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Vegan Cabbage Rolls Recipe – Traditional European Dish

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Let’s roll up some deliciousness with our Vegan Cabbage Rolls Recipe! These savory delights are filled with a flavorful mixture of rice, lentils, veggies, and herbs. Start by blanching cabbage leaves until tender, then fill each leaf with a tasty filling. Roll them up and place in a baking dish, then smother with tomato sauce and bake until golden and bubbly. Serve hot, and enjoy these comforting vegan cabbage rolls!

WHY IT WORKS?

  • Simple Ingredients: Utilizes everyday pantry essentials, including rice and canned tomatoes, ensuring easy preparation.
  • Nutrient-rich: Packed with vegetables and legumes, offering a hearty and healthy meal option.
  • Flavorful Twist: Herbs and spices blend seamlessly, creating a rich and satisfying taste.
  • Versatile Meal: Perfect for casual dinners and special occasions, adapting to your dietary needs and preferences.

Don’t have time to read the full blog post? JUMP TO THE RECIPE HERE!

Finding a recipe that caters to taste and health can often feel daunting, especially for those of us embracing a vegan lifestyle.

The quest for a dish that ticks all the boxes leads many to the same old, uninspiring options. Enter the game-changer: Vegan Cabbage Rolls.

This dish became my beacon of hope during my transition to plant-based eating. With their rich, savory filling wrapped in tender cabbage leaves, these rolls offer a satisfying meal that doesn’t compromise flavor or nutrition.

By embracing this homemade recipe, I discovered a delightful way to enjoy my greens and a solution to the monotony of vegan dinners.

Vegan Cabbage Rolls Recipe

What Is A Vegan Cabbage Roll? 

Vegan cabbage rolls are a plant-based version of the traditional Eastern European dish. These rolls consist of cooked cabbage leaves filled with a savory mixture of grains, such as rice or quinoa, and legumes, including lentils or beans, seasoned with herbs and spices.

The filled leaves are then rolled up and cooked in a flavorful tomato-based sauce. This dish offers a nutritious, hearty, and versatile meal option, catering to those following a vegan diet or anyone looking to incorporate more vegetables into their meals.

Vegan cabbage rolls testify to how plant-based ingredients can create satisfying and delicious dishes.

Fact – Cabbage is a low-calorie vegetable rich in vitamins C and K, making it beneficial for immune health and bone strength. It’s also highly versatile in culinary uses.

Vegan Cabbage Roll

Recipe Directions 

  • Prepare the Rice Soak sushi rice in a bowl with plenty of water for 45-60 minutes, then drain. Cook in a saucepan with the specified amount of water and some salt until tender, about 10-12 minutes.
  • Cook the Veggies While the rice is soaking, chop your veggies and prepare the cabbage leaves. Boil water in a large pot, and cook 3-4 cabbage leaves at a time for 2-3 minutes until softened. Transfer to a bowl of cold water. Repeat with remaining leaves. Heat 1/2 tbsp oil in a skillet; sauté onion, ginger, garlic, carrot, peppers, and mushrooms with tamari and spices for 3-4 minutes.
  • Assemble the Rolls Add the cooked rice to the skillet and mix. Taste and adjust seasonings. Lay a cabbage leaf flat, place 1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons of filling in the center, fold in the sides, and roll up. Repeat with all leaves.
  • Pan Sear the Rolls Heat 1/2 tbsp of oil in a skillet, add cabbage rolls (work in batches), and pan sear until golden brown.
  • Make the Sauce Heat oil in a saucepan and cook ginger, garlic, tamari, rice vinegar, and maple syrup for 1-2 minutes. Slurry cornstarch and water with spices, add to the saucepan, and cook until thickened.
  • Serve Place the cabbage rolls on a plate, pour the sauce over them, and garnish with sesame seeds.

Recipe Directions 

Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings 

Variations

  • Grain Choices: While sushi rice is commonly used, you can experiment with other grains like quinoa, bulgur, or millet for different textures and nutritional profiles.
  • Protein Boost: For an extra protein punch, add lentils, chickpeas, or finely chopped tofu to the filling.
  • Cultural Twists: Change the spices and herbs to adapt the recipe to various cuisines. Add cumin, chili powder, and black beans for a Mexican twist. For an Asian flair, incorporate soy sauce, sesame oil, and tofu.

