Cabbage as a [Partial] Ground Beef Substitute

Two weeks ago, my husband found cabbage heads for 10 cents each at the grocery store. He bought the biggest cabbage he could find and brought it home, saying, “What can you do with this?”

The only two dishes that came to mind were coleslaw and spring rolls. I made two large batches of each… and still had half a head of cabbage left. I searched on and (two of my favorite recipe sites) and found a few recipes that involved combining ground beef with cabbage.

Nothing really piqued my interest, so I made my usual chili, subbing 1/4 of the ground beef with shredded cabbage. I assumed it would have a different flavor, but nothing too odd.

I couldn’t even taste it. It got me thinking: would cabbage work as a substitute for ground beef?

To test my theory, I made meatloaf a few days later and subbed 1/3 of the ground beef for cabbage. Again, the same result–I couldn’t even tell that cabbage was in it. The only difference was that my meatloaf was a bit more juicy and a little less firm. Overall though, I would gladly make it again.

Sometime in the near future, I plan on trying a half cabbage / half ground beef recipe. I’m sure I’ll be able to taste the cabbage then, so I will have to be selective and find a recipe that will accommodate the different flavor. I’m also worried the cabbage won’t hold together as well as ground beef does, so patties or another meatloaf will probably not work. I will just have to see!

To get to the point, if you’re looking to watch your overall meat intake or take a few calories out of a ground beef dish, consider adding shredded cabbage. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!


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