Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Beef and Barley

It's been quite a while since I've posted anything new.  I have to make an admission.  I fell hard off the wagon.  It all started last summer when I went from a manic high, to a very low depression.  I started eating for comfort.  You know, that 15 minute euphoric high, followed by nothing but guilt.  It's such a great cycle, in fact, that I repeated it daily. :(  Truthfully, I didn't know how to make the roller coaster stop and let me off.  Then the holidays came.  I ate anything and everything.  And then some more.  What did all this binging get me?  Set back by 30 lbs.  Yes, that is the correct number and not a typo.  I stopped healthy eating for 6+ months and gained on average 1 lb a week.  Sad, isn't it?  All that hard but rewarding work I did in the beginning of the year just shoved aside.  To my defense, living with Bipolar disorder is a very difficult and tricky thing.  It is so very hard to adjust to a new normal when the highs suddenly in the blink of an eye become the lowest of lows.  Where does that leave me?  Right here.  Today.  Today I get back on the wagon and get back to my live-it.

Today's dinner was something I never tried before.  Stuffed Cabbage Rolls.  I looked up some recipes, compared the similarities and noted the differences.  Then I made some changes to my own liking.  The biggest change was that instead of rice in the stuffing I used pearled barley.  Pearled barley is a new find for me, and I really love it.  I think it is more filling than rice.

Here are the ingredients:

- 12-14 Cabbage leaves (It took me 2 heads of cabbage to get 14 decent sized leaves that weren't ripped.)

- 1 lb ground beef
- 1/2 C uncooked pearled barley
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped, or I just used 2 Tbsp dried onions
- 1 egg
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 Tbsp garlic powder
- 1 Tbsp oregano
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 Tbsp dried parsley

- 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
- 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (mine were flavored with basil, oregano and garlic)
- 3 Tbsp Stevia (or sugar)
- 2 Tbsp vinegar
- 1/2 C water
- 2 - 3 Tbsp Shredded Parmesan

1.  Put 1/2 C barley and 1 1/4 C water in a pot.  Bring to a boil.  Cover, simmer for about 45 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed.
2.  Cook ground beef.  Try to break up large pieces into small pieces as much as possible.
3.  To the beef add onions, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper.
4.  Prepare the cabbage leaves.

This part is not difficult, but is the trickiest to explain.  I'll do my best.  Cut out the core of the cabbage.

To remove the leaves, do not try to remove by peeling back the thinnest part of the leaf.  Instead, use your thumb to press up on the rib of the leaf to get it loose.  If your cabbage is very compact and you are having a hard time getting the leaves off (you want them to be in 1 piece without tears as much as possible) then here's what you do:  Get a pot of water and bring it to steaming.  Place the head of cabbage in the water for 1 to 2 minutes.  You should have an easy time pressing up on the ribs for 2 or 3 layers and get those leaves off easily.  When it starts to get difficult again, put it in the water for another minute or 2 and then take off more leaves.  Also what I did was sliced a little off the ribs of each of the leaves so they're not so thick.

Ok, now you need to boil the leaves once they are separated.  Bring the pot of water to a boil, place a few leaves in at a time, or as many as your pot will comfortably fit.  Boil them for about 4 minutes.  Take out and drain.  Now your leaves are ready.

5.  Once the barley is cooked, and the beef is cooled a little, put them in a bowl and mix them together.  This is where I added in the parsley.
6.  Mix in the egg and milk.
7.  Lay out a leaf.  Put a couple spoonfuls of beef and barley into the center of the cabbage leaf.

Fold in the sides.

Roll up.  Place seam side down in a 9x13 pan.  Repeat for all the leaves.

Now you make the sauce, and it couldn't be easier.
8.  Mix all the ingredients of the sauce except the cheese together in a bowl.  (Told you it was easy)
9.  Poor sauce on top of cabbage rolls.  Top with parmesan.
10.  Bake in 350 F oven for 45 minutes.

Let me know how you like it.  You can serve it with salad, vegetables, mashed potatoes, and some people like it with crusty bread to sop up the sauce.  Just be careful with the starches...they add a lot of calories.  I made mine with some delicious mashed potatoes.  First, I sauteed 1/2 a thinly sliced onion in olive oil.  Then I added the water, milk and butter, along with some garlic powder and parsley flakes.  Sooooo tasty!  I really wanted more of those, but *heavy sigh* too many calories for me.

It's a little difficult for me to do the nutritional information because I don't know what percentage of fat is in the ground beef you are going to use.  The numbers here are based on 80% lean.  So if yours has less fat, your calories will be lower than I have here.

Nutritional Info for 2 cabbage rolls:
353.5 calories, 14.8g fat, .38g sat fat, 31.7mg cholesterol, 364mg sodium, 336mg potassium, 28.8g carbs, 4.9g fiber, 26.7g protein. (9 Points Plus)

I hope you enjoy your cabbage rolls!



  1. This one sounds like the kind my mother used too make....gonna make this this weekend. Thanks for the posting!!

    Sharon :)

  2. thanks for this Lisa - my kids are allergic to rice, but I miss cabbage rolls like my mom used to make. I will definitely try this out.


  3. I think that if this was the first gabbage roll recipe I tried, I would say a big yes, but as I'm getting up in age and I grew up with the old recipes, I'll have to take a pass in the future.
    Thank You Just The same.

  4. your directions were messed up. First you say 2 lbs of hamb then 1


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