Baked Cabbage with Ground Meat (Fırında Kıymalı Lahana)


Baked cabbage with ground meat can be described as either a kind of no-pasta lasagna, börek, or mousakka. However you name it, it is simply delicious and healthy. If not witness the preparation of the dish, it might be even impossible to tell it’s cabbage.

1 small to medium cabbage
1/2 lb ground meat
2 medium onions, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced (my addition)
2 big tomatoes, diced or 1 can diced tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
3 tbsp olive oil
1 cup grated mozzarella
1/2 cup ricotta (my addition)
1-2 tbsp basil flakes
1 tsp spicy red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
1/2 parsley, finely chopped

-Take cabbage, discard bad leaves, and break leaves one by one. Wash well.
-Boil water in a big pot with 1 tbsp salt. Cook cabbage leaves in water for 5-7 minutes, or until tender. Preserve 1/3 cup of cooking water.
-Heat oil in a pan. Add first onions and garlic. Stir for a couple of minutes. Then add ground meat and cook until brown by breaking it into small bits.
-Add 1 tbsp tomato paste, black pepper, basil, and salt. Stir for a minute.
-Add diced tomato and cook for 5 minutes.
-Grease an oven safe dish. Layer half of cabbage leaves on the dish.
-Pour the ground meat mix on leaves. Spread ricotta on top and then layer the other half of cabbage leaves.
-Mix 1 tbsp tomato paste well with 1/3 cup of cooking water. Pour it on top of cabbage leaves.
-Sprinkle mozzarella on top.
-Bake in a preheated oven at 380-390F for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted.
-Serve with parsley on top.

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