Vegan Cabbage Rolls

Cabbage Rolls

Every now and again I will walk by the cabbage section in the produce aisle and say to myself “jeez, I haven’t made cabbage rolls in FOREVER”. I then proceed to pick up a big healthy cabbage and throw it in my freezer when I get home. And then it sits there… for a good week, until I remember why I bought it.

Cabbage rolls are very tasty but they can be a pain to prepare. The frozen cabbage trick is a good time saver, but you still have to wait for the thing to defrost before you can use it. For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, freezing the cabbage and then allowing it to defrost, eliminates the whole cooking process (to prepare the rolls). When the cabbage defrosts, the leaves become soft and easy to peel off.

This was my first attempt at vegan cabbage rolls. They turned out great, amazing actually. The only thing I needed to substitute from the original recipe was the ground meat and what better way to do that then with lentils (hello protein). If you want to save yourself some time in making these, you can use canned lentils or store bought tomato sauce. Making everything from scratch is obviously healthier, but sometimes it isn’t realistic with our crazy schedules.

Vegan Cabbage Rolls

Makes approx. 16 rolls

Tomato Sauce

  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  •  1/4 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/4 cup red pepper, chopped
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • Dash of chili flakes (optional)
  • Salt and pepper

1) In a blender, add diced tomatoes and blender for 20 seconds (do not blend into a puree – you want it kind of chunky).

2) In a large saucepan, add oil. Once heated, add onion and garlic. Add mushrooms and peppers after 4 minutes. Continue to heat for 5 minutes or until all veggies are soft. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, vegetable broth, brown sugar, cider vinegar, chili flakes, salt, and pepper. Stir and cover for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.

3) Add tomato sauce to a blender (you can do this in more than one batch if you have a small blender). Blend for 45 seconds, or until well blended (puree). Set aside while you make cabbage rolls.

Cabbage Rolls

  • 1 head green cabbage
  • 1 cup brown rice (dry – once cooked should be approx 2 cups)
  • 1 cups lentils (dry – once cooked should be approx 2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • Salt and pepper

1) Preheat oven to 350F.

2) Cook lentils and rice according to package directions. You can also use 2 cans of lentils to save some cooking time.

3) In a large bowl, mix rice, lentils, tomato sauce (recipe above), salt, and pepper.

4) Once your cabbage is defrosted, cut the stem off the bottom (cut about 1/2 an inch). Peel off the leaves.

5) Spread about 3/4 cup of sauce in the bottom of a baking dish.

6) Take each leaf and on an angle slice off the thick part of the stem at the bottom. Open the leaf (like a bowl) and fill with about 3 or 4 tbsp of rice/lentil filling. Fold in the sides and roll up. Place in baking dish. Repeat until there is no more filling. Make sure you pack the cabbage rolls in tightly because you don’t want them to unravel (use a smaller baking dish if you need to).

7) Top the cabbage rolls with the tomato sauce. Cover each roll generously. Cover the dish with tin foil. Bake for 35 minutes, remove foil, and bake for 10 more minutes.

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