Lebanese Cabbage Wraps

I’m a huge fan of Lebanese dolmas (stuffed grape leaves) with lamb, so when I was trying to think of a new recipe to put my healthy spin on these were a no-brainer. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with eating the delicious lamb version of these babies. That said, on those nights when I get back late from a double session at my studio–e.g. tonight my ass got handed to me in a power yoga class, immediately followed by my first pilates class in over a year–I like to have something healthy ready to go in my fridge so I don’t just punish a jar of peanut butter or eat a whole bag of TJ’s Dark Chocolate Honey Mints.

My version of dolmas are made with cabbage leaves instead of grape leaves and ground turkey meat instead of lamb. Cabbage is rich in vitamins K, C and B6, as well as folate. It also contains large amounts of glutamine, an amino acid that has anti-inflammatory properties—key for athletes and those with joint issues. 90% lean ground turkey delivers 30g of protein at only 150 calories for a 3.5oz serving. The best part? Infused with yummy turmeric, ginger and all spice, they taste really freaking good. Scout’s honor!

Here’s what you need:

  • 1/2 cup bulgur
  • 1 large head Savoy cabbage
  • 2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups finely chopped white onion
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp all spice
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 12 oz ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tbs grated lemon zest (divided)
  • 2 tbs lemon juice

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Prepare the bulgur according to package instructions and set aside in a large bowl.
  2. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  3. Bring 2 1/2 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Trim the bottom of your cabbage and separate the leaves. Place the 12 largest leaves in the boiling water, cover and reduce to medium heat. Cook the leaves until they soften (about 8 minutes) then remove from water and set aside to cool. Keep the remaining cabbage leaves uncooked.
  4. While the cabbage is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add your onion and shallot and sauté for 5 minutes. Add your garlic and sauté for an additional 2 minutes. Add your salt, pepper, turmeric, ginger, all spice and cinnamon and cook for another 2-3 minutes to combine and infuse the flavors.
  5. Transfer the onion mixture to your bowl of bulgur and let stand until cool enough to handle. Add the lightly beaten egg, parsley, 1 tbs lemon zest and ground turkey. Give the mixture a good knead until it all comes together, well blended.
  6. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with some of the uncooked cabbage leaves. Take the cooked cabbage leaves and place about a 1/3 cup of the filing at the root end of each leaf. Fold in the sides and roll it up like a burrito. Lay the rolls seam side down in the pan.
  7. Combine the lemon juice, remaining lemon zest, chicken broth and white wine. Pour the mixture over your cabbage rolls. Cover the pan tightly with tin foil.
  8. Bake the rolls for 40 minutes, or until the thicker veins of the cabbage leaves are very tender.
  9. Plate and enjoy!

I usually eat two or three in a sitting. They are so full of fiber and protein that I always feel stuffed after eating a few. One of my favorite things about this recipe is that they keep well. I’d say they’re good in the fridge for up to a week.
Hope you like them!

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