Vegetarian Cabbage Rolls

Vegetarian Cabbage Rolls

A family favourite, Cabbage Rolls turned vegetarian, are tasty and delicious!  

I really like cabbage rolls and that's not surprising as I love cabbage.  I haven't made them very often over the years because years ago veggie burger was very hard to acquire where I live.  But now you can buy the stuff all over the place.  Canned, frozen and dehydrated are available and you can be sure you can find at least one or two kinds in any large grocery store.  Canned veggie burger is the hardest for me to buy as I have to order it online or buy it once a year in bulk at Camp Meeting.  Frozen burger is the easiest as most large grocery stores carry several brands.  I buy the dehydrated TVP at the local bulk food store.  So armed with all three options of veggie burger I set out to make a big dish of Cabbage Rolls--actually two smaller dishes.  We'll eat the smaller dish of rolls and freeze the larger dish for company.  Next time Peter and his family come to visit we'll have those.  (Be forewarned Peter, ha, ha!)

This recipe goes on forever but don't be alarmed.  I'm trying to explain in detail what I do when I make the Cabbage Rolls.  They are really not too hard to make and you can make the filling the day before, if you wish, and keep refrigerated until the rolls are ready to be stuffed.  

The fussiest part is removing the leaves from the cabbage but that's not hard either.  You just have to make sure you have something large enough to lower the cabbage into the boiling water so you don't scald your fingers.  I use this slotted skimmer and a large pair of tongs to help keep my fingers in fine working order.

I was able to remove about 25 cabbage leaves from my large cabbage but there was a knob of cabbage left that was not suitable for the rolls.  I didn't want to throw it out so I chopped it up and made half a recipe of Creamed Greens.  



Printable recipe at end of post.
Vegetarian Cabbage Rolls

Filling:
  • 2 cups veggie burger, your favourite brand
  • 1 cup slightly under cooked rice
  • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1-2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 egg, optional
  • 1 teaspoon salt or steak seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dill
  • 1 large cabbage to harvest about 20 large leaves (I had a 5 pound cabbage.)
  • 2-3 cups plain tomato sauce/tomato juice/pureed canned tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar, optional
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice, optional
How to make it:

Make the filling:  Sauté the onions in the oil over medium low heat until soft.  Stir in the garlic and continue cooking an additional minute or two. In a large bowl place the remaining filling ingredients along with the cooked onion and garlic and mix until well combined.  Set aside.

Prepare the cabbage: Cut a large slice off the bottom of the cabbage to remove part of the core.  This should loosen the outer leaves.  Remove any dirty outer leaves. Using a paring knife, cut down into the core and remove as much as you can.  

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil.  It should be large enough to hold the head of cabbage.  Carefully lower the cabbage into the water.  Let slowly boil about 3 or 4 minutes. Turn the cabbage if it has not been fully submerged and cook and additional 3 or 4 minutes on the uncooked side.  The leaves are now ready to be removed.  Using a pair of tongs, lift the leaves from the core end of the cabbage and place in a large bowl. Keep removing the leaves until you notice the leaves are not cooked enough.  Let the cabbage cook a few more minutes and continue removing leaves until you have about 20. (I used 22 various sized leaves.)  

When the leaves are cool enough to handle, carefully slice off the tough rib going up the middle of each leaf.  This will make it thinner and will allow the cabbage to cook evenly. No one wants to try and chew a mouthful of tough stalk.

Make the Cabbage Rolls: When the leaves have been prepared it is time to fill them.  Use about 2 or 3 tablespoons of filling for each leaf.  If your leaves are very large you may need more and if they are small 2 tablespoons would be plenty.  Press the filling together and place on the stalk end of the leaf.  Roll up, turning in the sides to contain the filling.  Repeat until all leaves are filled or you run out of filling.  

Turn the oven on to 350 degrees and let it heat while you are putting the rolls in the baking dishes.

If you wish you may add brown sugar and vinegar or lemon juice to the tomato sauce. I just use the plain sauce. 

Spray baking dish or dishes with pan spray or grease with butter.  Spread a little sauce on the bottom of each dish. If you are using tomato sauce, thin with about ½-¾ cup of water. If you wish line the dish with any unused cooked leaves.  This is supposed to keep the cabbage rolls from burning on the bottom.  

Place the cabbage rolls in the baking dish or dishes, side-by-side, until the dish is filled.  Spread remaining sauce evenly over the top of the rolls. Cover the dishes with aluminum foil as tightly as you can and place in the oven.  Bake 45 minutes or until the cabbage is tender and the filling is cooked.  If you used dark green leaves they may take longer to cook.  Remove from oven and let sit covered for 10 minutes.  Remove the foil and serve.  

If you wish Cabbage Rolls can be served with a dollop of sour cream.

Makes about 20 Cabbage Rolls.

Saute the onions in the oil over medium low heat until soft.  Stir in the garlic and continue cooking an additional minute or two. In a large bowl place the remaining filling ingredients along with the cooked onion and garlic and mix until well combined.  Set aside.

Cut a large slice off the bottom of the cabbage to remove part of the core.  This should loosen the outer leaves.  Remove any dirty outer leaves. 

Using a paring knife, cut down into the core and remove as much as you can.  

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil.  It should be large enough to hold the head of cabbage.  Carefully lower the cabbage into the water.  Let slowly boil about 3 or 4 minutes. Turn the cabbage if it has not been fully submerged and cook and additional 3 or 4 minutes on the uncooked side.  

The leaves are now ready to be removed.  Using a pair of tongs, lift the leaves from the core end of the cabbage and place in a large bowl. Keep removing the leaves until you notice the leaves are not cooked enough.  Let the cabbage cook a few more minutes and continue removing leaves until you have about 20. 

When the leaves are cool enough to handle, carefully slice off the tough rib going up the middle of each leaf.  This will make it thinner and will allow the cabbage to cook evenly. 

Use about 2 or 3 tablespoons of filling for each leaf.  If your leaves are very large you may need more and if they are small 2 tablespoons would be plenty.  Press the filling together and place on the stalk end of the leaf.  

Roll up, turning in the sides to contain the filling.  

Repeat until all leaves are filled or you run out of filling.  Turn the oven on to 350 degrees and let it heat while you are putting the rolls in the baking dishes.

I usually have plain tomato sauce on hand but not today. I had half a bottle of the Mushroom and mixed it with some of the Onion & Garlic sauce.  I thinned the sauce with about ½ cup of water.  I used about 2½ cups sauce. If you wish you may add brown sugar and vinegar or lemon juice to the plain tomato sauce.

Spray baking dish or dishes with pan spray or grease with butter.  Spread a little sauce on the bottom of each dish. If you wish line the dish with any unused cooked leaves.  

Place the cabbage rolls in the baking dish or dishes, side-by-side, until the dish is filled.  Spread remaining sauce evenly over the top of the rolls. 

Cover the dishes with aluminum foil as tightly as you can and place in the oven.  

Bake 45 minutes or until the cabbage is tender and the filling is cooked.  If you used dark green leaves they may take longer to cook.  I test the cabbage with a knife.

 Remove from oven and let sit covered for 10 minutes.  

Remove the foil and serve.  

Depending on the size, 2 or 3 Cabbage Rolls make a nice serving.

Vegetarian Cabbage Rolls
Vegetarian Cabbage Rolls make a wonderful main dish for dinner or supper!

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