This one is a family favorite, passed down for generations. It is a vegetarian version. You can prepare just the stuffed peppers, or just the stuffed cabbage leaves. Like my mom, I like to combine the both. I believe they taste better together. Here it goes:
4 medium onions
1/2 cup oil
1 can (14.5 oz) petite diced tomatoes
3 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
3 cups medium grain rice
4-5 bell peppers
1 whole fresh cabbage
Prepare the stuffing:
Dice the onions and grate the carrots.
Add some water to the rice, to soak.
Pour oil in large skillet, heat, then add the onions.
Just when onions are softened, add carrots and cook until carrots are soft. Do not overcook.
Add tomatoes, salt and black pepper and cook for about 5 more minutes. Remove from heat.
Drain water from the rice. Add to the mixture. Set aside.
Prepare the peppers and cabbage:
Peppers: With a knife, cut around the top of the peppers to scoop out the stems and all the seeds. Be careful to make sure the peppers stay whole. Rinse the peppers inside, and make sure no seeds are left.
Cabbage: Fill a medium saucepan halfway with water. Bring to a boil.
Take the cabbage and one at a time, cut the leaves at the base and remove them from the cabbage head. Take out as many leaves as you can. Be careful not to break. It’s better to use the larger leaves on the surface, that are not torn. Place a few cabbage leaves at a time in the saucepan with boiling water. Boil for about 3 minutes, just until the leaves are tender. Do not overcook. Remove from the pan without breaking and set aside.
With a spoon, fill the peppers with the rice stuffing, then place in the slow cooker.
Carefully remove the hard parts at the base/middle of the cabbage leaves, then cut in 2-4 sections, depending on the size of the leaf.
Take each piece of cabbage leaf, spoon some rice stuffing on it. The amount of rice stuffing depends on the size of the leaf. Then roll the cabbage leaf, to make sure you got the rice well covered. Use as much cabbage as you need in order to finish up all the rice stuffing. Place in the slow cooker, filling in the gaps between the peppers.
Add 1/2 cup of water. Cover everything with leftover cabbage leaves, either steamed or fresh. Cover with the lid and cook on high for 4.5 hours.
Remove the cabbage leaves from the top and serve. Pofta Buna!
Serving suggestions: This dish is normally served with sour cream. Add a fresh salad for a complete, healthy meal.