Cabbage is an under rated veggie that I often forget about. Until I accidentally had two giant heads of green cabbage in my fridge, I never really gave this cruciferous nutrient powerhouse a second look. After exhausting the traditional boiled cabbage, potatoes, and carrots, I was determined to find more delicious uses for this seemingly boring ingredient.
Cabbage, whether green, red, or purple, has a lot of health promoting qualities. It has a distinct flavor that you find in it’s family members like kale and Brussels sprouts, while boasting a large nutrient resume topped with anti inflammatory properties. So, whether you eat it because it’s incredibly good for you, or because it’s a super versatile and delicious addition to any recipe, cabbage is one food you should be eating more of.
Cabbage leaves are pretty sturdy, making them great for roll ups. When you give them a quick boil, the potent flavor mellows out, allowing you to highlight other complimentary flavors. I stuffed these guys with a tomato based lentil sauce that simmered with cumin and smoked paprika. Served with a touch of Sriracha and a side of raw beet slaw, this dish hit every taste bud.
Traditionally, cabbage rolls are stuffed with meat, so I went with lentils to make this a hearty, protein packed meal. You could easily use tofu, tempeh, or beans. First, cut the core out of your whole head of cabbage by making about a 2-3 inch deep hole where all of the leave come together. That way, the leaves stay together but easily come apart after your pre-boil the whole head.
For the beet slaw, I peeled a raw beet and threw it in the food processor with a few raw Brussels sprouts. I tossed it in some white vinegar with a dash of salt and pepper so give it a quick pickled taste. The colors were beautiful and the sweetness from the beets paired perfectly with the tart vinegar and earthy cabbage roll.
By blanching the leaves first, you can easily form rolls that stay together. After baking, the juice from the sauce softens the leaves, making the perfectly textured plant burrito.
Makes 6-8 rolls
1 head green cabbage
1 white onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
3/4 cup cooked green lentils
1 15oz can low sodium tomato sauce
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon roasted garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
salt and pepper to taste
1 beet, peeled
5 Brussels sprouts or more green cabbage
2 tablespoons white vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Prepare the cabbage by removing the core. Cut a 2-3 inch hole in the bottom where the leaves come together, and boil for 3-4 minutes until the leaves are able to easily pull away from the head.
2. Remove the cabbage head from the pot, and set aside to cool.
3. Heat a large skillet to medium heat. Add onions and cook for 3 minutes until softened.
4. Add carrots and celery to onions, and cook for 2 more minutes. Then, add lentils, tomatoes and spices, and simmer for 5-10 minutes. If too thick, add 1/2 cup water or veggie broth.
5. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking dish with tinfoil, and pour in half of the sauce.
6. Carefully remove the leaves from the cabbage. I got about 8 useable leaves, so save the rest of the cabbage for something else! Place about 1/2 cup of sauce in the center of each leaf, then roll as if you would a burrito. Place each roll seam side down in the baking dish, and cover. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the outer leaves have softened.
1. Place beet and sprouts in a food processor. Using the shred blade, pulse until desired texture is reached.
2. Toss with vinegar, salt, and pepper, then allow to sit in the fridge until ready to serve.