About this Recipe
Unlike baking a cake or cookies, when making casseroles measurements to not need to be exact and substitutions are allowed. Casseroles are the type of thing that after you have made it, you get inspirations and will think "Next time I'll add this or that or do something a little differently". If you want to make cabbage rolls but you are not in the mood to make the rolls or you are short on time, lazy cabbage rolls are the answer. You get the same wonderful flavor as with rolled cabbage rolls but you use this shortcut method for preparation. In this version we have added sauerkraut to the lazy cabbage rolls because it seems our family just loves sauerkraut so, why not sneak it into recipes that you know this ingredient will take the dish to the next level in flavor!
1. We used a frozen cabbage so we did not cook the cabbage before shredding for this recipe. Freezing cabbage makes it tender so you can go ahead and use in cabbage rolls without boiling first. The long oven baking times will cook the cabbage more thoroughly.
2. If you are not using frozen cabbage we suggest to shred the cabbage then boil the cabbage for 10-15 minutes in a pot of water until it has softened before assembling into the casserole.
3. We use our own Canned Tomatoes. You can purchase a large can or two small cans of stewed tomatoes or you can use something like Hunts tomato sauce in the recipe. We added tomato paste to the stewed tomatoes to thicken. If you end up using a tomato sauce instead you would not need to add the tomato paste.
4. Buy your tomato paste in the tube format rather than the small cans. Tubes of tomato paste will last a long time refrigerated and you can use just what you need in a recipe more easily.
5. In the photos of this recipe, you see the onions are sliced in rounds rather than diced. While making this recipe a 'little voice in my head' which would of been my mother was saying to dice rather than slice. When it came time to assemble, I realized by dicing the onions, it would of made it nice to stir the cooked onions into the precooked rice so the recipe directions below say to dice rather than slice, even though the pictures show onion rounds.
Makes 8 Servings
4 cups cooked rice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 large sized white onion, diced
1 small cabbage, 2 cups worth shredded, that has been frozen and thawed
2 cups sauerkraut
2 cups stewed tomatoes
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1. You will need an oven proof baking dish. Choose a size that will hold the quantity being cooked.
2. Cook the rice first. Set aside. We used Basmati rice, you can use any rice you like.
3. Dice the onions.
4. Melt the butter in a small frying pan, add the onions and cook until tender. Shut off.
5. Cut the cabbage into small shreds. Keep the pieces really small.
6. Measure 4 cups rice into a large mixing bowl. Add the salt and pepper and stir in.
7. Add the cooked onions and shredded cabbage to the rice mixture and stir to combine evenly.
8. Measure 2 cups of stewed tomatoes into a tall measuring cup. Add the 2 tablespoons of tomato paste. Whiz with a hand immersion blender to smooth.
9. Pour half of the tomato sauce into the bottom of your oven proof dish.
10. Make a layer of the cabbage and rice mixture.
11. Make a layer of sauerkraut using all the sauerkraut.
12. Use the remaining rice mixture for the top layer and pour on the rest of the tomato sauce. Use a wooden spoon to spread the tomato sauce evenly.
13. Cover and place into the preheated oven on the middle rack. Bake for 45 minutes at 375 degrees F. then turn the oven down to 325 degrees F. and bake another 30 minutes. Long baking time will make the cabbage nice and tender.
14. Remove from the oven and you can serve immediately or if you are preparing in advance to cook later, let cool for 30 minutes before you refrigerate. Never leave food longer than 2 hours to cool because bacteria will start to form.
15. To reheat, set the oven to 350 degrees F. Sprinkle a about 1/4 cup water on the top to add moisture, cover and reheat 25-35 minutes. Check to be sure the food has heated throughout before serving. Times will vary with different ovens and elevations. Great on its own or you can serve with sour cream.
What types of cabbage can be used? We generally alternate using savoy cabbage and regular cabbage when we are making cabbage roll recipes. Savoy cabbage is a round cabbage and has distinct wrinkled looking leaves and a mild variety of cabbage. Regular cabbage is also a round cabbage and has smooth green leaves. There is also purple cabbage, again round in shape and it is colorful and wonderful for things like coleslaw and pickling. The purple cabbage is not the preferred choice for things like cabbage rolls because the purple color can leach into the other ingredients when cooking. Nappa Cabbage is a loose cabbage that grows straight open leaves, it would also be nice for cabbage rolls. It has a a milder more delicate flavor than green cabbage.
What is the difference in rices? Rices are one of the economical staples that can be used in so many dishes. It is versatile, can be used with sweet or savory dishes. White rice can be long, medium or short grained. Aborio is a short grained rice, while Basmati, Jasmine and Doongara are long gained white rices. Each rice offers a unique flavor and aroma. White rice has been stripped of the outside husk and the bran layer and germ. Brown rice is whole rice where only the outer hull has been removed. It also comes in short,medium and long grain. It is more chewy in texture and offers more natural fiber to our digestive system. White rice digests more quickly than brown rice which means brown rice will leave you feeling more full after eating than white rice. There are also black and red rices which offer deep earth flavors and good amounts of fiber. Often you will see rice mixtures that have red and black rice added to them. Keep in mind the brown, red and black rices take longer to cook than white rices.