Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Vegan Sweet-n-Sour Superfood Stuffed Cabbage

Lately I've been obsessing about an old country favorite of mine-Stuffed Cabbage. If you've never had it before, it's quite a treat. Originally made with ground beef and white rice as the filling, I think you'll find that my no-oil, no-added-salt, Vegan superfood version doesn't leave anything to be desired.

Some people might consider the preparation of Stuffed Cabbage to be an ordeal. But if you grew up eating it (thanks Mom!) and absolutely miss it now that you are Plant-strong, you might just consider this recipe worth every minute of your time. I know I do.

Like a woman, stuffed cabbage gets even better with age. I served it to a group of friends for dinner on the night that I made it. It was very good. When I ate some leftovers three days later, it was markedly more delicious. I think I actually had a foodgasm.

HGK's Vegan Superfood Stuffed Cabbage

Printable Recipe

1 1/2 cups diced onion
2 cups diced zucchini (1 small zucchini)
5 cups diced mushrooms (16 ounce package, diced)
2 cups cooked whole grain like quinoa, bulgur or brown rice
2/3 cup currants
3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp pepper
1 large head green cabbage
1 recipe Sweet-n-Sour Tomato Sauce
1 apple, peeled and sliced thinly

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Prepare your whole grain if it is not yet cooked.

Prepare a batch of the Sweet-n-sour Tomato Sauce.

Boil a large soup pot full of water. Turn off until you are ready to prepare cabbage leaves.

Place a large saute pan over medium heat. Pour some vegetable broth into the pan to just cover the bottom. Once the broth is bubbling, add the diced onion and stir. Cook until the onion is translucent, stirring frequently. Add a touch more vegetable broth as needed to prevent burning.

Add the diced zucchini and stir. Let cook for three minutes. Add diced mushrooms and stir. Cook, stirring frequently, until zucchini and mushrooms are soft and liquid released from mushrooms evaporates.

Turn off heat. Add cooked grain, currants, walnuts, spices and 1/2 cup of the Sweet-n-sour Tomato Sauce. Stir gently to combine.

Cover the bottom of a 9x13" casserole dish with some of the Sweet-n-sour Tomato Sauce.

Bring the pot of water back to a boil. Carefully cut all the way around the core of the cabbage, as deep as you can go (about 3 inches deep). Carefully place entire head of cabbage into water. Let cabbage boil until the outermost layer is soft and is beginning to come away from the head. You may need to nudge it a little with a pair of tongs. When leaf comes away from the head, use the tongs to lift the leaf out of the water, letting the excess water drain back into the pot.

Keep the rest of the cabbage simmering as you roll each individual cabbage roll.

Lay leaf inside out in the middle of a dinner plate. Holding a paring knife (or other small knife) horizontally, carefully cut away the hard part of the stem. Place a heaping 1/3 cup of the filling onto the lower middle of the leaf. Fold the left and right sides of the leaf over the filling. Roll the cabbage all the way up from the bottom, pushing the left and right sides in if necessary. Place roll into casserole dish.

Repeat process until casserole dish is full of rolls or all of your filling has been used up.

Place apple slices evenly on top of cabbage rolls. Pour remaining Sweet-n-sour Tomato Sauce over rolls and distribute evenly. Bake, covered, at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. Turn heat to 250 degrees and bake for an additional 2 hours.
The stuffing-mushrooms, zucchini, onions, currants, walnuts and quinoa.

The individual cabbage leaf, turned inside out, before stuffing.

Apple slices over the top add to the magic.

Sweet-n-Sour Tomato Sauce

10 pitted Deglet (small) dates, soaked in water for at least 1 hour (less dates if you are using the larger Medjool variety)
vegetable broth for sauteing
1 cup diced onion
2 garlic cloves, pressed
2 14.5 ounce (or 1 28 ounce) cans diced tomatoes, unseasoned (not Italian style)
1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
juice of 1 large lemon
In a medium sauce pan, saute onion over medium heat in a few Tbsp of vegetable broth until translucent. Add garlic, stir and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
While onions are cooking, pour tomato sauce into the bowl of a food processor or high powered blender. Remove soaked dates from liquid and add to sauce. Blend until sauce is smooth.
Add diced tomatoes and tomato/date sauce to onions. Stir in lemon juice. Simmer on very low heat for ten minutes.

Here's a nice video demonstrating how to roll stuffed cabbage:

Do you prepare any special food that takes a long time but is oh-so-worth-it?
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