Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Turkey, Quinoa and Pear Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Most of the recipes that I come up with are inspired by two questions: "What haven't I eaten in awhile?" and "How haven't I prepared that food yet?"

Answers: Cabbage and Cabbage rolls.

Most cabbage rolls I searched for are just plain rice with some red sauce on top (boring!) I mean for an international dish (every country seemed to have their own version of the cabbage roll), there was very little variation).

I knew I wanted to use my leftover turkey from Thanksgiving, especially in a way that was subtle and not so overly turkey. I'm sure a lot of you are tired of preparing Thanksgiving leftovers always in the same way.

So, I thought I'd approach this conundrum as: "how would I stuff a turkey?" and just turn it inside out! Voila the Turkey, Quinoa and Pear Stuffed Cabbage Roll was born.

Turkey, Quinoa and Pear Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

1 c uncooked Quinoa                                                              Serves 4
2 c vegetable broth
1 head of Cabbage, approx 12 leaves
1/2 c yellow onion, diced
1/2 c turkey, chopped or shredded
1 zucchini, shredded
1 small pear, peeled, cored, diced
1 tbl garlic paste or 1 clove of garlic finely minced
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp marjoram
1/8 tsp ground sage
salt & pepper

1 c marinara sauce
1/4 c mozzarella cheese

1. In a medium sauce pan, pour in your vegetable broth, bring to a boil. Take out a large pot and fill with water, bring to a boil too. Pour quinoa into the vegetable broth, reduce to simmer and cook 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, fluff with a fork and let cool. (I put my whole pot in the freezer for 5 minutes to speed up the process).

2. While Quinoa cooks, take apart your cabbage leaves and drop into your large pot of boiling water for 1-2 minutes; just enough to soften them. Let dry on paper towels and trim (see picture below). Preheat the oven to 350F.

Trim the spine of the leaves to make them flexible to roll. Just a little trim off the top is good.

3. In another saucepan, add a little olive oil. Sautee onions for 1 minute. Add turkey and garlic, cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add shredded zucchini and pear; sautee until water is absorbed out; pear and zucchini are tender. Season with spices.

4. Mix in quinoa with the vegetable-turkey mix, salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon about 2-3 tablespoons of the mixture into the cabbage leaves and wrap like a burrito. Place into a casserole dish seam side down. Top each roll with a little marinara sauce and a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese.


5. Cover with a lid or with foil and cook for about 35-45 minutes- or until tender. Note: I would omit the sauce next time, the flavors kind of clashed in this dish or maybe I'll be creative and use a mushroom sauce instead. Sauce or not, it's really up to you. It was very good either way.

Calories calculated using Sparkrecipes Calculator: 270 calories for 4 rolls

The health benefits of this meal are awesome.
Quinoa is one of the best foods I could have ever stumbled upon. It goes well with anything and is power-packed with nutrients. Not to mention- it's wheat and gluten free! This mega grain contains ALL the essential amino acids (making it a great food for vegans and vegetarians). No wonder South American Natives called this food "the gold of the Aztecs". It is also high in Vitamins B2, E and fiber.
Cabbage is also a nutrient dense food. I've been trying to incorporate more and more cabbage into my life lately for that very reason. Cabbage is known for it's phytochemicals, which contain powerful anticancer glucosinolates. It is high in Vitamin C, B6, potassium, folic acid, magnesium, manganese and calcium!

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