With the winter storm battering the Carolinas yesterday, I decided to stay indoors and make old-fashioned comfort food.
Since I make a lot more Italian food than Hungarian, I decided to honor my Hungarian heritage and make a vegan version of a childhood favorite – Stuffed Cabbage.
I bought a lovely head of green cabbage from Farmer Gene at the Charlotte Regional Farmer’s Market. Although some recipes will tell you to submerge the whole head of cabbage in a pot of boiling water, I knew that I only needed 12 leaves to make this dish and wanted to preserve the interior of the cabbage for another use. I cut off the bottom of the cabbage, and carefully peeled back the number of leaves I needed. I trimmed the rib of each leaf before submerging the leaves (no more than two at a time), in a pot of boiling, lightly salted water. The leaves only need about a minute in the hot water to soften. Carefully remove them with a pair of tongs, and lay the leaves drain on a rimmed baking sheet that you’ve lined with a clean dish towel.
You’ll notice that the outer leaves are a much darker shade of green, and that the color of the leaves lightens as you go further into the cabbage’s interior. These varying shades of green are one of the things that makes the dish beautiful!
Since traditional Hungarian recipes use a mixture of ground beef and pork, along with white “minute” rice, I definitely needed to revamp my filling.
With two cups of cooked organic brown rice on hand, my filling came together in just a few minutes. I sauteed an onion, and then added about half a package of Gardein Beefless Grounds to the skillet. To amp up the flavor (and add a wee bit of color), I added yellow oyster mushrooms (which I carefully tore apart), about 1/3 cup of white wine, fresh dill, lots of freshly ground black pepper, and of course the cooked brown rice.
Here are my lovely yellow oyster mushrooms from Tammy, the friendly mushroom lady, at the Farmers Market. . .
and here’s how the filling looked before we began stuffing the cabbage leaves . . .
My sweet (and handy) hubby did a wonderful job in illustrating how to stuff each cabbage leaf. Just follow along . . .
Put a spoonful of filling on the inside of the leaf . . .
Overlap both sides, creating a snug little package . . .
Continue rolling each cabbage leaf around the filling. Place the rolls seam side down over a bed of drained sauerkraut (try Bubbies Naturally Fermented Sauerkraut – it’s very good!) that you’ve ladled into a greased Pyrex baking dish . . .
When all the stuffed cabbages are nestled in the baking dish, they look like this . . .
Pour two cups of organic tomato juice over the top . . .
Cover tightly with foil, and bake for 45 minutes at 375 degrees, and then uncover, turn the oven down to 350, and bake for 5-10 more minutes.
While all that baking was going on, I made Caraway Carrots on the cooktop. Just scrub a couple of pounds of fresh organic carrots, cut them up into slices or chunks (whatever you prefer), and saute in vegan butter (or unsalted butter if you’re not vegan). Add a splash or two of white wine, a little vegetable stock, caraway seeds, sea salt, and freshly ground pepper, and cook until they are to your family’s desired shade of tenderness. They make for a beautiful (and tasty) contrast to the stuffed cabbage rolls!
While this is admittedly a time-consuming recipe, I couldn’t think of anything I’d enjoy doing more on a wintery weekend!
- 1 medium head fresh green cabbage
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (or butter, if you don't want the recipe to be vegan)
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 2 cups Gardein Beefless Grounds, frozen
- 2 cups cooked organic brown rice
- ⅓ cup dry white wine
- ½ cup torn yellow oyster mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 25-ounce jar Bubbie's Naturally Fermented Sauerkraut, drained
- 2 cups organic tomato juice
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil, and add 1 teaspoon of salt.
- Cut off the bottom of the cabbage, and carefully loosen 12 leaves. Trim the tough rib on each cabbage leaf. Using tongs, place them in the boiling water (no more than two at a time) for about a minute. Remove with tongs and drain on a clean dish towel that you've placed on the bottom of a rimmed baking sheet.
- Meanwhile, heat a large non-stick skillet. Add the oil (or butter), and saute the onion for about 5 minutes until translucent. Add the frozen Grounds, and cook 4-5 minutes. Add the cooked brown rice, wine, oyster mushrooms, dill, and black pepper. Turn off the heat and let the filling cool for a few minutes.
- Stuff the cabbage leaves with the filling, as illustrated in the pictures.
- Spray a large (13"x 9") Pyrex baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Place the drained sauerkraut on the bottom of the baking dish (but please reserve the juice because you can use it in other dishes!)
- Place the stuffed cabbage rolls seam side down over the sauerkraut. Pour on the organic tomato juice and cover tightly with some non-stick aluminum foil. Bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes. Remove the foil and lower the heat to 350 degrees for another 5-10 minutes.
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