Last fall, my sister sent me a text about something that she had seen on Facebook where two sisters who lived in different states Facetimed each other once a week and made a recipe together. Since she lives in Iowa and I live in Missouri, we decided to give it a try. We text and Snapchat fairly regularly, but we don’t talk on the phone too much OR see each other face to face either. So this seemed like a good way to remedy that. Each week we will swap on who picks the recipe, with the only requirements really being that it will be something healthy. She got to pick first and she chose a recipe from skinnytaste.com called Kalyn’s Stuffed Cabbage Casserole. We made it together the other night, and this is my honest review of it.
I don’t know that I’ve ever had actual cabbage rolls, but I don’t mind cabbage in most forms (still working on that whole sauerkraut thing!) so I figured this had potential. I also figured Matt probably wasn’t going to be a fan, lol! It doesn’t call for too many ingredients, which is nice and can easily be made keto or dairy-free if those things are important to you.
A quick run-down on the ingredients:
-Tomato Sauce and/or Diced Tomatoes
-Salt, Pepper, Paprika, Thyme, & Garlic
I did make a couple of changes to the ingredient line up. Instead of using brown rice, I used white basmati rice because that is what I had on hand. I also used only tomato sauce versus sauce and diced tomatoes because I don’t care for cooked chunks of tomato. Sauce, salsa, or raw for me, thanks! My sister and I also both used regular paprika and not the specific sweet Hungarian paprika they call for in the recipe. I also cut down the amount of cabbage I used from 1.5 head to 3/4 a head of cabbage.
The first thing I did was cook my rice in my Instant Pot. Then I browned my ground beef and set it aside. Next up was to cook the onion, adding in most of the spices and the tomato products. Tip-use a larger skillet or a pot because this gets very full, very quickly. After those simmer together for a few minutes, you add in the beef and a little water and let it simmer while you cook up the cabbage. I added salt and pepper to both my sauce mix and the cabbage as I was cooking it. Once the rice was done, you add it to the sauce mix. Then you take the partially cooked cabbage and the sauce mix and layer them into a baking dish. I used a 9 x 13 pan for this part. Honestly, I have no idea how the recipe author fits 1.5 heads of cabbage plus all the sauce and rice mix into one casserole pan. Because I used less cabbage and had at least two to three cups of sauce mix leftover and my dish was full to the top.
After you get it all assembled, you cover it and put it in the oven at 350 for 40 minutes. Once the 40 minutes is up, you top it with the cheese and bake it for an additional 20 minutes. This recipe says that it makes 10 servings at 251 calories a serving. The calorie difference between brown rice and basmati rice is about 11 calories per cup more for brown rice.
My take on the recipe:
It turned out pretty good! I would either add more water to the sauce or add another small can of tomato sauce into the mix because mine felt fairly “dry” and I would have appreciated a bit more sauciness to the dish. I’d probably lessen the amount of rice next time too since I know that probably soaked up more liquid during the baking process. Flavor-wise, you can taste the cabbage, but it’s not overwhelming and the pieces aren’t crunchy so it’s like eating noodles. Overall, this is definitely a recipe I will make again!