Weeknight Cooking

Herby Impossible™ Meatballs With Caramelized Cabbage

September 22, 2020
5 Ratings
Photo by Ty Mecham
  • Prep time 45 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Inspired by traditional stuffed cabbage rolls, these meatballs are cold-weather comfort in one hearty skillet. The meatballs are seasoned with plenty of herbs—dill, parsley, and chives—and a touch of lemon zest for brightness and zing. Braised slowly with wedges of caramelized cabbage in a lightly spiced tomato sauce, the meatballs become plump and sumptuous, while the cabbage slumps into meltingly tender perfection.

The whole dish is topped off with cooling dollops of sour cream, more fresh dill, and generous squeezes of lemon juice. Serve over steamed rice or with lots of crusty bread to sop up the leftover sauce. (Trust me, you won’t want to leave one drop behind.) —Asha Loupy

Test Kitchen Notes

This recipe is shared in partnership with Impossible Foods. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for finishing
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk (or oat milk)
  • 4 large garlic cloves, divided, microplaned or minced
  • 2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely grated (or plant-based equivalent)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chives, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped, plus more dill fronds for garnishing
  • Zest of 1 lemon (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 large egg ((or flaxseed egg replacement or 3 tablespoons plant-based yogurt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (12-ounce) package of Impossible™ Burger
  • 1 (28-ounce) jar whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 medium head cabbage, cut into sixths (or half of one large cabbage, cut into fourths)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Calabrian chile paste, or two generous pinches of red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Sour cream, for serving (or plant-based equivalent)
  • Lemon wedges, for serving
  1. Heat a large skillet (big enough to hold the meatballs, cabbage, and sauce) over medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil and continue to heat for another 30 seconds (this will prevent the oil from scorching). Add the onion and 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt and sauté until soft and golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the cooked onions to a bowl and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, whole milk, and 2 tablespoons of the reserved cooked onions. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes, allowing the breadcrumbs to absorb the liquid. Add 1/4 of the garlic, Parmigiano-Reggiano, parsley, chives, dill, lemon zest, egg, black pepper, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt to the moistened breadcrumb mixture and mix well. Add the Impossible Burger and, using your hands, mix until the breadcrumb mixture and the meat are fully combined. Place in the refrigerator and chill for 30 minutes.
  3. While the meatball mixture is chilling, preheat the oven to 425°F. Pour the tomatoes and their juices into a medium bowl, crush the tomatoes with your hands and set aside.
  4. Remove the chilled meatball mixture from the refrigerator. Drizzle a sheet pan with 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil and rub a little oil on your hands (this will make for easier, less sticky rolling). Divide the mixture into 14 portions, about 2 ounces each, and roll into balls between the palms of your hands. Place the finished meatballs on the oiled baking sheet.
  5. Return the large skillet to the stove and heat over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil and continue to heat for another 30 seconds. Arrange the meatballs in a single layer in the skillet and brown on all sides, about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes per side. Using tongs, remove the cooked meatballs from the pan and transfer to a baking sheet or tray.
  6. Keeping the skillet at medium-high heat, add the cabbage wedges, cut side-down and cook until deep brown and caramelized on both sides, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove the cabbage wedges and transfer to the baking sheet with the meatballs.
  7. Reduce the heat to medium and add the rest of the reserved cooked onions, remaining 3/4 of garlic, chile paste, and cinnamon, and cook for 1 minute. Add the reserved crushed tomatoes and their juices, 1/2 cup of water, and the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt. Stir and bring to a simmer. Nestle the cabbage wedges into the sauce, followed by the meatballs, spooning some of the tomato sauce over them.
  8. Bake until the cabbage is meltingly tender and the sauce has reduced by 1/3, about 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with dill fronds, and serve with sour cream for dolloping and lemon wedges for squeezing tableside.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • GSalvador
  • Asha Loupy
    Asha Loupy
  • Snow

4 Reviews

GSalvador October 25, 2021
I've made this a handful of times already, so i thought i should leave a review.
Thank you for putting this out there Asha!
It is a wonderfully filling, easy and satisfying meatless dish!
All people weary of Impossible and its friends, dont be weary after trying this recipe
Asha L. October 25, 2021
Thank you for taking the time to write a comment! That means so much to meee. :)

And, it's a reminder to me that it is braised cabbage season (meatball szn is timeless, haha) and I should make this again!
Snow October 21, 2020
Thank you for the vegan/vegetarian recipe substitutions!! A brief explanation of what "Impossible" is would be helpful. Are there other meat substitutions that can be used? Boca, Quorn etc? Not all brands are available everywhere.
Asha L. October 21, 2020
Hi there! You can find a little more about Impossible and my plant-based meatballs journey here: https://food52.com/blog/25589-how-to-make-meatballs-with-impossible-burger

Unfortunately, I haven't yet played around subbing in other plant-based meats. If anyone tries, I'd love to hear about the results!