Cabbage and Comfort Food

Well, it looks like I’ve been forgiven for making everyone eat sauerkraut last week.  They keep telling me they don’t like it and I keep trying to find a way to make it not taste like sauerkraut and it never works.  So this week I guess I’ll try a different approach to cabbage that’s more like comfort food.  Savory stuffed cabbage always feels homey and satisfying and it’s simple and inexpensive to make.  Here’s my most recent take on this really flexible dish.

Cabbage Stuffed with Quinoa and Brown Rice


Photo by E. Broughton
Photo by E. Broughton






Stuffing Ingredients:

  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced anaheim or poblano pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 8-oz package of microwavable quinoa and brown rice
  • 1 small head of green cabbage
  • 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce (store bought or homemade)


In a saucepan, combine 3 tablespoons of vegetable broth or a

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tablespoon of olive oil and the onion, celery, red pepper and poblano pepper and simmer just until tender.

Add the quinoa and rice and a little more vegetable broth and return to a simmer.  Let simmer until the mixture is well heated, about 5-6 minutes and then remove from the heat and set aside.

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Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil.  In the meantime, cut out and remove the cabbage core and remove any damaged outside leaves.  Add the cabbage and let it simmer, rolling it around so it cooks evenly.  After about 10-12 minutes the outer leaves will loosen and begin to peel away from the head.  Carefully remove them with tongs and place in an ice water bath.

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You’ll only need 12 leaves, so you can save the rest of the cabbage for another meal (I chop it up and freeze it to use in soup).

Drain the leaves and pat dry with a paper towel.   Lay out the leaves and place about a heaping tablespoon of stuffing near the base of the leaf. Roll the bottom of the leaf over the filling, folding in the sides like a burrito.  Stick a toothpick through each roll and place in a baking dish.  (Spread a couple of teaspoons of marinara sauce on the bottom of the pan to keep the rolls from sticking).  Cabbage rolls 015Arrange the rolls in a single layer and top with the rest of the marinara sauce.  Bake in a 425 degree oven for about 20 minutes.

Photo by E. Broughton

Photo by E. Broughton

Serve with a dab of plain greek yogurt or sour cream and some fresh dill or chives.


Hotdish and Sauerkraut

The weather is miserable, again, and since we still have to eat, exploring the back of the pantry seems like a better idea than layering up and putting on the coat and boots to truck to the store.  There’s always something in there, and waaay up on the top shelf, I found a jar of sauerkraut.  It has possibilities, but it’s not a meat day, so what can I do with sauerkraut. I found some frozen cauliflower in the freezer.   Now here in the upper midwest, white food is looked upon with a fair degree of reverence, and it usually involves something with potatoes.  Well, guess what, we don’t have any potatoes, but I’ve got onions and cheese, so cauliflower and sauerkraut it is.  Sounds like a hotdish is taking shape.  I’m not sure what reception this will get at dinner, but we established years ago, that if I put it on the table, it gets eaten.

Here it goes, sauerkraut-cauliflower hotdish.

Assemble the Ingredients:

  • 1 15 oz jar of sauerkraut, rinsed, drained and chopped
  • 1 15 oz. package of frozen cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup low fat mayonnaise
  • 1 minced garlic cloves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Hungarian paprika
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, parmesan, pepperjack (even a little goat cheese is good) – Set aside about 1 cup of the cheese for topping
  • 1 small to medium onion, chopped fine
  • 1/2 cup large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Anaheim or Poblano pepper, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons melted oil (olive, canola or coconut)


Preheat oven to 425 degrees and lightly grease a casserole dish.

Steam the cauliflower until tender and drain all the liquid.



In a large bowl, combine the cauliflower, mayonnaise and garlic and mash with a potato masher until you get the desired consistency (I like mine a little lumpy).  Add in the sauerkraut.

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Add salt, pepper, paprika, onion, and both kinds of pepper.

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Mix in about 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheese.

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 Pour into the greased casserole dish and sprinkle with the remaining cheese, and dot with butter if you like.

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Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes or until the top is nicely melted and browned.

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Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

*You could also use shredded cabbage if you have it, and you just really hate sauerkraut, but go ahead and take a chance and sample the joys of white food.



The Best of the Summer Garden!

The farmer’s markets are bursting with fresh delicious fruits and vegetables, and it’s hard to  know where to begin.  The most generous of the vegies, of course, is zucchini, and as usual the big question is what to do with all that bounty.  Here are a couple of ideas that my family has always loved, and yes, we call it “hot dish.”

Zucchini Hot Dish with Goat Cheese


4 small to medium zucchini, tops trimmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick (I slice them is rounds, but slicing them length-wise like lasagna noodles works too).

1 medium to large onion, sliced into thin rings

2 to 3 ripe tomatoes thinly sliced (Romas work best because they are meatier and have less juice)

goat cheese or feta crumbles

1/2 cup pesto

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Bread cumbs


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Lightly oil a baking dish and lay down a layer of zucchini slices.  Next, scatter a third of the onion slices.  Drop some dollops of pesto on top of the onions. Sprinkle chunks of goat cheese on top of the pesto and then finish with third of the tomato slices.  Do a second layer of zucchini, onion slices, pesto and goat cheese followed by tomato slices.  Make a third layer, and put the last of the goat cheese on top.  Sprinkle with  bread crumbs and some parmesan cheese (gives it a nice crust).  Bake until the zucchini is tender and the bread crumbs are brown and crispy (about 35 minutes).  Let it rest and set for a few minutes before serving.

I usually serve this as a meatless main dish, but it would also work well as a side dish.  Try it and let me know what you think.