These Low Carb Enchilada Cabbage Rolls are made with cabbage leaves instead of tortillas and stuffed with chicken, cheese and green chiles for a healthy weeknight meal!
Enchiladas were a staple in my house when I was growing up. We’d have it for dinner at least once a week because it was something that everyone loved and agreed on eating. They were often made with fried corn tortillas and then filled with cheese and onions, topped with enchilada sauce and then with more cheese and onions.
Not exactly the healthiest meal, but it sure was tasty.
Today, my family’s enchiladas are getting a makeover.
First off, we’re getting rid of the corn tortillas all together and using cabbage leaves instead. It’s a wonderful way to get more cabbage in your diet and they’re a great substitute for tortillas. The cabbage leaves are sturdy enough to hold all the filling, but also pliable enough to roll and bend without ripping or tearing.
To get them ready for filling and rolling, simply cut off the stem of a large head of cabbage and carefully remove the leaves one by one so as not to tear them in the process. Give the leaves a little rinse to remove any dirt and blanch them in a pot of boiling water for 1 minute, until the leaves have softened and are pliable. To stop the cooking process, place the leaves in ice water immediately after blanching for 20 seconds and then place on a paper towel to drain and dry.
Once the cabbage leaves are blanched and ready, it’s time to fill them just like regular enchiladas.
Next, I added some protein and veggies to the filling.
I sauteed some onions, chicken and green chiles with various spices. Once cooked, spoon some of the chicken mixture into the middle of a cabbage leaf and top with shredded mozzarella cheese. Roll the leaf and fold in the sides to close in the filling and place in a baking dish seam side down.
The most important part? Top the low carb enchilada cabbage rolls with enchilada sauce! I used a batch of my homemade Authentic Red Enchilada Sauce but you can also use my Homemade Tomatillo Salsa Verde for a green enchilada sauce or your favorite store bought sauce if you prefer.
Last but not least, I garnished the low carb enchiladas with cherry tomatoes, avocados and cilantro.
If you’re a cheese lover, feel free to top everything with a little more shredded mozzarella cheese or even crumbled cotija cheese.
- 1 large head of cabbage
- 1.5 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup finely diced white onion, about 1/4 large white onion
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into small bite sized pieces (or pre-cooked shredded chicken)
- 1 4-ounce can diced green chiles
- 1 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 batch red enchilada sauce (or 2 cups store-bought enchilada sauce)
- optional toppings: chopped cilantro, diced tomatoes, avocados
To prepare the cabbage rolls
- Fill a large pot with hot water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. While water is coming to a boil, remove 10-12 whole cabbage leaves from a raw head of cabbage and rinse under cold water. Place 1-2 cabbage leaves in the boiling water and blanch for 1 minute. Remove from boiling water and transfer to a large bowl full of ice water. Remove from ice water after 30 seconds or when cool enough to handle. Continue until all the cabbage leaves have been blanched.
To prepare the chicken filling
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add diced onions and saute for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add diced chicken, green chiles, onion powder, garlic powder, ancho chili powder, cumin and salt. Saute for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside.
To assemble the enchiladas
- Lay out the blanched cabbage leaves and spread some of the chicken mixture in the middle. Top with 2 tablespoons of cheese, roll them up, fold in the edges and place seam down in a large baking dish. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
- Pour the enchilada sauce on top of the enchiladas and bake uncovered for 25 minutes. Garnish with cilantro, diced tomatoes and avocados if desired. Remove from oven and serve immediately.
*Nutritional information does not include garnishes. If you are using pre-cooked shredded chicken, simply saute the onion and green chiles in olive oil with all the spices for 10 minutes, remove from heat and stir in the chicken. To make this recipe dairy-free and paleo: omit the shredded mozzarella cheese.