Add-Ons

  • Nuts and Seeds: Add chopped walnuts, pine nuts, or sunflower seeds to the filling for added crunch and nutrition.
  • Dried Fruits: Incorporate raisins, chopped dried apricots, or cranberries for a hint of sweetness and texture contrast.
  • Fresh Herbs: Enhance the flavor with fresh dill, parsley, or cilantro mixed into the filling or sprinkled on top before serving.

Variations, Add-Ons

Toppings

  • Sauces: Beyond the basic tomato sauce, try a creamy avocado sauce, a spicy tahini drizzle, or a rich mushroom gravy.
  • Vegan Cheese: Sprinkle nutritional yeast or vegan parmesan cheese on top before baking for a cheesy flavor.
  • Crunchy Toppings: Add a final touch with toasted breadcrumbs, sesame seeds, or crushed nuts for extra crunch.

Toppings

Vegetable Substitutions

  • Quinoa Salad: A light and refreshing quinoa salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, and a lemony dressing complement the richness of the cabbage rolls.
  • Roasted Vegetables: A mix of roasted carrots, parsnips, and beets offers a sweet, earthy side that pairs well with savory rolls.
  • Mashed Sweet Potatoes: Creamy mashed sweet potatoes bring a sweet contrast to the umami flavors of the cabbage rolls.
  • Steamed Green Beans: Simply steamed green beans with a touch of garlic and olive oil make a healthy and crisp side.
  • Couscous with Herbs: Fluffy couscous mixed with fresh herbs like parsley and mint adds a light and aromatic touch.
  • Sautéed Kale or Spinach: Greens sautéed with garlic add a nutrient-rich and flavorful complement to the meal.
  • Creamy Polenta: Soft and creamy polenta is a comforting base for the cabbage rolls, enhancing their flavors.
  • Pickled Vegetables: A side of pickled cucumbers, carrots, or beets offers a tangy contrast to the deep flavors of the rolls.
  • Rice Pilaf: A fragrant rice pilaf with onions and herbs is a simple yet elegant side that pairs beautifully.
  • Garden Salad: A fresh garden salad with various greens and a light vinaigrette balances the hearty nature of the cabbage rolls.

Quick Tip – For perfectly tender cabbage leaves that are easy to roll, freeze the whole cabbage overnight and thaw. This process naturally softens the leaves.

Vegetable Substitutions

Best Side Dishes

  1. Quinoa Salad A light and refreshing quinoa salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, and a lemony dressing complement the richness of the cabbage rolls.
  2. Roasted Vegetables A mix of roasted carrots, parsnips, and beets offers a sweet, earthy side that pairs well with savory rolls.
  3. Mashed Sweet Potatoes Creamy mashed sweet potatoes bring a sweet contrast to the umami flavors of the cabbage rolls.
  4. Steamed Green Beans Simply steamed green beans with a touch of garlic and olive oil make a healthy and crisp side.
  5. Couscous with Herbs Fluffy couscous mixed with fresh herbs like parsley and mint adds a light and aromatic touch.
  6. Sautéed Kale or Spinach Greens sautéed with garlic add a nutrient-rich and flavorful complement to the meal.
  7. Creamy Polenta Soft and creamy polenta is a comforting base for the cabbage rolls, enhancing their flavors.
  8. Pickled Vegetables A side of pickled cucumbers, carrots, or beets offers a tangy contrast to the deep flavors of the rolls.
  9. Rice Pilaf A fragrant rice pilaf with onions and herbs is a simple yet elegant side that pairs beautifully.
  10. Garden Salad A fresh garden salad with various greens and a light vinaigrette balances the hearty nature of the cabbage rolls.

Best Side Dishes

How To Serve?

  • On a Bed of Rice: Serve the cabbage rolls atop a bed of fluffy white or brown rice, allowing the sauce to seep into the grains for extra flavor.
  • With a Side of Sauce: Serve the cabbage rolls with extra tomato or special vegan sauce on the side, which guests can add as they please, enhancing the taste and moisture.
  • Garnished with Fresh Herbs: To add a burst of freshness and color, sprinkle chopped fresh parsley, dill, or cilantro over the rolls before serving.
  • Alongside a Crisp Salad: To add a light and refreshing contrast, accompany the cabbage rolls with a crisp, fresh salad.
  • With Lemon Wedges: Serve lemon wedges on the side for squeezing over the rolls. This adds a bright, acidic note that complements the flavors.
  • As part of a Platter: Arrange the cabbage rolls on a platter with various other vegan dishes for a communal dining experience, allowing guests to sample different flavors.
  • Topped with Vegan Sour Cream: A dollop of vegan sour cream on each roll adds a creamy, tangy element that balances the savory filling.
  • Sprinkled with Nutritional Yeast: For a cheesy flavor without dairy, sprinkle nutritional yeast over the rolls before serving.
  • With Roasted Vegetables: For a hearty and warming meal, serve the cabbage rolls with a side of roasted vegetables.
  • With Bread on the Side: Offer slices of crusty bread to soak up the delicious sauce, ensuring no flavor is left behind.

