Creole and Italian flavors all in one wonderful dish. This delicious blend of ground beef/pork, cheeses, crunchy cabbage, and herbs is a flavor-packed meal in every serving. This is a Gluten Free meal and you can make it Vegan by deleting the meat. This dish is a guaranteed winner no matter how you decide to create your Creole Cabbage Lasagna!! It heats up very well days later and can be modified to satisfy your own tasteful whims!!
I first had this dish when I was visiting a friend as I was traveling through Louisiana. I fell in love with the Creole flavors immediately. I tweaked her recipe to mix in hints of my Italian heritage and it is loved by all who give this a try. Creole and Italian flavors mix so well together!!
3-4 tablespoons cooking oil (olive oil or avocado)
1 pound ground beef or ground pork (use a combo if desired)
1 large red onion diced
2 teaspoons of fresh minced thyme
2 teaspoons Creole Seasoning
1 teaspoon paprika
2 cups of Marinara sauce
2 cups of diced cherry tomatoes
1 cup of uncooked rice (Basmati, Jasmine, or Long Grain)
3/4 cups water
1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons Tamari or Soy sauce (optional)
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
1-2 teaspoons chicken, beef, or vegetable bouillon powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1 head of green cabbage, cored and chopped into 1 inch pieces
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Use a Dutch Oven or a very large casserole dish (13 x 10 or 13 x 9). The larger the better.
2. Heat a large skillet or saucepan on medium heat; add 1 tablespoon of oil followed by 1 pound of ground meat of your choice. Break it apart as it cooks until it is browned and cooked through, about 7 minutes. Remove browned meat and set aside.
3. In the same saucepan, add 1 tablespoon of oil, followed by the diced onion, and cook over medium heat until the onion is translucent.
4. Add the thyme, Creole Seasoning, and paprika. Cook for about 2 minutes.
5. Return the meat mixture back to the pan along with the diced cherry tomatoes (with juice), marinara sauce, rice, water, sugar, Tamari/Soy sauce, lemon juice, and bouillon powder to the pan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
6. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and let it simmer for about 18 minutes. You want most of the water to evaporate and the sauce to be thickened.
7. While the sauce is simmering, using another sauce pan, add 1 cup of water and all the cabbage, cover, and steam over medium-high heat until the cabbage is tender yet crunchy. It really does not need to cook much as it will continue to cook in the oven.
8. Once the meat/rice sauce and cabbage are done, place a layer of cabbage on the bottom of your Dutch Oven or casserole dish. Spoon some meat/rice sauce over the cabbage followed by a layer of your favorite shredded cheese. Then, repeat with cabbage, meat/rice sauce, and cheese until you have a final layer of meat/rice sauce. Top the final layer with mozzarella, pecorino Romano, and oregano.
9. Cover the Dutch Oven/Casserole dish tightly with a cover or foil paper and bake for 35-40 minutes. Bake uncovered for the last 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
10. Remove from the oven and let it cool slightly. Serve hot.
*NOTE: The cabbage is the most important part to this dish. Do not overcook the cabbage. The rice can be overcooked but not the cabbage. You can easily add some Feta cheese to the middle of this dish for added flavor. This dish freezes easily for up to 8 weeks. Cheers and enjoy this flavorful meal.