Steam cabbage head 8 minutes; cool slightly. Remove 16 leaves from cabbage head; discard remaining cabbage. Cut off raised portion of the center vein of each cabbage leaf (do not cut out vein); set trimmed cabbage leaves aside.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion; cover and cook 6 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat; stir in barley and next 4 ingredients (through parsley). Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.
Place cabbage leaves on a flat surface; spoon about 1/3 cup barley mixture into center of each cabbage leaf. Fold in edges of leaves over barley mixture; roll up. Arrange cabbage rolls in bottom of a 5-quart electric slow cooker.
Combine the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper, apple juice, vinegar, and tomatoes; pour evenly over cabbage rolls. Cover and cook on high 2 hours or until thoroughly heated.
This recipe has been retested for Cooking Light Slow Cooker Tonight, 2012
After reading all the reviews, I made changes: I removed the 12 leaves I intended to use and steamed them in a colander. If you cut off the spine as suggested, they roll up easily. I cooked 1 1/4c. dry barley, which made 4 c. cooked. I measured out 3 cups and saved the rest for soup. I didn't have currants and pine nuts are too expensive, so I toasted almonds & chopped them up with golden raisins. I couldn't believe the recipe had no herbs, so I added a tsp. of dried dill and a tsp. of dried mint to the barley. They were perfect with the feta cheese. That tomato sauce recipe looks gross--who puts apple juice in a tomato sauce? ick If you want a great sauce for this, look for the roasted pepper and tomato sauce that CL published with baked zucchini spears. It was perfect. I spread it over the rolls (I got 11) and baked it in a covered casserole for 50 minutes. Next time I'll put some water in the casserole to steam the cabbage more.
I used cabbage I had cut into quarters for another meal. It was not big enough to put the filling. I lined the slow cooker with the filling and used the cabbage leaves as another layer before pouring the tomato sauce over the top. It came out just fine but I agree with other's, the sauce isn't the best. Will def try again, this time with use big enough leaves and a diff sauce.
after all those reviews, knowing all the ingredients looked good, I made this into a soup. I chopped the cabbage, & threw it in w/the barley, then after it cooked, it wasn't the best. I decided to add enough chicken broth to cover, it worked & was not bad.
This came out OK. The filling is pretty good on its own and I think I will use it again. I steamed the cabbage for 10 minutes or so and had no problem with the leaves. One big head of cabbage provided about 16 useable leaves (the rest are a little too small).
I think if I did this again I would use a better tomato sauce and perhaps extra feta cheese and perhaps try some garlic in the filling. It was a little bit blah but not bad. But it needs a little something more.
Overall, this turned out to be pretty yummy. I accidentally got a can of tomatoes with spices, but I think it added some flavor to the meal. I couldn't find currants so I used raisins. I would add more feta next time. The only thing I didn't like about this recipe is the time it took!!! Steaming the cabbage was a pain and there is no way it would have made 16 rolls. Trying to roll and fit all of them in the crockpot was a challenge. I still don't know if I would make it again.
I was so excited to try cabbage rolls and was very disappointed. I had trouble with the leaves, so I chopped up the cabbage and layered it like a casserole. The flavor was ok, but i don't think it would have tasted any different if it has been in the roll. My 20 month old daughter enjoyed the barley mixture. The taste was okay but I would not make this dish again.