Quick Tip – To prevent the cabbage rolls from unraveling during cooking, secure them with toothpicks or tie them gently with kitchen twine before placing them in the sauce.

How To Serve?

Storage & Make Ahead

  • Refrigeration: Place cooked cabbage rolls in an airtight container. They will keep well in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
  • Freezing: For longer storage, freeze the rolls on a baking sheet until solid, then transfer to a freezer-safe bag or container. They can be frozen for up to 3 months.
  • Reheating: If frozen, thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat in a microwave or in the oven until thoroughly warmed.
  • Make Ahead: Prepare and cook the cabbage rolls in advance. Store them in the refrigerator or freezer, depending on when you serve them. This strategy ensures your meal is ready to enjoy with minimal prep on busy days.

Fact – Cabbage rolls originated in Eastern Europe and have diverse variations across cultures. Each adds unique ingredients and spices to reflect local culinary traditions and preferences.

Vegan Cabbage Rolls Recipe

Time-Saving Tips

  1. Prep Vegetables in Advance: Chop all your vegetables the day before and store them in the fridge to save time on cooking day.
  2. Use Instant Rice: Opt for pre-cooked or instant rice to reduce the cooking time for the filling.
  3. Boil Cabbage in Batches: Boil several cabbage leaves at once to soften them faster for rolling.
  4. Freeze Cabbage Leaves: Freezing and then thawing the whole cabbage makes the leaves easier to peel and roll without needing to boil them.
  5. Simplify the Sauce: Use a high-quality store-bought tomato sauce to save time when making the sauce from scratch.
  6. Make in Bulk: Double the recipe and freeze extra rolls for a quick and easy meal later. Frozen rolls can be cooked directly from the freezer, adding only a few extra minutes to the baking time.
  7. Assembly Line: Set up an assembly line for filling and rolling the cabbage leaves to streamline the process.
  8. Use a Large Work Surface: Clear a large workspace to assemble the rolls so you can work on multiple rolls simultaneously.

Vegan Cabbage Rolls Recipe - Traditional European Dish

Vegan Cabbage Rolls Recipe – Traditional European Dish

Recipe by Julia

Vegan cabbage rolls are a wholesome and satisfying dish that pairs tender cabbage leaves with a hearty filling of grains and vegetables, all simmered in a flavorful tomato sauce.
This plant-based recipe offers a nutritious twist on classic comfort food, making it a perfect meal for those looking to enjoy traditional flavors with a vegan approach.

Course: Appetizers
0 from 0 votes
Servings

10 – 12

servings
Prep time

1

hour 

15

minutes
Cooking time

20

minutes
Calories

220

kcal
Cook Mode

Keep the screen of your device on

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups 1 1/4 Dry sushi rice or any short-grain rice

  • 1 large 1 Large napa cabbage (10-12 leaves)

  • 1 tbsp 1 Oil (divided)

  • 1 medium 1 Medium onion, diced

  • 3/4 tbsp 3/4 Ginger, minced

  • 3 3 Garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 medium 1 Medium carrot, diced

  • 2 medium 2 Medium peppers, diced

  • 8 White button mushrooms, diced (canned)

  • 2 tbsp 2 Tamari or coconut aminos

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 Sea salt

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 Ground pepper

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 Onion powder

  • 1/4 tsp 1/4 Red pepper flakes

  • To garnish Sesame seeds (to garnish)

  • For the Sauce:
  • 1 tsp 1 Oil (e.g., sesame oil)

  • 1/2 tbsp 1/2 Ginger, minced (for sauce)

  • 2 2 Garlic cloves, minced (for sauce)

  • 1 1/2 tbsp 1 1/2 Tamari or coconut aminos (for sauce)

  • 1 tbsp 1 Rice vinegar (for sauce)

  • 3/4 tbsp 3/4 Maple syrup (for sauce)

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 Water (for sauce)

  • 1/2 tbsp 1/2 Cornstarch (for sauce)

  • To taste To taste Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, smoked paprika (for sauce)

