Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

By Amari Thomsen, RD

Think beyond coleslaw and sauerkraut and use cabbage in a more creative way!

These stuffed cabbage rolls feature delicious crunchy cabbage coated in a sweet red wine tomato sauce. Use these rolls as a tasty appetizers or a healthy lunch! Not only is this recipe low in calories and fat, it’s also packed full of cancer-fighting antioxidants. Tomatoes are rich in the antioxidant lycopene and cabbage is a great source of the antioxidant isothiocyanate. And did I mention all the vitamins and minerals packed into these little rolls? Enjoy a hefty dose of vitamin K and vitamin C with each bite!

To save time, you can assemble these rolls ahead of time, store them in the fridge, and bake them right before serving!

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Crushed Tomato Sauce
Serves 5 (2 rolls per serving)

Ingredients

Filling

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup brown rice, uncooked
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 large head Savoy cabbage (3-4 lbs), stem removed
  • 8 oz baby bella mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 lb ground turkey breast
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried sage
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt, divided
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper, divided
  • 1/2 cup red wine (I used Merlot)
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts, chopped

Sauce

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup red wine

Directions

Filling

  • In a medium-sized saucepan, combine water, rice and 1 Tbsp olive oil. Bring to a boil. Cover and let simmer on low for 35-40 minutes.
  • Fill a large pot half way with water. Bring water to a boil. Add head of cabbage and let boil for about 5 minutes. Prepare a baking sheet covered with paper towels. As the cabbage leaves soften, carefully remove them using tongs (you don’t want to tear them) and place them on the baking sheet. You need 10 large leaves total.
  • Remove remaining head of cabbage and drain. Set aside.
  • In a large skillet, combine 1 Tbsp olive oil, onion, and mushrooms and cook for about 10 minutes or until mushrooms have given up most of their liquid.
  • Add ground turkey and cook until browned and cooked through. Add garlic, sage, rosemary, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and cook for a few minutes longer.
  • Add red wine and cook for another 5 minutes or until all of the wine has evaporated.
  • When rice is done, add meat mixture to rice pan.
  • In skillet, heat remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil. Thinly slice and chop the remaining cabbage (you’ll need 3 cups). Add it to the skillet along with remaining 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Cook for 5 minutes or until cabbage begins to brown. Add cabbage to the rice and meat mixture.

Sauce

  • Preheat oven to 375*F.
  • Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in empty skillet over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes or until onions are soft.
  • Add wine and crushed tomatoes. Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Let sauce simmer for 10 minutes until slightly thickened.

 finished-stuffed-cabage-rolls

Assembly

  • In a 9×13 inch pan, spoon a couple ladles of tomato sauce to coat the bottom of the pan.
  • On a clean work surface, using one cabbage leaf at a time, place 2-3 spoonfuls of the filling on top of the cabbage leave. Tightly roll the mixture up, folding in the sides of the leaves as you go like a burrito.
  • Place cabbage roll seam side down into the baking dish. Continue until all leaves and filling are used.
  • Spread about 1 cup of the tomato sauce over the rolls.
  • Bake uncovered at 375*F for 40 minutes basting the rolls every 15 minutes with additional sauce.

 

Amari Thomsen

Amari Thomsen

Registered Dietitian

Amari Thomsen is a Chicago Registered Dietitian and owner nutrition consulting private practice, Eat Chic Chicago. She graduated from Loyola University of Chicago with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and later completed her nutrition education at the University of Illinois at Chicago with a Master’s degree in Nutrition Science. Through Eat Chic Chicago, Amari offers individual nutrition coaching for weight loss and specialty diet management, personalized grocery store tours, group seminars and healthy cooking demonstrations. Amari is also a freelance writer and nutrition blogger for local organizations and brands that support healthy living. She has previous experience working with Whole Foods Market, Naked Juice, KIND, and Lifetime Fitness. Learn more about Amari and Eat Chic Chicago at www.eatchicchicago.com.

