Gluten-Free Vegan Cabbage Rolls
J’adore Food Love Fridays!
This is the day that I get to share with you my favorite vegan kitchen experiments. And…take photos — my absolute favorite part!
I think it’s important to have a list of things that make you excited, happy and invigorated. Something easy that you can pull out of your pocket and do. Food photography (well…photography in general) is one of those things that makes me so giddy. I love setting up a pretty picture.
Now, on to the important business of the day: Vegan Cabbage Rolls! These bad boys happen to be gluten-free and fat-free, too!
I always thought that cabbage rolls were going to be an absolute bitch to make. How wrong I was. Cabbage rolls are even easier to make than stuffed red peppers — and those are super easy to whip-up.
My man was gracious enough to tootle on over to our local, Amish, natural foods store, and pick me up a preserved head of cabbage. This is the key to making easy cabbage rolls, people — a whole head of cabbage that is preserved! Think of sauerkraut that hasn’t been chopped-up, yet.
A preserved head of cabbage comes in a vacuum-paced package. Once removed from its plastic sarcophagus, the leaves can be easily peeled off from the head of cabbage. Simple. Fast. Brilliant.
There’s no need to fiddle with boiling a fresh head of cabbage, and wrestling each leaf from its tight enclosure. That process is excruciatingly frustrating and time consuming. And…not very tasty I might add. Using a preserved head of cabbage, on the other hand, provides a huge amount of tangy flavour. And, that’s what I’m after — BIG TASTE EXPLOSIONS.
- 1 whole head of preserved cabbage
- 1.5 cups of brown basmati rice
- 2.5 cups of fresh water
- 1 large can of organic crushed tomatoes
- 4 chopped cloves of garlic
- 3 zucchinis chopped
- 2 cups of broccoli chopped
- 3 cups of peas (frozen are fine)
- 1 medium sized sweet Vidalia onion
- 3 tsp of crushed fennel seeds
- 2 tsp of dried oregano
- 3 tsp of sea salt
- 2 tsp of ground pepper
- 3 tbsp of sweet paprika
- 8 dried bay leaves
- Optional: chopped medjool dates as a garnish
- Make the brown rice first. Make the rice a little bit under done; it will finish cooking once wrapped in the cabbage leaves and baked. Warm-up a medium sized pot on the stove. Pour in 1.5 cups of basmati rice, and toast it for 2-3 minutes: stir constantly. Pour in 2.5 cups of water. Bring the water to a boil, then move the pot to a smaller burner. Keep the temperature on the lowest setting. Put a lid on the pot, and cook the rice for 40-45 minutes.
- Pour the cooked rice into a large mixing bowl. To the rice, mix in the RAW chopped zucchini, chopped broccoli, peas, chopped onion, chopped garlic, 2 tsp of ground fennel seeds, 2 tsp of dried oregano, 2 tsp of sea salt, 1 tsp of ground pepper and 3 tbsp of sweet paprika. Mix thoroughly.
- Peel off one cabbage leaf at a time. Place the cabbage leaf on the counter — have the rib of the cabbage leaf facing you. Spoon 1/3 of a cup of the rice mixture into the cabbage leaf. Roll the cabbage leaf, and enclose the rice mixture inside (refer to pictures below).
- In a Dutch oven or large pot, pour in 1/4 of a can of crushed tomatoes. Make sure the tomatoes cover the bottom of the pot. To the tomatoes, sprinkle a little bit of ground fennel seeds, sea salt and pepper, and place 3 bay leaves on top. Place first layer of cabbage rolls on top of the crushed tomatoes.
- Once the first layer of cabbage rolls are placed in the pot, add more crushed tomatoes on top to cover the cabbage rolls. Sprinkle on more ground fennel seeds, salt and pepper. Place 3 more bay leaves on top.
- Add another layer of cabbage rolls. There should be 3 layers in total. Between each layer make sure you have crushed tomatoes with seasoning and bay leaves.
- Before placing the pot of cabbage rolls into the oven, cover the top of the cabbage rolls with more crushed tomatoes, herbs, salt, pepper and bay leaves. You can also chop up the remaining preserved cabbage and place it on top of the cabbage rolls.
- Put a lid of the pot, and bake the cabbage rolls at 350 degrees F for 1.5 hours.
- Serve cabbage rolls with chopped medjool dates on top. So yummy!