Turkey Stuffed Cabbage Rolls: An Adapting Recipes Blog

Last week I made Turkey Stuffed Cabbage Rolls and featured them on my Alt-ternative Autoimmune FB page.  If you aren't familiar, I do a regular post there where I share a photo of my meal and explain how it is AutoImmune Protocol (for Paleo)-friendly.  My hope is that by sharing so many of my meals, I'll help inspire my fellow AIers in their AIP healing journeys.  Lots of folks asked for that recipe, so I am sharing it today and also writing a bit about adapting recipes for AIP.

Soooo gooood . . . my daughter loved them.

Without further ado . . . You can find the original Turkey Stuffed Cabbage Roll recipe HERE.  Here's how I changed the recipe to fit my needs:

-I used two pounds of ground turkey (so there would be plenty of leftovers for lunch)
-I skipped the egg (egg is out on AIP)
-I used two carrots
-I used 12 cabbage leaves
-I did not double the onion (one onion is enough for me and my family)
-I used four garlic cloves (we like garlicky food)
-I skipped the chiles (hot peppers are out on AIP)
-I skipped the cumin (cumin is derived from a seed, seeds are out on AIP, instead I used two teaspoons of turmeric . . . more on the health benefits of turmeric later)
-I used about 1/2 cup of chopped, fresh cilantro (aka coriander)
-I added some salt and pepper

After assembling all the ingredients, I carefully peeled my cabbage leaves off the cabbage.  I dunked them in boiling water for about 30 seconds and then set them aside to cool enough to handle.  (Little tip:  chop up the rest of the cabbage and start a small batch of kraut.)  While they were cooling, I put the ground turkey in a big bowl and added all the other ingredients.  I made sure the carrot was finely shredded and the onion and garlic finely chopped, so it would all bind better.  I mixed it all by hand (warning turmeric will dye your hands yellow).  I put about a cup of filling into each leaf, rolled up the leaf, put in seam side down in a baking dish, added a tiny amount of water and popped it all in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  It was delicious!!

I am rapidly closing in on one year of eating AIP, so as you can imagine I have had to work hard at creatively adapting 100's of recipes.  I have not cheated on the protocol at all (that would just be cheating myself, right?), but I have enjoyed almost everything I've eaten.  Here are a few of my thoughts on adaptations:

-Egg when used as a binder, can almost always be skipped.  I never worry at all about needing egg for meatballs, meatloaf or meat fillings.  I also don't use eggs for things like stuffing.  Where I find eggs can not be left out are the obvious . . . quiche, breakfast casseroles, etc.  I also have not attempted egg substitution in baking, although it can be done.

-It is easy to skip or replace seed based or nightshade based spices for most recipes, if the spice is not the star of the show.  For instance, I make this Shrimp Ceviche recipe without the serrano chile and it still tastes awesome and refreshing.  For Easter I made these Baked Olives without the crushed red pepper flakes and it was still so flavorful and delicious, you would never even know it called for a nightshade spice.  Where I find that seed or nightshade based spices can not be skipped, are recipes that make the spice the star . . . chili, taco seasoning, etc.

-I have had some luck substituting coconut flour for all the nut-based flours, but not enough success to rave about.  I also haven't found a way to substitute or skip nut butters when they are called for in a recipe.  Unfortunately, I think nuts being out-out on AIP just has to be accepted.  This means that alot of desserts that are similar to old SAD (Standard American Diet) favorites can not be concocted.  For instance, my daughter can have brownies and cupcakes that are totally Paleo, but that I still can't touch with a ten foot pole.  My best advice . . . put on your big girl panties and get over it.  You are healthier without it.  I know that's not very comforting, but seriously sometimes that's just the long and short of it.

-Skipping the nightshade veggies in recipes is also a so-so win.  There is no way to fake a tomato sauce.  On the other hand, lots of recipes that call for white potatoes can be done with sweet potatoes (sweet potato fries anyone?!).  Eggplants?  Who cares . . . eggplant sucks anyway.  I do miss bell peppers, but with the exception of stuffed pepper recipes, bell peppers do not figure promptly in alot of recipes, so it is easy to just leave them out when they are called for.  As to hot peppers, I addressed that above in the spice section.

-A final thing I spend alot of time doing is searching for what I call, "Accidentally AIP" recipes.  You do not need the name "paleo" or the name "autoimmune protocol" attached to a recipe in order to know it works.  You just have to know what foods are out.  There are actually alot of recipes out there for amazing dishes that fit the Paleo or AIP molds perfectly without even trying.  Hunt through your old SAD cookbooks and you'll find them.

There you have it folks!  It's really that simple.  Now, tell me how it's going and more importantly, how you feel, about adapting your food to the AIP model?

P.S.  About turmeric.  Look here. 

One other thing . . . if you'd like tons more AIP recipes.  Check out this link.

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7 thoughts on “Turkey Stuffed Cabbage Rolls: An Adapting Recipes Blog

  1. Cammie

    I have a nightshade free recipe for tomato sauce...I'm sure you could tweak it to make it AIP friendly

    Nightshade-Free "Tomato" Sauce
    Yields about 3 cup of sauce
    2 carrots
    1 medium beet
    1 cup of water or stock
    2 teaspoons mellow miso (I used Miso Man)
    1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
    ¼ teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon basil
    1 teaspoon oregano

    Chop carrots and beets into 1/2 inch size pieces, place in a pot with one cup water or stock. Bring to a boil and then down to a simmer for 10 minutes or until tender. Drain the water into a cup and set aside. Place the carrots, beets, and half the cooking liquid (about half a cup) into a Vitamix blender and begin to puree on medium-low. Add miso, apple cider vinegar, salt, and spices to the mixture. Add additional liquid if necessary to bring to the desired consistency. You want the sauce to be thin enough that it mixes together in the Vitamix, but thick enough to spread like a pizza sauce.

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    1. Angie Alt

      Post author

      Maggie, I am not sure where you were told that Cilantro is not an approved herb, but you can definitely have it on AIP. Thanks for reading & let me know if you have more questions.

      1. bee

        I think Maggie is confusing Cilantro with Coriander seed. They are from the same plant but cilantro is the green leafy part, and coriander is the seed. Outside of the US both parts of the plant are called "coriander", I believe.


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