Some days you just want your favorite comfort food but you don’t really want to put any effort into it. Right?
Listen, I love planning/making elaborate meals when I have the time. I really enjoy being in my kitchen coming up with recipes. I wouldn’t have this blog if I didn’t. But there are days when the last thing I want to do is make another meal. I just want to close my eyes and then open them and have a delicious dinner in front of me with zero work.
Unfortunately, that has yet to happen BUT my slow cooker is the next best thing to magically appearing meals. Slow cookers are also good at comfort food, which is exactly what cabbage rolls should be classified as. Warm-comforting goodness wrapped in cabbage leaves and topped with more warm-comforting tomato sauce.
Cabbage rolls, or golumpki as my family called them, are a common dish across Eastern Europe and it seems each country has their own version. But the basics are cabbage rolls stuffed with meat/rice/seasonings and then topped with a slightly sweet tomato sauce. The process of making these little rolls of yum can be a bit labor intensive and while I wanted cabbage rolls I did not want to work that much for them.
So I deconstructed them. I know. I could be on Chopped with my fancy deconstructed meal. Cabbage rolls actually lend themselves pretty well to a stew of sorts and even better, there is barely any prep for this meal. I didn’t add any ground meat to this version, but you could easily add ground turkey or beef to the mix. I DID serve this with sliced and sauteed kielbasa for the husband and I heard no complaints about lack of meat.
Lazy Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls
- 1/2 head of cabbage, roughly cut into chunks (about 3 cups total)
- 1 cup brown rice, uncooked
- 1 cup onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup bell peppers, diced (I used a frozen mix of red, yellow, and orange)
- 1 can tomato sauce, 14.5 oz
- 3 tbsp apple sauce
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 8 oz. ground turkey or beef, cooked (optional)
- Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Add about one tablespoon of salt and stir. Add the cabbage chunks to the water and cook for about 5 minutes or until the leaves are a little soft.
- Drain the leaves, saving one and a half cups of the cooking liquid. Place the cabbage into the slow cooker. If you’re using meat, brown it first and then add it to the slow cooker.
- Saute the onion and bell peppers for about five minutes and then add them to the slow cooker. Add everything but the lemon juice and parsley to the slow cooker and stir to combine everything. Pour in the reserved water until everything is covered, stir again and cover. Cook on low for 6 to 7 hours or high for 3 to 4.
- Once the cooking time is done, remove the lid and stir everything together. Turn off the heat and add the lemon juice and stir again. Serve it up in bowls and top with fresh parsley.