Tomorrow starts round two of my hubz and my diet which means no carbs. i.e. no sugar, no fruit, no pasta, no potatoes, no rice, breads, doughnuts, etc. So while today I eat all of the carbs as a sort of last hurrah (seriously, I made yeast doughnuts-glazed-and chocolate), I remembered this recipe I made a while back.
Sometimes I get these urges to eat comfort food from other cultures. I love Korean or Vietnamese noodle dishes, Chinese hot pot, Samosas, just about anything caribbean or wrapped in a tortilla, poatoe-y british and irish food, italian pasta-heavy dishes. Who doesn’t love anything warm and soothing? Its like not thinking puppies or kittens are cute. Anyway, I have this plan to spend a day each weekend (when we have children and they are old enough to remember) to learn about and prepare a meal from a different culture. Just about every culture has a comfort food, and I want to try each one. The challenge arises when you try to make those comforting foods healthy.
There happens to be a very amazing eastern european restaurant a block from my house and I have to keep myself from going once a week to get pierogis and german potato salad. A few months ago, I went for dinner and strayed from my normal choice to get cabbage rolls- or galumpkis (spelling changes depending on who you talk to). They blew my mind. I almost could not keep the conversation going they were so warm and delicious- and even in the middle of August, they were a welcome warm treat. A few weeks ago I was salivating over the memory of them and decided I can make my own, but healthier and without all of the carbs, so the hubz can eat it. This switches out the heavier ground pork or beef for ground turkey, white rice switches out for riced cauliflower, and breadcrumbs are switched for a mix of soy flour and almond meal. They were almost as good and definitely as satisfying. You can only eat about 2 of these for a meal. 3 if you are starving. 4 and I think your belly explodes- Monty Python style.
The making of these is a little time consuming, so make sure sure you have a few hours to devote to this. However, you will have lunch/ dinner for the week or its good for a dinner party/pot luck. You will need: head of cauliflower, a head of cabbage (mine was the size of a baby), ground turkey, unsweetened evaporated milk-low fat or light if possible or you can sub milk I guess, a 32 oz can of tomato sauce, and the rest you should probably have in your pantry or fridge.
Lets get to it!
First, put on a large stock pot filled about 2/3 the way with water to boil. Core your cabbage, remove the outer leaves if they are damaged or icky. While you are waiting for the water to boil, rice the cauliflower by chopping it fine or grating it in your food processor. Pour half of the can of evaporated milk along with salt and pepper to taste over about 2 cups of the riced cauliflower, then chicken stock to just cover the cauliflower. Microwave on high for 7-10 minutes, until the cauliflower is just cooked.
By now the water in your stock pot should be boiling or just about as hot as you need to work on some cabbage leaves. Carefully, dunk the cabbage into the water and after about a minute, the outer two leaves can be carefully peeled off and soft enough to fold without cracking. The leaves should become slightly translucent when they are done. Once you have about 15-18 leaves, you can save the rest of the cabbage for another project, and then begin to mix the filling.
Saute about half an onion chopped with 2-3 minced cloves of garlic. Set aside to cool. In a large bowl, mix one pound of lean ground turkey with the sauteed onion and garlic, one egg, a tablespoon of parsley. Drain the liquid from the cauliflower and add it to the mix with about a tsp of salt and pepper to taste. Then add 1/2 c of soy flour or almond meal (or a mix of both), until it forms a tacky mixture.
Lay out one cabbage leaf, put in about 1/2 cup of the mixture in the center and roll up like a burrito. Repeat until all of the mixture is used.
Line a roasting pan with cabbage leaves and spread about 1/2 c of tomato sauce in the bottom.
Lay the cabbage rolls in the pan until they are snug as a bug in a rug. Cover with the remaining tomato sauce and bake for 45 min to an hour at 350 degrees or until the filling has firmed and the outer cabbage is tender. Serve warm while you are wrapped in a blanket.
These rolls are so filling and delicious the carbs are not even necessary here. Try it. love it. I bet you will.
I’ll be posting more low-carb recipes as the diet progresses, but I promise that I wont post anything that the average carb-eater wouldn’t like. Pinkie swear.