Adapted from eatingwell.com
I have never really like cabbage. When I was little I actually hated the spring rolls my mom made because she used cabbage. However, in my university they sometimes make really good cabbage rolls stuffed with brown rice and beans so I’ve learned to eat it. Here is a more Mediterranean-inspired recipe with couscous, feta and a sweet, cinnamon-y tomato sauce.
Yields 4 servings (2 rolls each)
- 4¼ cups + water, divided
- 8 large green cabbage leaves
- 1 cup whole wheat couscous
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cups chopped cherry tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
- Bring 2 ½ cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Add the cabbage leaves, cover, reduce heat to medium high and simmer until softened, about 5 minutes. If the leaves are not completely covered by water or you need to weight them down to cover the skillet, pour more water over them.
- Bring 1½ cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir in couscous, cover and remove from heat. Let stand fro at least 5 minutes.
- Transfer the cabbage leaves to a clean work surface to cool. Discard the water and dry the pot.
- Heat the oil in the pot over medium heat. Add the tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, cinnamon and remaining ¼ cup of water. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are mostly broken down, 8 to 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile stir feta into the couscous. Mound about ½ cup of the couscous mixture at the stem end of each cabbage leaf. Roll into a bundle, tucking in the sides.
- When the tomato sauce is ready, add the cabbage rolls seam-side down. Cover and cook until the rolls are hot all the way through and the cabbage is very tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Serve the cabbage rolls topped with the sauce.
Comments: The blend of flavors in this recipe with the sweetness of the sauce and the tanginess of the cheese is really excellent. I think it might also be good with some chopped olives in the filling but unfortunately I didn’t have any. I think the trickiest thing about this recipe is removing the cabbage leaves, as they will tear. The first couple of leaves are usually easy but as you work your way in, they become more compact. What I ended up doing was cutting the vein at the very bottom of the leaves and gently sliding my fingers to remove the leaves from the plant. If they tear a little, it’s not a big deal since you will roll them up later.