Cabbage ‘Lasagna’ (Low Carb)
I think cabbage is one of the most underrated vegetables.
You’ll be surprised just how well this dish compares with your traditional carb-laden lasagne. It’s super comforting, can be made in advance and reheats beautifully. Win win win!
enough for 3-4
takes an hour
1/2 large cabbage (500g / 1lb)
450g (1lb) minced (ground) beef
700g (3cups) tomato passata (puree NOT concentrated tomato paste)
300g (1 1/4cups) sour cream
2 handfuls grated parmesan (100g / 3.5oz)
baby spinach or salad leaves, to serve
1. Preheat your oven to 200C (400F). Slice cabbage finely. Place cabbage in an oven proof lasagna dish (approx 22cmx28cm / 8inx11in but it doesn’t need to be exact). Drizzle generously with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
2. Roast cabbage until really soft – about 20 minutes, stirring about half way.
3. Meanwhile, brown meat in a hot pan with a little oil. Then add the tomato puree and simmer for 10 minutes or so. Taste and season with salt if needed.
4. When the cabbage is soft and cooked down, layer with the meat sauce.
5. Mix sour cream and Parmesan then spread carefully over the top. Depending on the size of your dish it may not completely cover so I leave some space around the edges (see photo below).
6. Bake 200C (400F) for about 15-20 minutes or until hot and bubbly and browned on top. Serve with salad on the side.
pantry-friendly – sour cream = about 150g (5oz) almond meal or flaked almonds. Mix with parmesan to make a cheesy crust. Serve with frozen spinach sauteed in butter.
vegetarian – replace beef with cooked lentils or beans.
dairy-free / paleo – replace the sour cream and parmesan with a few handfuls almond meal, or flaked almonds or soft bread crumbs. (or a combo of almond meal and flaked almonds) Scatter over the top to give a lovely crust. You’ll need about 200g (14oz) nuts. Or skip the cheese topping and just serve tomatoey beef on a bed of the cabbage with brazil nut parmesan or almond hummus.
vegan – combine the vegetarian and dairy-free options.
more veg – feel free to layer in other cooked veg like roast zucchini, eggplant (aubergine), capsicum (bell peppers) or mushrooms.
more substantial (carb lovers) – add in a few layers of lasagna sheets and expect to cook for longer. Or serve with garlic bread.
more substantial (low carb) – serve larger slices.
keto / ultra low carb – halve the tomato.
short on time – increase oven temp to 250C (480F). Cabbage will take 10-15 minutes. And will only take 5 mins to brown at the end. Or if you don’t mind getting another pot dirty, boil cabbage in about 2cm (1in) salted water with the lid on for 4-5 minutes or until cabbage is soft. Drain well then use as per the recipe from step 4. Another alternative is that you could skip the sour cream sauce and baking. Just serve cooked cabbage with meat sauce and grated parmesan.
Waste Avoidance Strategy
cabbage – will keep in a plastic bag in the fridge for weeks, even months. Can be frozen but will have a wilted texture once defrosted.
minced (ground) beef – freeze it.
tomato passata – keep it in the pantry.
sour cream – use for another meal.
parmesan – keeps for longer in a chunk so only grate when you’re cooking. I wrap in waxed paper or baking paper and then keep in an airtight container or a sealed ziplock bag. I prefer this over just wrapping in cling wrap because the air in the container allows the cheese to breathe and not sweat but the container / plastic bag prevents from drying out in the dry fridge air. Either way will keep for months.
baby spinach or salad leaves – are highly perishable. My first path would be to use them for another meal (salad for breakfast!) but if that isn’t possible you can pop them in the freezer. They will wilt down but can then be used anywhere you’d use wilted greens. At least this way they won’t go slimy.
Absolutely! Just cook as per the recipe but keep the salad / spinach separately. If you like you can prepare up until the end of step 5 and save the final baking and browning until you’re ready to serve. Will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks or can be frozen. To serve, defrost first (if frozen) then warm in the oven 200C / 400F for 15-20 minutes. If reheating lasagna that has already been browned, cover with foil to avoid burning.