pool ball.
Put one ball into each cabbage leaf, flatten a bit and roll up as you would a burrito (bring sides in then roll up). Continue until all of the filling is used up.
Put cabbage rolls in slow cooker, seam side down, layering them if need be.
Pour the remaining sauce evenly over the cabbage rolls, cover and cook on low heat for 8 hours.
Serve with a loaf of fresh, crusty bread.
Enjoy! (These freeze great too, so you can enjoy them another busy night as well)
Disclosure: I am part of the Life Made Delicious Blogger program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.