Paleo-fying Traditional Meals
by Lola Hammerschmidt
Recently, I decided to take some of my traditional non-paleo meals and paleofy them. (is that a word??!)
My first attempt was with a Stuffed Cabbage Dish. I had made a traditional Stuffed cabbage with ground turkey and rice filling and my family enjoyed it. My 13 year old son ate it and even requested that I make more!
I had some leftover cooked cauliflower in the fridge and thought, "Hey, maybe I'll substitute the rice with cauliflower." I'd read where Paleo people "rice" their cauliflower so I thought I would give it a try.
I changed the recipe from being the traditional stuffed rolls into more of a layered lasagna /casserole dish. The overall result was great however, I feel it could be fantastic with a little tweaking.
My issues were as follows:
- Cabbage leaves, even when blanched and the woody stem removed is still not easy to cut a perfect square out of. Its not the texture of a lasagna noodle so it was a sloppy cut.
- I cut the cooked cauliflower too small and it seemed to disappear into the meat mixture. I will not cook it so thoroughly next time or leave it chunkier for more texture.
- Rice not only acts as a filler in the traditional recipe but also absorbs extra fluids during cooking. The paleo casserole was a bit wetter or looser than the traditional stuffed cabbage. I'd like to find a way to tighten it up a bit.
I've decided to tweak the recipe in the following ways:
- Instead of using whole cabbage leaves, I will buy a bag of shredded coleslaw mix (with carrots!), blanch and drain the mixture.
- Quickly blanching cut cauliflower and allowing it to continue to cook inside the casserole so its not overdone.
- Layer more like a lasagna instead of mixing the cauliflower in the meat mixture. Shredded mix, meat mix, cauliflower, sauce, repeat.
Another option would be to make individual ramekins or possibly small casserole dishes?
Maybe mix all the items together and form a meatloaf, bake on a wire rack over a pan and allow the extra fluid to drain away from the loaf?
Traditional Stuffed Cabbage vs. Paleo Stuffed Cabbage Casserole
- 2 pounds ground turkey
- 1 can tomato paste
- 1 egg
- 1 cup rice (PALEO: Add Chopped cauliflower instead of rice!!!!)
- salt, pepper, garlic powder
- 1/2 chopped onion.
- 1 jar pasta sauce
- head of cabbage, cored and separated in hot water.
*after leaves are separated, cut out tough center stem from each leaf.
- pasta sauce on bottom of glass pan.
- place a spoonful of mixture in center of leaf, fold sides of leaves over to form a tidy package.
- place seem side down into pan.
- Repeat until mixture is gone, cover with more pasta sauce.
- Cover with tin foil.. bake at 350* for 60 minutes.
PALEO: bake "lasagna style" in pan..layered with cabbage leaves and meat. Finish top with pasta sauce.
As you see, the only main difference in the recipe was removing the rice!!!! The rest is just technique and making it more of a texture or presentation that I prefer.