When I stopped eating red meat all those years back, I never really tried to recreate many meals or recipes with alternatives or substitutes. Even today, I am hesitant to plan too many meals around a meat alternative – it just doesn’t fit into my usual seafood-heavy meal plan.
But these past six months or so have found me on a variety of food journeys I wouldn’t have expected before now, including recreating a vegetarian-friendly version of a beef-centric classic – Stuffed Cabbage Rolls.
This is the quintessential reminder of grandma’s house for so many people, though I don’t personally recall having this on my childhood dinner table. Still, I had it stuck in my mind for weeks that I should try to make this. My version is completely done on the stove, which has been appealing for these hotter summer days.
- 1 16-ounce package meatless ground (such as Beyond Meat)
- 1 large head of cabbage
- 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 2 8-ounce cans tomato sauce
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup cooked white rice
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill (substitute 2 teaspoons dried dill)
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1½ teaspoons black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup water
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While water is boiling, cut out the core of the cabbage, keeping the head of cabbage whole.
Once the water is boiling, carefully submerge the head of cabbage, cut side down, into the water. You might need to use the lid of the pot to keep the cabbage submerged.
Boil cabbage for about 12 minutes, until leaves easily pull off with tongs. Place leaves, one by one, into a colander to drain and cool. You’ll need about 12 large leaves. Drain water from the rest of the cabbage. Set aside to cool.
While cabbage is cooling, heat large casserole dish or Dutch oven with lid over high heat on the stove. Add olive oil and diced onion, cooking until translucent (about 5 to 7 minutes). Add minced garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat.
Add cooked onion and garlic to a medium bowl, along with meatless ground, 1 8-ounce can of tomato sauce, 2 tablespoons fresh dill, 1 tablespoon dried parsley, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Mix to combine, then fold in cooked white rice.
Once cabbage leaves have cooled, cut out thickest vein from each leaf and lay them flat, with inner side facing up.
Add about ⅓ to ½ cup of filling to the center of each leaf. Roll them from the bottom up, similar to a burrito or egg roll, ensuring the filling is tucked inside. Repeat until you have used all of the filling or used all of the separated leaves.
Rough chop the rest of the head of cabbage and add in a shallow layer to the bottom of your casserole dish or Dutch oven. Place stuffed cabbage rolls, seam side down, on top of the cabbage layer.
Add 8-ounce can tomato sauce, 14.5-ounce can diced tomato (with juices), ½ cup water, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper to a small bowl and combine. Pour tomato mixture over the cabbage rolls, cover with the lid and bring to a boil over high heat.
Once you reach a boil, reduce heat to a low simmer and cook/steam the rolls for about 40 to 45 minutes until filling is cooked and cabbage rolls are easily cut through with a fork. Serve with extra fresh dill sprigs and a side of the tomato base with chopped cabbage from the bottom of the pan.