Guest Blog (FROM GREECE): Tomato Paste, a Mediterranean Staple and Why you should use it

Guest Blog (FROM GREECE): Tomato Paste, a Mediterranean Staple and Why you should use it

by Elena Paravantes, RD

In my mother’s descriptions of my grandmother’s cooking and her own, one ingredient would come up that seemed odd to me: tomato paste. I would wonder: why would you use all these fresh ingredients and then add a canned tomato product?

Well, in the olden days it served a purpose: it was used as a substitute for tomatoes, when fresh ones were not available. Tomato paste was made at home as a way to preserve tomatoes to use during the winter. I read somewhere that tomato paste originated in Italy and and then its use spread across other areas of the Mediterranean, which makes perfect sense considering how important tomato is in the Mediterranean cuisine.

My mother remembers as a little girl in the 50’s, going to the local deli (in Greece) and getting 1-2 tablespoons of the stuff on a piece of wax paper so her mother could use it for cooking. What did they do with it? Well they made the known kokkinista, which translates as the “red ones”. These are dishes either made with tomatoes or tomato paste, hence the name referring to the redness.The tomato paste along with olive oil is warmed up (or almost sautéed) in a pot or pan, and the vegetables or meat are added and cooked. Of course it is also used in pasta and sauces and basically when you want to give a little color or added flavor.

Nowadays you can get tomatoes year round (not great tasting ones though) or use canned tomatoes, so why not use that instead? My mom noted that using the paste really gives a different, unique flavor that you just can’t get with fresh tomatoes or canned tomatoes. And why not? Nutritionally, you will get plenty of benefits with tomato paste.

Tomato paste basically consists of cooked tomatoes that are strained. Studies have shown that processed tomato products such as tomato paste have higher levels of lycopene, an antioxidant known for its protective effect against some forms of cancer and also promoting skin health. But tomato paste is not what I would consider a processed product (in the bad sense), it is just heated and strained, containing only tomatoes and sometimes salt (no preservatives or sugar). In addition, when adding olive oil, as is common in Greek cooking, not only do you get the good monounsaturated fats and olive oil antioxidants, but the presence of fat increase the absorption of the antioxidants in the tomato. And if you are cooking with tomato paste you get an additional benefit: heating tomato paste with olive oil increases antioxidant activity.

A Quick Snack
My mother recalls the “poor” children getting a large slice of bread with tomato paste, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with oregano – a wonderful snack full of antioxidants from the tomato paste, olive oil and oregano plus good fats. The rich kids would get a slice of bread too, but with butter, sprinkled with sugar as those ingredients were more expensive and only people who had money could get them. How ironic, considering that the poor kid’s snack was so much healthier than the rich kid’s snack. Poor or not, I love that snack and my mom would give it to us slightly altering it and calling it “pizza”: bread brushed with olive oil and tomato paste, sprinkled with oregano and some shredded cheese, baked in the oven for 5 minutes.

Elena Paravantes

Elena Paravantes

Registered Dietitian

Award winning Registered Dietitian, Nutritionist and Writer specializing in the Mediterranean Diet. She has been active in the field of food and nutrition for over 15 years as a clinical dietitian, food and nutrition consultant, writer, teacher and lecturer, both in the U.S. and in Greece. Elena firmly believes in the wide-ranging health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet and is committed to educating the public about the wholesome food plan she grew up with through her writing, teaching and lecturing.

To learn more, check out Elena’s website: OliveTomato

Penne Puttanesca

Penne Puttanesca

by Leslie P. Schilling, MA, RDN, CSSD, LDN

I’m not Italian, but I aspire to be. This recipe has been tweaked and, I like to think, perfected over the course of a decade. We even searched for a better one in Italy and couldn’t find it. It’s quick, easy and the robust flavor will knock your socks off!

