Stuffed Cabbage

Phase 1 | Serves 8
Prep time: 25 minutes | Total time: 1 hour 55 minutes


1 head green cabbage
Sea salt
2 pounds lean ground beef
1 cup minced onion
8 cups cooked brown rice
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
3 cups Basic Tomato Sauce (see below)
Freshly ground black pepper
Crushed red pepper flakes


      1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

      2. Core the cabbage, but keep the head intact. Lower the cabbage carefully into the boiling water, core side down. As the leaves start to peel away and become soft and pliable (about 3 to 5 minutes), remove them to a plate. When you get 12 to 14 leaves, remove what’s left of the head of cabbage. Set it aside.

      3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the beef, onion, rice, thyme, parsley, 2 teaspoons of sea salt, and 1 cup of the tomato sauce. Season with freshly ground black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes to your liking, and mix well.

      4. Slice what’s left of the head of cabbage, and place it in the bottom of a 13-by-9-inch baking dish or roasting pan in a single layer. Make a V cut in each cabbage leaf, removing the hard part of the stem.

      5. Divide the stuffing evenly among the cabbage leaves (about 1/2 cup per leaf) and roll, tucking in the sides after the first fold.

      6. Arrange the rolls snugly in the pan, seam side down. Pour the remaining 2 cups of tomato sauce over the rolls, cover with foil, and bake for 1 1/2 hours, until the meat is cooked through. *You can also add the rolls to the pot or Dutch oven you made the sauce in, lid it, and bake in the oven. 

      7. Serve with an additional ¾ cup rice per portion.

      Basic Tomato Sauce

      4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
      1 medium onion, finely diced
      ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
      2 (28-ounce) cans whole plum tomatoes
      2 sprigs basil or 1 bay leaf
      ½ teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
      ¼ teaspoon black pepper

      1. In a large skillet over medium heat, add garlic, onion and cook until just lightly golden. Add chili flakes and cook for a minute.

      2. Stir in tomatoes and juices, basil or bay leaf, and salt and pepper.

      3. Bring sauce to a simmer and cook until sauce has thickened and tomatoes have mostly fallen apart (about 30 to 40 minutes). Keep at a steady simmer. If using whole plum tomatoes, mash them up with the back of a wooden spoon or a potato masher to help them break down. Remove sauce from heat and remove basil or bay leaf.