Sunday, July 7, 2013

Slow Cooker Turkey Cabbage Rolls

It's amazing how many things you realize you don't have once you move into your own place.  Something that I sorely missed right away was a slow cooker.  My roommate was the owner of the slow cooker that I used to use.  But once I moved across town,  I was on my own.  One of the first things I did was order up a new one with a sweet Amazon giftcard my mom gave me as a housewarming gift.  Oh  How I love thee.

Well, after I got my new appliance, it only took me...ahem, another 6 weeks to use it.  Hmmm...funny how I was pining for this thing but once I got it I just let it chill out for a while.  It's not like I don't love the ease of making food in it.  I do.  I just got caught up with other things and didn't get around to using it.  I finally forced myself to make something in it.  After all, I needed to at least confirm it arrived to me in working condition.

I love cabbage rolls.  I feel as if they are an underdog of sorts when it comes to meals.  I feel as if they never sound quite appetizing.  However, a few years ago I became a convert.  I used to work closely with a Turkish coworker.  One of the things we discussed one day was a Turkish version of cabbage rolls.  It got me pretty interested in making them and I whipped them up one night to try them out.

They were delicious!  I was instantly hooked.  Don't let my words fool you though.  I made the old school version of this dish and it took me hours to separate cabbage leaves, make the filling, blanch the cabbage leaves, roll the filling up in the leaves, then finally bake them in the oven for the specified time.  Seriously, this whole process took for-e-ver.  This would be the sole reason I have not made cabbage rolls since 2008.

But wait!  Stefanie over at Sarcastic Cooking has saved the day.  She basically posted a recipe for cabbage rolls that could be made in a slow cooker.  Whaaa?  Let me at this!  This was definitely the first thing that would be made in my new kitchen toy.

Slow Cooker Turkey Cabbage Rolls
makes 4-6 servings

  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 2 teaspoons grated onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 head of cabbage, core removed and sliced
  • 2 15 ounce cans of tomato sauce
  • 1 slice of bacon, cut into six pieces (optional)

1) In a medium mixing bowl, use your hands to mix the ground turkey, grated onion, salt, pepper, and brown rice until combined.

2) If using, place three pieces of bacon on the bottom of the slow cooker.

3) Pour one can of tomato sauce over the bacon or if you aren’t using bacon, just pour it into the bottom of the slow cooker.

4) Layer half the sliced cabbage on top of the tomato sauce. Gently press the cabbage into the sauce.

5) Add the meat and rice mixture. Don’t press it down too much.

6) Pour the second can of tomato sauce over the turkey and rice layer.

7) Layer the remaining half of the sliced cabbage over the sauce. Gently press it into the sauce.

8) If using, add the three remaining slices of bacon.

9) Put the lid on and set the slow cooker to low. Cook for eight hours.

10) Once done, make sure to stir everything together to incorporate all the flavors. Store dish in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days.

You know how sometimes something may taste delicious even though it may smell...questionable?  That is this.  Until everything is mixed together, it kind of looks and smells as if you left the ingredients out at room temperature for a few days.  After stirring everything together, it at least looks better.  However, the taste can only be called "Excellent".  It more than makes up for any other area in which this dish may be lacking.  I couldn't believe how easy it was to make this.  I put the ingredients in my slow cooker at night and the next morning I have a complete meal.  Take that, old-school cabbage rolls!


  1. Nice Ellie! We just started using our slow cooker as well and it's an absolute life saver. I can't believe we went so long without having one.

    1. Thanks! I totally dropped the ball on sending you those slow cooker recipes. I'll send it over later today or tomorrow :)

    2. No worries at all, I had already forgotten that you were suppose to send me anything. Probably cause Denzel got us all distracted about all his stuff.