Beef and Quinoa Cabbage Rolls

Beef and Quinoa Cabbage Rolls


All of my 2018 plans are underway, the ‘desk’ is back to being scattered with papers, and Garrett has developed the habit of rubbing my feet while we sit on the couch. (shhhh. I’m not sure he’s aware it’s happening. But hot damn, if it isn’t good.) This can only mean a few things! 

We’re in our eighth-calendar year as a couple…

My plans to paint my office will commence soon(ish…as in probably late February)…

Zeus is MUDDY after every #ZeusWalks…

There’s still a solid month of snowshoeing left…

Game of Thrones will be back on sometime this year!!! Sadly, I have been corrected. It won’t be back until 2019. We have a whole extra year to wait!!

Alice and Cole are another year older…

I know I should be calorie counting this and workout-dancing that to meet those New Year’s resolutions. But cover me in Filson flannel and let me hold onto all the good things of winter for just a little longer.

Workouts are nice and all. Hello snowshoeing and back-patio Zeus lung walking. (It’s as precarious to pull off as it sounds.)

Beef and Quinoa Cabbage Rolls

But sometimes a gal just wants to try to bake miniature coconut bundt cakes and cuddle in Leavenworth cabins playing Cards Against Humanity with some of her favorite humans. Sometimes, a lady craves days spent in slippers and nights spent in sweats.

And even when said bundt cakes don’t turn out, it won’t matter because the gal’s favorite humans love her anyway. (Quick aside, by ‘don’t turn out’, I mean ‘totally bombed’. It was an experiment…)

That’s one of the things about my favorite humans that I adore the most. They don’t mind being my guinea pigs – whether it’s a sad excuse for mini bundt cakes or these Beef and Quinoa Cabbage Rolls. In fact, they seem to like it. Heck, Alice and Cole didn’t bat an eye at the fact I’d never made these rolls before.

They dug right in.

Sesame Sauce and Cabbage Rolls

They came back for seconds. (Which, as a gal who loves seconds, I appreciated greatly.) And I have to say, these were a seconds-worthy dish. A little time intensive, to be sure. But these cabbage rolls are flavorful and comforting. They’re the kind of dish perfect for a cold winter night spent sitting around a table swapping stories and playing games.

Served with a bright and spicy sauce, they can be eaten with a fork or with your fingers. And really, who doesn’t adore eating with their fingers?

Beef and Quinoa Cabbage Rolls

Adapted from Cooking Light’s ‘Pork and Broken Rice Cabbage Rolls’


¼ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
¼ cup water
2 TBS Sriracha
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced
½ tsp toasted sesame seeds
¼ tsp toasted sesame oil
¼ tsp sugar (or honey)
2 garlic cloves, minced

Combine ingredients in a bowl, stirring thoroughly to combine. Let stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour.


Cabbage Rolls
12 large savoy cabbage leaves
¾ tsp toasted sesame oil
½ cup quinoa
¾ cup yellow onion, finely chopped
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped (plus more for garnish)
1 TBS fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 pound ground beef
1 cup unsalted chicken stock
½ tsp fish sauce

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Fill a large bowl with ice water. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season with ¾ teaspoon of salt. Add cabbage leaves. Cook for 3 minutes or until leaves are very tender. Transfer leaves to ice water bath.

In a medium bowl, combine ½ tsp sesame oil, quinoa, yellow onion, cilantro, ginger, and ground beef. Mix thoroughly to combine. Separate contents of bowl into 12 separate balls of meat.

Drain leaves and pat dry. Place a leaf on a large cutting board. Using a small paring knife, remove center rib. Place a ball of the meat mixture at the center of the leaf. Fold sides over the ball and roll closed. Place seam side down in an 11-by-7 baking dish. Repeat with remaining cabbage leaves.

Combine ¼ tsp sesame oil, stock, and wish sauce in a small bowl. Pour over cabbage rolls. Cover dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 15 more minutes, basting rolls every five minutes.

Arrange on a large serving platter, garnish with cilantro and serve immediately with dipping sauce.


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