This dish works well assembled the night before, so a little planning gives you a great head start on the next day's dinner. Trimming away part of the thick center vein from the cabbage leaves makes them more pliable and easier to roll up. Try stirring in one cup thawed frozen meatless crumbles in place of or in addition to the feta cheese. You can also cook the rolls on LOW for six to eight hours.
1 large head green cabbage, cored
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
3 cups cooked pearl barley
3 ounces crumbled feta cheese (about 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup dried currants
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/2 cup apple juice
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 (14.5-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, undrained
How to Make It
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.