I’ve really been slacking on posting vegetable recipes regularly. It has been ages since my last Veg of the Week post. But this discovery is so fabulous it really deserves the special honour of being vegetable dish of the month. Actually this is my most exciting discovery this year.
Now I thought I would lure you in by describing this as a no-noodle lasagna. If I had been more forthcoming in my description, I am sure I would have scared you off. But now I have got you reading, I will reveal what the best replacement is for regular lasagna sheets. It is not zucchini (too moist), nor aubergine (too chewy) it is…. white cabbage.
Crazy I know! But believe me, it works!!
I will own up that I really do not like white cabbage. I am still haunted by childhood memories of limp, grey, funky smelling cabbage leaves wrapped around greasy, tasteless rice and mince. Couldn’t stand the stuff.
Never thought I would ever post a white cabbage recipe, but here I am raving about the stuff. Once you briefly blanch the leaves in boiling water and layer them with a Bolognese sauce and cheese, you have the most amazing carb-free lasagna. The cabbage leaves have a comforting bite that is similar to al dente pasta sheets; lightly chewy but soft at the same time.
You can stick to your regular recipe for traditional Bolognese sauce. Just make sure you meat sauce is on the dry side as the cabbage sheets will not soak up moisture as lasagna sheets do. For this dish I added plenty of mushrooms to bulk up the sauce with some extra fiber and minerals. As you are being unconventional already, I suggest you skip the effort of making a béchamel and give the below combination of ricotta, cottage and cream cheese a whirl. I really enjoyed both the texture and flavour it added to the dish.
The result is an amazing lasagna that has the same comfort as a regular lasagna but is just that little bit healthier. And like a regular lasagna I feel that this one tastes even better reheated the next day. So, make sure you make a double portion…. at least.
(inspired by the blog ‘Simple Roots Wellness‘)
2-3 garlic cloves
(300g-) 500g mince
1 can of peeled and chopped tomatoes
a pinch of chili flakes
1/2 tbsp honey
optional: a dash of Worcestershire sauce
about 1/2 head of white cabbage (the outer leaves are a little handier then the ones closer to the core)
optional: 10g of chives
200g cottage cheese
100g ricotta cheese
100g (light) cream cheese
1 tsp mustard
100g cheese for grating
Make the sauce
- Bring a very large pot of water to the boil (I use the largest pot I have.)
- Slice the mushrooms and fry them in a wide pot or large deep fry pan until just tender. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Chop the onion and fry in the same pan.
- When the onions are translucent, mince the garlic and add it. Stir until fragrant.
- Add the mince meat and stir, breaking it up, until the meat has just coloured.
- Add the tinned tomato.
- Season the sauce with chili, honey, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.
- Allow the sauce to simmer whilst preparing the rest of the dish. Stir once in a while and add a little water if it starts to get too dry. (When you assemble the lasagna the sauce should be quite thick as the cabbage leaves do not soak up liquid as regular lasagna sheets do.)
Prepare the cabbage
- Carefully peel the leaves off the head of cabbage. Cut out the thick ribs. You are looking for looking for the amount of leaves that will comfortably cover a teatowel when placed next to each other.
- Place the leaves into the boiling water until they turn opaque (about 2-3 min, but can vary depending on the amount of water). Using a slotted spoon remove the leaves and lay them on a kitchen towel to dry. Depending on the size of your pot you might have to do this in a few batches.
Make the sauce
- If using, chop the chives.
- Whisk together the two eggs.
- Add the ricotta, cottage and cream cheese and blend.
- Season with mustard, salt, pepper and add the chives.
Assemble the lasagna
- Heat the oven to 175C.
- Place 1/4 of the meat sauce in the bottom of a dish (about 20x35cm).
- Top with 1/3 of cabbage “noodles”.
- Add 1/4 meat sauce and 1/2 the cheese mix.
- Another layer using 1/3 of the “noodles”.
- 1/4 meat and the rest of the cheese mix.
- The rest of the “noodles”.
- The remainder of the meat.
- Bake in the oven for 20 min. The dish can be prepared until this step and then refrigerated to be finished another day.
- Grate the cheese and sprinkle on top.
- Bake for another 20 min.
- Allow to rest before 5-10 min before serving.
- A green salad made from lettuce leaves or green beans
Some of the health benefits of cabbage
- White cabbage are a Good source of vitamin C and folate and potassium
- Cabbage is filled with antioxidant power. This enables our systems to fight free radicals and clear up toxins, including potential carcinogens.
- The fiber in cabbage keeps your blood sugar levels from fluctuating and also regularizes bowel movements. Cabbage is anti – inflammatory vegetable
- Eating cabbage may also reduce the risks of heart disease, stroke and cancer, specifically colon cancer.
- It speeds healing of ulcers and improves digestive health.
- Raw cabbage cleans the waste from the stomach and upper bowels which improves digestion and reduces constipation.
More recipes replacing carb with veg