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Little cabbage ‘suitcases’ (Valigini)

Little cabbage ‘suitcases’ (Valigini)

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  • 12 savoy cabbage leaves carefully removed from base of cabbage
  • 450 g lean chopped meat
  • 7 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves only
  • 1 stalk celery thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • tsp ground black pepper
  • tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup plain bread crumbs (use stale low GI bread)
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese


  • Wash and steam the cabbage leaves for 2–3 minutes or until they appear wilted. Set aside.
  • Place the chopped meat in the bowl of a food processor and pulse for 15 seconds (25 pulses). Add the parsley and celery and process for another 15 seconds.
  • In a large, heavy skillet heat the oil and garlic, add the meat mixture (press with fork to break up mixture into very small crumbled pieces) and sauté for 5 minutes on medium-high heat taking care it doesn’t burn. Add in the spices and mix well.
  • Return the meat mixture to a clean food processor bowl. Whiz for 1 minute adding the breadcrumbs and grated cheese through the food tube as it is processing.
  • Line up the cooked cabbage leaves on the counter, place a rounded tablespoon of the meat mixture (about 1¼ oz/35 g) on the lower half of each leaf and gently roll up, taking care to close in sides as you roll. Secure with a toothpick.
  • Add ½–1 cup homemade tomato sauce to a large Dutch oven or sturdy casserole and heat gently. Arrange the pieces to cover the bottom. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, turning each piece over after 7–8 minutes. Serve hot.


Energy per serve: 1268kJ
Photography by Sergio Burani

Please note the serving size listed is to be used as a guide only. Consider your own individual nutrient and carbohydrate requirements and adjust the serving size as required. If you are unsure of your requirements consult an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) for personalises advice.

Nutritional information (per serve)

Calories: 302kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 67mg | Fiber: 3g
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