Oh that’s one of my favorite! Cabbage rolls. Traditionally made with pork mince and rice or barley, and kind of tomato bechamel sauce. Here adjusted to the keto diet, but still delicious.
I always serve them with tomato sauce, the best when the sauce takes the flavor from the cabbage, melts together perfectly. They are more time consuming and not the easiest, if you don’t have practice. But you can double the portion and freeze some of them for later.
The key here is the cabbage. Traditionally we use white cabbage. The best is the young, spring one, where the leaves are not very tight. UK’s supermarket white cabbage is not the best for that, because it’s very small and tight as hell. That’s why I usually use savoy cabbage, leaves are more loose and soft. You could actually use any kind of cabbage, that has big enough leaves to roll the stuffing. Try both ways and choose whatever is best for you.
You can take off the leaves and simmer them one by one, as I always do, or cook the whole cabbage, set it to cool down and then take off the leaves. I always choose the first option, I feel like it’s quicker and easier. At least for me.
And of course you can go wild with the stuffing (not that wild on keto though). You can mix meat with some wild mushrooms, add some broccoli or cauliflower “rice”, or other veggies allowed on keto diet. I used here what I had in my fridge – onions, mushrooms and peppers, always goes good together.
Did you know that cabbage is full of vitamin C (great antioxidant) and K (responsible for clotting the blood)? Other nutrients as well. And like the other cruciferous vegetables, helps to reduce inflammation in your body. It’s full of fiber, so it’s good for your digestion. Helps also to grow friendly bacteria to protect your immune system. Isn’t this great? So even if you are a little bit bored with cabbage on keto diet, try to smuggle it anyway to your meals.
keto cabbage rolls
INGREDIENTS (for about 12 rolls, but it depends of the size of leafs):
- savoy cabbage or white cabbage (1 or 2, depends of the size)
- 500 g good quality pork mince
- 1 yellow or red pepper
- 1 onion
- few mushrooms
- salt to taste
- ½ tsp pepper
- 1 clove of garlic
- 2 tbsp clarified butter or other fat like goose or duck or olive oil
- about 500 ml beef broth or other bouillon
Also for the sauce you will need:
- about 250 ml of passata or couple spoons of tomato paste
- coconut milk
- little bit of coconut flour to thicken the sauce if desired
Let’s start with cabbage. If you use savoy cabbage, take off the biggest leaves, as many as you can. Boil some water in a pot and simmer the leaves for 2-3 minutes (you can put two or thee at once). They should be half done. Tender enough to roll easily but al dente, so they won’t torn. If you use white cabbage you might need to cook it for some time – you put whole cabbage to hot water and simmer until it gets soft enough to take the leaves off. Sometimes if the cabbage is not very tight, leaves goes off more easily without cooking. So you need to choose the best method for what you’re working with.
After cooking let the cabbage to cool for a while. In the meantime prepare the stuffing.
Use 1 tbsp of fat to stir fry onion, pepper, add mushrooms. All finely chopped. At the end add chopped garlic. Let it to cool for a moment so you won’t burn yourself. Mix all veggies with pork mince, add some salt and pepper.
Now it’s time to roll. I always cut off the top of the thick nerves of the cabbage, so they become more flat and easy to roll. Put the leaf flat and cut off the top of the nerve, parallel to the leaf. Than put portion of stuffing at the end of the leaf where the nerve starts (you have to adjust the amount to a size of your leaf) and roll as you roll a wrap or burrito. So roll the bottom, where you’ve put the stuffing, then fold the sides and roll the rest. Do it quite tight, but gentle not to break the cabbage. Do the same with all the cabbage leaves and all the stuffing.
Take a large pot or a deep pan, would be great if it would be a non stick. Melt the second spoon of fat. Put all your cabbage rolls, ideally next to each other. Then fry them slightly on both sides.
Pour the broth, so it covers the rolls and cover the pot with a lid. Simmer on a very small heat for about 30 to 50 minutes – depends of the size of the rolls. Add some passata (or tomato paste) and give it another 10 minutes. At the end add some coconut milk, and if you like the sauce to be more on a thick side, add one or two teaspoons of coconut flour.
For me the best tastes reheated, when sauce gets the flavor from cabbage. Enjoy!