Source: Rochelle Beerli circa 2000
Vegetarian Cabbage Rolls
The inspiration for the Vegetarian Savoy Cabbage Rolls came from my weekly Bio Vegetable Box, which I get delivered to my house. Yes, I’ve been making cabbage rolls for years, and before me, my mom. It was always a New Year’s day meal, made special with a ground meat, rice and herb filling, topped with the delicious tomato sauce. I however, will often make my rolls vegetarian style.
The savoy variety has been around since the German gardener’s developed it in the middle 16th century. It’s a winter variety, and said to be the best variety for cooking. It is strong, sturdy and has a very thick spine, thus making it the perfect canvas for this meal. It involved a bit of pre-work with taking each leaf off, one by one, then par-boiling the leaves. Surprisingly though, it’s a pretty quick sub-step. The fun begins once you begin the stuff and roll method. Piggy’s in a blanket, cabbage rolls, Golabki, or holubky…it’s a dish commonly found throughout Europe, the Balkans, and North America.
For my group, we relate this dish to winter. It’s made with a winter vegetable, and it’s a warm and incredibly satisfying meal to enjoy on a cold winter’s day. You’ll find many cultures like to cook this meal in the crock-pot, however I love a nice roasting pan, and enjoy cooking this dish in the oven. You just need to take a bit of care that the top doesn’t brown out or dry up, so just watch it through the cooking process. Additionally, this is a vegetarian recipe. Think beyond the traditional meat-filled ingredients, and perhaps, bring this to a vegan dish as well.
Vegetarian Savoy Cabbage Rolls
- 1 medium savoy cabbage full head, about 15+ leafs
- 1 can diced tomatoes for sauce
- 1 to 2 cloves garlic for sauce
- 2 to 3 pinches herbs for sauce (rosemary, oregano, sage)
- 1 cup rice uncooked, long grain or basamati
- 1 TBS olive oil to drizzle
- 2 to 3 leafs mint to add to rice stuffing
- 1 medium egg to rice stuffing for binding
- 3 TBS bread crumbs to stuffing
- Begin with cooking a cup of rice. When it’s finished, in a large metal bowl, mix the rice, egg, bread crumbs, mint, and any other vegetables you might have on hand that are cooked. Mix well and set aside.
- Prepare a pot of boiling water to flash cook your cabbage leaves. Put 2-3 leafs in at a time, par-boil for about 1 min.
- Turn on oven, and preheat to 200 Celsius.
- Begin to fill each leaf, with approximately 1 heaping spoonful of filling.
- Begin the roll by tucking in the sides, then roll the entire leaf, remembering to keep the sides tucked in.
- place them in the baking dish, seam down.
- Make a quick tomato sauce with the can of tomato’s, garlic, and fresh herbs.
- Pour the sauce over the rolls, then bake for 25 min. or until sauce is bubbling and the cabbage seems well cooked.
- Take out, and serve immediately