Friday, 15 January 2016

Winter warmers: Stuffed cabbage (GAPS, P, AIP)

Slow cooked minced meat wrapped in cabbage leaves

My childhood favourite! One of it anyway. This is the comfort food that I was always looking forward to eat on Saturdays. My grandmother made it with gently fried pork lardons and lots of rice. There was no meat in our version. Other Hungarian areas make these stuffed cabbage rolls with half rice and half meat, some make it more meat and less rice.

It was easy to convert this meal into GAPS and PALEO. I have used cauliflower as the rice-substitute and it worked out beautifully. In my childhood the fresh, hot cabbage rolls were served with cooked and mashed beans (similar to refried beans), now I have served them with steamed broccoli and creamy avocado.

You will need (makes 36 stuffed cabbages, about 12 portions)
400 g minced lamb
2 medium head cabbages
1 large onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 medium head cauliflower
a good pinch of Himalayan rock salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste (leave it out for AIP)
around 1 l bone broth

1. Prepare the cabbage leaves: In a big pot, say 4 l, boil enough water to immerse the first cabbage. Discard two outer leaves and cut out the tough middle of the cabbages, leaving a cone shaped hole. When the water is gently boiling put in one cabbage head, with the cut side down. Gently cook for 3 to 4 mins. Turn the cabbage up side down. Cook for another minute and peel off 3 or 4 leaves and place them on a plate to cool down. Turn the cabbage cut side down again, cook for a minute or two, then turn back and peel off another 2 or 3 leaves. Continue to do this until the leaves are too small to be filled and rolled. Take the remaining small head out and cool it down on a plate. Top up the water if needed and do the same with the other cabbage head.
2. Rinse and cut the cauliflower into small florets (put the stalks into the freezer to make veg stock later). Put the florets into a blender with an S-blade and chop it into grain-like consistency.
3. Put the minced meat into a large mixing bowl, add the finely chopped garlic and onion, season with salt and black pepper (omit for AIP), finally fold in the cauli-rice. The stuffing is ready.
4. To roll the cabbage leaves: Lay a cabbage leaf on front of you with the cut side facing you. Place a generous tbsp of the stuffing in the middle-bottom area. Roll once then fold the left side in, then the right side, and roll all the way to the top. Do this with the remaining stuffing. I have ended up with 36 stuffed cabbage rolls.
5. Chop the cabbage hearts and line half of it in a casserole dish.
6. Lay a layer of stuffed cabbage on top of the chopped cabbage. Depending on the shape of your casserole you can end up with 2, or 3, or 4 layers. I have an oval shaped casserole, and I ended up with 3 layers of stuffed cabbage rolls.
7. Cover the top with the remaining chopped cabbage.
8. Pour the bone broth over till you cover the top. Put a lid on and bring to boil, then reduce to the minimum and gently cook on the lowest setting for a minimum of 45 to 60 min.
Tip: Traditionally tomato juice is used instead of the bone broth. If you are not avoiding nightshades try both versions, to see which one you like better.
9. Serve hot with veggies like broccoli and avocado. Enjoy!
Tip: The leftover keeps in the fridge for 2 to 3 days. It is said that the more time you reheat the better it becomes but I reheat only the amount I need.

[i] For more GAPS recipe ideas please visit my GAPS recipes selection.


  1. This looks like the ultimate comfort food! I love using cabbage as "wrapper". Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  2. Oh, yes, I was a big fan of the original rice stuffed cabbage rolls so I had to create a grain-free version, and it turned out to be delicious! Thank you for reading :-)