All the talk last week about cabbage rolls reminded me of this quick and easy cabbage roll casserole recipe that I had. My (ex) mother in law used to make the best cabbage rolls, with her added “secret ingredient” that she shared with me before she passed away.
Did you know cabbage rolls were first found in the ancient middle east, and then spread to Eastern Europe as people migrated and trade routes opened? Jewish historians have even found stuffed cabbage rolls were part of Jewish food traditions over 1500 years ago! They made their way to the United States as our ancestors immigrated from Europe.
Cabbage rolls have several different names and recipes:
- Holishkls – (Jewish) Made with raisins, brown sugar, lemon, and tomato.
- Sarmi – (Bulgarian) Made with veal, pork, finely chopped mint, sweet paprika and yogurt
- Sarmale – (Romania) Made with dill, ground pork and topped with bacon while baking
- Holubtsi – (Ukrainian) Made with sauerkraut and served with perogies.
- Kaalikaarryle – (Scandinavian) Made with rice and chopped meat. Served with potatoes and lingonberry jam
No matter what you call them, I just don’t have time to roll a bunch of cabbage rolls and allow them to cook for hours. Thankfully, I stumbled across an unstuffed cabbage roll recipe several years ago, and it has been tweaked into this delicious cabbage roll casserole. I love to have this dish when the weather starts to get cold. Serve it up with a piece of buttered dark rye bread and and enjoy.
Cabbage Roll Casserole
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 small onion diced
- 1 medium sweet pepper diced (optional)
- 1/2 head cabbage washed
- 1/2 cup instant white rice uncooked
- 1 can sauerkraut
- 1 can water
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp garlic salt
- 2 tsp black pepper
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Spray a 9 x 9" baking dish with spray oil and set aside.
- Brown ground beef and onion (and green pepper, if desired) in a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat, until no longer pink. Remove from heat and drain grease.
- Stir in rice, tomato sauce, water, salt, and pepper. Mix well and set aside.
- Tear cabbage leaves into small, bite-sized pieces and layer in bottom of baking dish.
- Top cabbage with sauerkraut. Sprinkle sauerkraut with sugar. Top with meat mixture.
- Bake for 1 hour. Stir before serving. Serve with buttered, dark rye bread.