Growing up in a Hungarian household, cabbage rolls were a frequent dish on our dinner table. I have distinct memories of the Hungarian tastes and warm feelings of family spending time together over a good meal. I will never forget my grandmother and great aunts making this classic dish and as much as I loved it so many years ago, I’d never consider eating it now for the simple reason that it is not vegan. Not even close.
For years, I’ve avoided making cabbage rolls, as I thought they were a lot of work. The rolling of cabbage leaves was a daunting task for me and I could never bring myself to attempt it…. until this week. I had no plans of making cabbage rolls at all, but while I was perusing the produce isles at the grocery store, there was something about the cabbage that screamed “use me!”. Can’t say that’s happened before, but suddenly I had an urge to make cabbage rolls. I had no idea how and no time to make them, but I felt compelled. And so I went… picked up a large cabbage and went home to experiment. Thankfully, the once daunting task to me, wasn’t actually daunting at all. I am pleased to say that making stuffed cabbage rolls is actually MUCH easier than I expected.
These cabbage rolls are savoury and delicious. They do involve a bit of prep, but the steps are quite easy to complete once you get the hang of it. I used vegan “ground beef” in my recipe, but you could easily make this recipe with lentils as well, if you were looking for something a little more whole foods-like. As well, I used jarred tomato sauce, but a homemade sauce would be extremely delicious.
As always, if you make this dish, please tag me and use #theveganjetsetter… enjoy!!
- 2 cans of tomato sauce (680 ml each)
- 1 large cabbage
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1.5 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 cup uncooked basmati rice
- 1 package of vegan “ground beef”
- 1 can tomato paste (156 ml)
- 1 cup unsalted veg broth
- 3 tbsp diced parsley
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp evoo
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp tamari
- Cook 1 cup of rice, leaving rice firm and slightly undercooked.
- While rice is cooking, core the cabbage and place in a large pot, fully submerging it in water. Boil until leaves are soft.
- After cabbage leaves soften, drain water and place cabbage on a plate, allowing it to cool.
- Once cooled, remove leaves one by one and trim off the thick core. This is essential to be able to easily roll the cabbage.
- In a separate large pan, sauté garlic and onion in extra virgin olive oil on med-high, until translucent.
- Add paprika, parsley, tomato paste, salt, lemon juice, nutmeg, brown sugar, black pepper and tamari. Stir well.
- Add beefless ground, vegetable broth and stir until cooked through and soft.
- Combined 2 cups of cooked rice into the filling, and mix well.
- In a casserole dish or cast iron skillet, brush the bottom with extra virgin olive oil and then coat with an even layer of tomato sauce.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Take one cabbage leaf at a time, place 2 or 3 heaping tablespoons of filling at the neck of the leaf and roll the leaf over the filling, away from you, folding the left and right outer edges into the middle as you roll.
- Place each roll into your casserole dish or cast iron skillet and cover with remaining tomato sauce.
- Bake for approximately 40 minutes, until leaves are cooked through.
- Serve with chopped parsley as garnish.
- This recipe calls for a large cabbage, as the bigger, outer leaves are the best to use for rolling. This will result in about half your cabbage unused, available to use for a different purpose, if you wish.
- Makes approximately 14 cabbage rolls.