This may not look like anything special but I promise you, it’s one of our favorites. Believe it or not, this has been served as my main course on Thanksgiving for the last 2 years. It may not be a turkey, but there’s just something special about it and pretty simple to make thanks to the slow cooker. I typically wait for Thanksgiving to serve it with the exception of this year since I was anxious to share the recipe with you!
It’s important to keep in mind that there are a few steps that need to be done ahead of time since you’ll most likely want to get the cabbage in the crockpot first thing in the morning. With this said, I recommend cooking the rice and lentils (if you’re not using a can) the day before. I found combining all of the ingredient in a bowl and refrigerating ahead of time makes the process a lot easier! I also prep my cabbage in advance too, which I explain more in the instructions.
1 head green cabbage, large outermost leaves removed
1 cup cooked brown lentils (about 1/2 cup uncooked)
1 cup cooked long-grain brown rice (about 1/3 cup uncooked)
1/2 cup diced onion (about 1/4 medium onion)
2 ounces cremini mushrooms, diced (3-4 mushrooms, about 3/4 cup diced)
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts* (see notes on how to toast pine nuts at bottom of page)
1/4 cup golden raisins
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill + more for serving
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 (24-ounce) jar marinara sauce (or 3 cups of your favorite homemade marinara sauce)
1/4 cup water
1.) Grandma Em’s Cabbage Tip: I’m sure my Grandma Em was not the only person in the world to peel her cabbage this way, but instead of boiling, I enjoy using her freezer method instead.
What to do: Place the cabbage head in the freezer for at least 24 hours. A few hours before prepping the meal, remove cabbage from the freezer, place on a plate or baking tray, and allow to thaw. If possible, during the thawing hours carefully peel outer most layers of leaves until you reach leaves that aren’t pliable. This will speed up the thawing process. You will need about 8 leaves. Pat leaves dry and set aside.
–You’ll want to make sure to time this correctly since the meal takes 8 – 10 hours to cook. I normally work on the cabbage a day or two before the actual day I’m serving the meal.
2.) To a medium bowl, add the cooked lentils, rice, onion, mushrooms, pine nuts, raisins, garlic, dill, olive oil, and salt. Stir gently until well-combined.
3.) Add the marinara sauce and 1/4 cup water to a 3-quart or larger Crock Pot. Stir to combine.
4.) Set a cabbage leaf on a working surface, outer side down, and scoop about 1/2 cup of the mushroom-lentil mixture into the middle. Fold the stem end up about 1/3 of the way, then fold in the sides. Continue rolling semi-tightly until completely rolled up. Lay roll seam-side down on top of the marinara sauce. Repeat with remaining cabbage leaves, piling each into the slow cooker in one or two layers, right on top of one another.
5.) Cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 8-10 hours. (I cooked on low once and they did not come out as good as they do cooked for the longer duration. I highly recommend cooking for 8-10 hours)
6.) To serve, scoop out a little marinara and spread it on a plate. Carefully remove cabbage rolls one at a time and transfer to the plate. Ladle an additional spoonful or two of the marinara sauce from the slow cooker over the top of each roll and top with a few sprigs of fresh dill, if desired.
* To toast the pine nuts, place a medium saute pan over medium heat and add the pine nuts. Cook, stirring frequently, until toasted and just beginning to get fragrant, 4-5 minutes. Watch closely and stir constantly toward the end of the toasting process, as they can burn easily!
I found this recipe on Oh My Veggies.