Recipe: Burrito-Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Recipe: Burrito-Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

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Patty Catalano
Jul 23, 2018
(Image credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn)

The tortilla is the most disappointing part of a burrito, so why waste money on a package of rubbery wraps? Instead, opt for a few leaves of cabbage (yes, cabbage!), which can stand in as a wheat- and carb-free alternative to the standard burrito blanket.

These burrito-stuffed cabbage rolls are packed with ground beef, tomatoes, rice, and shredded cheese; nestled into a bed of salsa; and baked until the cheese bubbles and browns.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn)

3 Smart Tips for Perfect Burrito-Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Because cabbage leaves aren't as sturdy as tortillas, I usually pull off two or three extra leaves from the head of cabbage, just in case one tears during assembly. A quick blanch in boiling water softens the leaves, making them pliable for folding and rolling. Wrap the cabbage rolls just as you would a wheat or corn tortilla: Fold the sides in first, then roll up from the bottom.

The easiest way to add spice and smoky Tex-Mex flavor to these rolls is a packet of taco seasoning (we prefer the low-sodium variety). Use your fingertips to mix the spice into the ground beef, the divide and roll the mixture into slider-sized patties.

Lastly, you'll want to set up an assembly line, which makes burrito-building a breeze. As you move down the line, you'll pile chopped tomato, shredded Mexican-blend cheese, and a bit of leftover cooked rice into each cabbage leaf. Top with the beef before folding and rolling the cabbage leaves burrito-style.

Nestle, seam-side down, in a dish filled with your favorite salsa, and top with more cheese. They take just 30 minutes in the oven, so you'll be digging into this dish in no time.

Try this tortilla alternative too: Nori Is My Go-To, Wheat-Free Burrito Wrap

Burrito-Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Serves 4

Prep time: 35 minutes ; cooking time: 35 minutes

  • 2 cups

    tomato salsa, divided

  • 1

    large head green or savoy cabbage (about 2 1/2 pounds)

  • 1 tablespoon

    kosher salt

  • 1 pound

    lean ground beef

  • 1 (1-ounce) package

    low-sodium taco seasoning

  • 1

    medium tomato, seeded and chopped

  • 1 cup

    cooked long-grain white rice

  • 2 cups

    shredded Mexican blend cheese (6 ounces), divided

  • Serving options: sliced scallions, pickled jalapeño slices, and sour cream

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 375°F. Pour 1 1/2 cups of the salsa in an even layer in a 9x13-inch baking dish; set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, remove 10 to 12 whole outer leaves from the cabbage. (Reserve the remaining cabbage for another use.) Stir the salt into the boiling water. Add the cabbage leaves and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove the leaves with tongs and transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to cool.

Place the beef in a large bowl, sprinkle with the taco seasoning, and gently mix with your hands to combine, making sure not to compact the meat. Divide the mixture into 8 equal portions (about 1/3 cup each), then form each portion into a slider-sized patty; set aside.

Divide the tomatoes, rice, and 1 cup of the cheese evenly among the largest 8 leaves. Top each with a beef patty. Working with 1 cabbage leaf at at time, fold the right and left sides of the leaf over the filling, then tightly roll from the bottom up to form a cabbage roll. Place seam-side down in the salsa in the baking dish. Repeat making the remaining cabbage rolls. You might not use all of the blanched cabbage leaves.

Spoon the remaining 1/2 cup salsa evenly over the cabbage rolls and sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup cheese. Bake until the cheese is melted and browned, the cabbage is tender, and the filling reaches 165°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 30 minutes. Top with sliced scallions, pickled jalapeño slices, or sour cream if desired.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

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