Deconstructed Cabbage Rolls

casserole dish with deconstructed cabbage rolls casserole in it

This recipe is from Good and Cheap.

Good and Cheap cover 2nd edition

Good and Cheap is a gorgeous cookbook for people with limited income, particularly on a $4/day food stamps budget. The PDF is free (ahora en Español!) and has been downloaded more than 1,000,000 times. I have more cookbooks, too!

Casseroles are a great way to stretch your cooking-without a-recipe muscles. As one reader, Carolie, reminded me, they require little prep time, yield many meals, and the leftovers are easy to store. Casseroles also let you easily tailor an existing recipe to your own tastes.

So here’s my adaptation of one of Carolie’s favorite casseroles, itself a play on cabbage rolls, a traditional Eastern European dish that is delicious but labor intensive. This version is a good way to use up leftover rice or grains and lentils.


casserole dish with deconstructed cabbage rolls casserole in it
Deconstructed Cabbage Rolls
Print Recipe
A much less labor intensive version of the hearty eastern European classic, cabbage rolls.
Servings
6
Servings
6
casserole dish with deconstructed cabbage rolls casserole in it
Deconstructed Cabbage Rolls
Print Recipe
A much less labor intensive version of the hearty eastern European classic, cabbage rolls.
Servings
6
Servings
6
Ingredients
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 fresh sausage casing removed
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 small or 1/2 large cabbage cored and chopped
  • 3 cups cooked rice
  • 4 cups cooked lentils
  • 3 1/2 cups canned tomatoes puréed, or tomato sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Additions
  • breadcrumbs on top
  • olives
  • peas or corn
  • cheese
Variations
  • ground beef, turkey or pork instead of lentils and sausage
  • swiss chard or collards instead of cabbage
Instructions
  1. Heat the oven to 350 °F.
  2. Melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat. Slice the casing off the sausage and crumble the raw meat into the pan. I used fresh chorizo because it’s easy to find in my neighborhood and I love the spicy, smoky flavor, but you should use whatever your favorite is. A sweet Italian sausage would taste great too. Sauté the meat until it’s no longer pink, then move it to a large bowl.
  3. Sauté the onion and garlic in the same pan, with the sausage drippings. Once the onion turns translucent, add the cabbage and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender enough to jab easily with a fork. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  4. While the cabbage cooks, mix the rice and lentils into the sausage bowl. Add salt, pepper, and any other spices you’d like. I’d suggest repeating whatever spices are in the sausage: in the case of chorizo, that was paprika, cumin, and dried chilies, but if you were using Italian sausage, you might add some fennel seeds. Make sure you taste the mixture as you season it. If both parts of the casserole are tasty, you’ll end up with a delicious meal. If they aren’t seasoned well, it’ll be bland.
  5. Lightly oil a large casserole dish. Spread the lentil-rice-sausage mixture into an even layer. Next, spread the cabbage mixture on top. Then, as evenly as possible, pour the puréed tomatoes over top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  6. Bake until hot and bubbly, approximately 30 minutes.

2 Comments

Tell me what you think!

(Don't worry, your email address won't be published.)

Leanne Brown

Hi! I'm Leanne Brown, a home cook in Brooklyn by way of Canada. I write cookbooks, like the one below!

Sign up for my newsletter!

Good and Cheap cover 2nd edition

Good and Cheap is a gorgeous cookbook for people with limited income, particularly on a $4/day food stamps budget. The PDF is free (ahora en Español!) and has been downloaded over 1,000,000 times. I have more cookbooks!

Sign up for my newsletter!