Directions

  • Prepare the Rice
  • Soak the sushi rice in a bowl with plenty of water for 45-60 minutes, then drain.
  • Cook in a saucepan with the specified amount of water and some salt until tender, about 10-12 minutes.Vegan Cabbage Rolls Recipe
  • Cook the Veggies
  • While the rice is soaking, chop your veggies and prepare the cabbage leaves.
  • Boil water in a large pot, and cook 3-4 cabbage leaves at a time for 2-3 minutes until softened. Transfer to a bowl of cold water. Repeat with the remaining leaves.Vegan Cabbage Rolls Recipe
  • Heat 1/2 tbsp oil in a skillet; sauté onion, ginger, garlic, carrot, peppers, and mushrooms with tamari and spices for 3-4 minutes.
  • Assemble the Rolls
  • Add the cooked rice to the skillet and mix. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  • Lay a cabbage leaf flat, place 1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons of filling in the center, fold in the sides, and roll up. Repeat with all leaves.
  • Pan Sear the Rolls
  • Heat 1/2 tbsp of oil in a skillet. Add cabbage rolls (work in batches) and pan-sear until golden brown on all sides.Vegan Cabbage Rolls Recipe
  • Make the Sauce
  • Heat oil in a saucepan and cook ginger, garlic, tamari, rice vinegar, and maple syrup for 1-2 minutes.
  • Create a slurry with cornstarch and water, add to the saucepan with spices, and cook until thickened.Vegan Cabbage Rolls Recipe
  • Serve
  • Place the cabbage rolls on a plate, pour the sauce over them, and garnish with sesame seeds.
  • Equipments List
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Saucepan
  • Large Pot
  • Skillet
  • Cutting Board
  • Chef’s Knife
  • Measuring Cups
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Baking Sheet
  • Toothpicks or Kitchen Twine
  • Colander
  • Wooden Spoon

Notes

  • Soaking Rice: Enhances texture and reduces cooking time.
  • Softening Cabbage: Eases rolling and prevents tearing.
  • Vegetable Variety: Feel free to substitute based on availability.
  • Seasoning Adjustments: Tailor to personal taste preferences.
  • Batch Cooking: Pan-sear in batches for even browning.
  • Sauce Consistency: Adjust with more or less water as needed.
  • Storing Leftovers: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
  • Freezing Option: Freeze assembled, uncooked rolls for future meals.
  • Serving Suggestion: Accompany with a side salad for a complete meal.
  • Garnishing: Sesame seeds add a nice crunch and visual appeal.

Nutrition Table

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Make Vegan Cabbage Rolls Gluten-Free?

Yes, you can make vegan cabbage rolls gluten-free by ensuring that all ingredients used are gluten-free. For the filling, use gluten-free grains like quinoa or rice.

When it comes to sauces or tamari, opt for gluten-free versions. Always check labels on processed ingredients like canned mushrooms or spices to ensure they’re certified gluten-free.

How Can I Make The Cabbage Leaves More Pliable For Rolling?

There are several methods for making cabbage leaves more pliable. One popular method is to boil the whole cabbage or individual leaves for a few minutes until they soften.

Another method is freezing the whole cabbage overnight and then thawing it, which naturally softens the leaves and makes them easier to roll without boiling.

Vegan Cabbage Rolls Recipe

What Can I Use Instead Of Tamari Or Coconut Aminos?

If you don’t have tamari or coconut aminos, you can substitute them with soy sauce if you’re not avoiding gluten. For a gluten-free option, consider using a gluten-free soy sauce. Another alternative is liquid aminos, which provide a similar umami flavor to your dishes.

Can I Prepare Vegan Cabbage Rolls Ahead Of Time?

Yes, vegan cabbage rolls are an excellent make-ahead dish. You can prepare and cook them in advance, then store them in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or freeze them for up to 3 months. To serve, simply reheat them in the microwave, oven, or stovetop until thoroughly warmed through.

How Can I Add More Protein To Vegan Cabbage Rolls?

To increase the protein content of vegan cabbage rolls, consider adding legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, or black beans to the filling. Finely chopped tofu or tempeh are great protein-rich additions that blend well with other ingredients.

Additionally, incorporating quinoa instead of rice can boost the protein, as quinoa is a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids.

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HELLO AND WELCOME TO
VIE DE LA VEGAN!

Greetings from the heart of Vie De La Vegan, where each dish we share is a chapter in a larger story of discovery, wellness, and the transformative power of a plant-based diet. My name is Julia, and I am thrilled to be your guide on this delightful culinary adventure.

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