Ingredients

12-16 oz penne pasta

1/2c high-quality extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tbsp anchovy paste

3 cloves fresh garlic, minced

2 tbsp dried oregano

24-28oz plum or diced tomatoes

1/2c pitted and chopped Kalamata olives

2-3 tbsp capers, drained

1/4c fresh, Italian parsley, chopped

Instructions
Get your pasta water boiling.
Now start your sauce by putting high-quality extra virgin olive oil in a large sauce pan with red pepper flakes. Heat to medium heat and stir for about 2 minutes to infuse your oil. Now add chopped garlic, dried oregano and anchovy paste (it’s not overwhelming, I promise). Mix well to get the paste dissolved and now add your tomatoes, along with Kalamata olives and capers. Let simmer for 5 – 10 minutes.
When your pasta is al dente, drain thoroughly. Pour pasta into sauce mixture and parsley. Mix and serve very hot.  Wowsers–so good! I like to serve with grilled chicken or sautéed shrimp on top. If you’re not feeling like pasta, it’s fantastic as a sauce over grilled chicken, pork or fish.

Leslie Schilling

Leslie Schilling

Dietitian

Leslie is a Memphis-based dietitian specializing in wellness, disordered eating and sport nutrition. She owns Schilling Nutrition Therapy, LLC, and YourSupperSolution.com. When she’s not counseling, planning super meals, or hanging out with her family, you can find Leslie using her social media channels and speaking platforms to deliver science-based, non-diet lifestyle messages with a dash of humor.

Instagram: http://instagram.com/leslieschilling/

Mushroom Minestrone

Mushroom Minestrone

Mushroom Minestrone

This minestrone is spiked with loads of dried herbs, beautiful and colorful rainbow chard, cannellini beans for some heftiness and lots of mushrooms.  Recipe courtesy of Mushroom Channel.

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, peeled and diced
2 carrots, peeled diced
2 ribs of celery, sliced Salt
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1/2 of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
2 tablespoons Parmesan-Reggiano
1 (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
6 cups water
3 leaves of rainbow chard, ribs removed and leaves roughly chopped
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans
8 cremini mushrooms, stems removed and sliced

Directions

In a medium pot, set over medium heat, pour in the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the diced yellow onion, carrots, celery and a few pinches of salt; mix and cook until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Mix in the minced garlic, red pepper flakes, dried thyme and rosemary and mix until fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour in the can of tomatoes, water and give it a good mix.

Bring the soup to a simmer and then immediately turn the heat down to low. Mix in the rainbow chard and cannelloni beans. Cover the soup and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes. Uncover the pot, add the cremini mushrooms, cooking for an additional 10 minutes. Salt to taste (I added an additional 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt).

Mix in the grated parmesan and divide the soup amongst bowls. Garnish with some additional Parmesan, if you like, and serve with a side of bread.

 


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Black Bean Pumpkin Chili

Black Bean Pumpkin Chili

Black Bean Pumpkin Chili

Low calorie and delicious! This lighter version of chili has lean ground turkey, black beans, and fresh vegetables, along with pumpkin for a unique and satisfying meal.; It’s sure to become a favorite slow cooker recipe at your dinner table.  Recipe courtesy of Red Gold Tomatoes.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound ground turkey, or 1½ cups cubed cooked turkey
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium yellow bell pepper, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14.5 ounce) can solid-pack pumpkin
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (14.5 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes with lime juice & cilantro
3 cups chicken broth
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons each cumin and oregano
Salt and black pepper to taste

Directions

  • IN A SKILLET, HEAT OIL OVER MEDIUM HEAT. ADD TURKEY, ONION, PEPPER AND GARLIC; COOK AND STIR UNTIL TENDER. DRAIN WELL.
  • TRANSFER TO SLOW COOKER. ADD REMAINING INGREDIENTS AND STIR TO COMBINE. COOK, COVERED ON LOW FOR 4 TO 5 HOURS.
  • OPTION: TOP WITH CUBED AVOCADO AND THINLY SLICED GREEN ONIONS

PREP: 20 minutes

COOK: 4 hours

SERVINGS: 10


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