Growing up Purim has always been my favorite Jewish holiday. I loved everything about it from the mishloach manos packaging to getting dressed up and spending all day delivering said mishloach manos. However, the thing I always cherished most about Purim as a kid was spending time with my Bobbi Rochel. After megilla reading it was tradition to stop at Gross’ Bakery on 16 Ave and pick up Hamentaschen and overnight cookies, and for the Purim seudah she always came to my parent’s house armed with a big pot of chicken soup and stuffed cabbage that she referred to as “choloptchas.” Stuffed Cabbage hands down is my favorite traditional food but I always associated it with a big patchka and since I predominantly follow the paleo diet I avoided it since it is typically made with a sweet sauce and meat mixture made with rice.
This past Wednesday (The 6th day of Adar) was my grandmother’s yahrzeit and it has been 14 years since she was last with us and 15 years since she last shared a Purim seudah with us. I was shopping in Whole Foods on Wednesday and my daughter who is named after my grandmother pointed at a head of cabbage and said: “What’s that”?? I laughed to myself reminiscing about my grandmother’s stuffed cabbage and on a whim added it to my cart thinking maybe I can make something with it in my Instant Pot. Here are some facts about my Bobbi: She was sixteen years old when she was sent to Auschwitz with her sister and was the only member of her family to survive the war. Her sister made it to the end of the war with her but got very sick shortly after and after being taken somewhere for help she was nowhere to be found again. After moving to NYC after the war, my grandmother married my grandfather, and even though they both spoke different languages, they made it work and built a family while learning to speak English together. My earliest memories of my grandmother were her in the kitchen but when I asked my mother for a picture of her cooking she had none.
After playing around with the recipe and technique I received from my mother, I managed to paleoify the recipe and make it in the Instant Pot which is a win-win for me! I used cauliflower crumbles instead of rice (you can make your own in a food processor, or you can take the easy way out and buy it in the refrigerator section at Trader Joes ;)) and instead of adding sugar to the sauce use maple syrup. If you are doing a whole30 I would replace the maple syrup in the recipe with some fresh pineapple for added sweetness! Most recipes call for the addition of eggs as a binder, but since my daughter is allergic, I omitted eggs and added coconut flour to bind the meat together. I used the leftover meat mixture to make unstuffed cabbage in the oven which is simply shredded cabbage, meat mixture with tomato sauce mixture, coconut aminos, and sliced mushroom mixed in a 9 x13 pan baked covered for 45 min at 350.
What is great about stuffed cabbage is it is an awesome make ahead recipe because it freezes so well!
Recipe for My Bobbi’s Stuffed Cabbage 2.0-Instant Pot Recipe
- 2 lb ground meat
- 1 large head of cabbage
- 2 cups of water
- 2 cups of riced cauliflower crumbles (uncooked and best not to use frozen)
- 1 medium onion (diced, minced, or grated)
- 2 tsp garlic powder or 2 cloves of fresh garlic minced
- 1 carton of Pomi tomato sauce
- The juice of half a lemon
- 2 tbsp of coconut aminos
- 2 tbsp of maple syrup
- 1 tbsp of coconut flour
- Soften the leaves of the cabbage by placing the whole head of cabbage on the IP trivet and adding the 2 cups of water to the pot. Steam for 5 minutes. There are alternate ways to remove leaves which include freezing or placing the head of cabbage in a pot of hot water and removing once the leaves have softened.
- Combine the tomato sauce in a bowl, with the maple syrup, lemon juice, and coconut aminos
- Combine the meat with the riced cauliflower, garlic, coconut flour, onion, and 1 tbsp of the tomato sauce mixture
- Carefully remove the cabbage leaves so you don’t tear any. I found that the easiest way to do this was to cut the base of the cabbage off. If you do tear any of the leaves no worries just continue to roll it up and stick it in the pot as well..it will still taste delicious.
- Roll the leaves from the stem up and tuck the sides underneath and then place in the pot.
- Once you can no longer obtain any more leaves from the remainder of the cabbage…shred it with a knife and place on top of your cabbage rolls.
- Pour the tomato mixture on top of the stuffed cabbage rolls in addition to a half a cup of water.
- Secure the lid and cook on manual for 18 minutes.
- When the timer goes off make sure to quick release to avoid overcooking.
- Garnish with fresh chives for a pop of color