Easy Vegan Cabbage Rolls
Unfortunately, I haven't eaten any cabbage rolls in my "non-vegan" past, but I had omnivorous friends taste it and they confirmed that this vegan version tastes just as hearty as the original. These cabbage rolls are actually not as difficult to prepare as you might think. We serve them with simple boiled potatoes, but you could also opt for mini potato dumplings or classic potato dumplings. To save you (and ourselves) some work we will prepare the brown sauce directly in the pan along with the cabbage rolls which means that you don't need an extra pot, yay. Once the cabbage rolls are braised, we just add some plant-based heavy cream and spices to it (we used oat cream but a soy-based heavy cream will work just as fine).
We used vegan "raw minced meat" for the filling that is nowadaways available at quite a lot of supermarkets. It just has the perfect consistency as you can shape it and it's not as dry as TVP. We also added pre-cooked canned lentils, but you can also cook them yourself, if you have the time.
For wrapping the cabbage rolls you traditionally use white cabbage, but we chose savoy cabbage because of its great green color (both work fine!). You will get at least 30-40 leaves from a head of cabbage, so you could go big here and have plenty of cabbage rolls (you will need one leaf per roll). Alternatively, prepare some sauerkraut from the remaining cabbage or blanch and freeze it for later.
An important utensil to keep at hand for this recipe is cooking string. It helps to seal the filling and luckily, you should find it in every supermarket or online. Alternatively, you could also fix the cabbage rolls with toothpicks.
Easy Vegan Cabbage Rolls
For the cabbage rolls:
- 6-8 leaves white cabbage (or savoy cabbage)
- 2 onions
- 2 garlic cloves
- 50 g (2 oz) carrot
- 10 g (0.33 oz) fresh parsley
- 250 g (9 oz) vegan "raw minced meat"
- 250 g (9 oz) cooked brown lentils
- 2 tbsp medium-strength mustard
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp paprika
- vegan butter for frying
For the sauce:
- 2 tbsp vegan butter
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 l (4.25 cups) vegetable stock
- 35 g (4 tbsp) cornstarch
- 100 ml (0.5 cup) plant-based heavy cream
- 2 tsp soysauce
- 1 tsp dried marjoram
- 1,5 kg (3.33 lbs) waxy potatoes
- fresh parsley for serving
For the cabbage rolls, peel and finely dice onions, garlic, and carrot (you can also grate the carrot if desired). Wash and finely chop fresh parsley.
Add chopped onions, garlic, carrot, parsley, vegan "minced meat", cooked brown lentils, mustard, tomato paste, and paprika to a bowl. Stir to combine – you can do so by using your hands and knead the filling until it's a mushy and shapeable mix. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Carefully cut off one cabbage leaf per cabbage roll from the stem. Rinse under water, then remove the tougher end of the stem with a knife. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and blanch cabbage leaves for approx. 4-5 minutes. Remove from the hot water and rinse under icecold water. Pat them dry on a clean kitchen towel.
Add approx. 2-3 tbsp of the filling to the center of each cabbage leaf. Fold the left and right side of the leaf over the filling, then roll up the leave from the bottom to the top to form your cabbage roll and to seal the filling. Use cooking string to fix the cabbage roll. Repeat this step with remaining cabbage leaves and filling until everything is used up.
Tip: How to fix the cabbage roll with cooking string: Wrap the cooking string around on end of the cabbage roll and knot it tightly. Now wrap the string around the whole cabbage roll several times until you get to the other end. Knot it there again and cut off remaining string.
For the sauce, melt vegan butter in a large, deep frying pan (or a roasting pan). Add cabbage rolls and fry them from all sides until browned. Add tomato paste and fry for a few minutes until it gets darker.
Add vegetable stock, then close with a lid and let the cabbage rolls braise over medium heat for approx. 30 minutes. The sauce should simmer during this time.
In the meantime peel waxy potatoes and transfer them to a pot. Cover with water, saeason with salt, and let them boil for approx. 15-20 minutes, or until fork-tender.
Remove the cabbage rolls from the frying pan. Mix cornstarch with 2-3 tbsp of water, then stir the mixture into the sauce. Add plant-based heavy cream and season the sauce with soy sauce, marjoram, a pinch of sugar, salt, and pepper to taste. Let it simmer for approx. 1-2 minutes or until slightly thickend. Add the cabbage rolls back to the pan, then remove from heat.
Wash and finely chop parsley for serving. Serve cabbage rolls with sauce and boiled potatoes, then sprinkle with parsley.