St. Patrick’s Day is lurking right around the corner; the time of year this Norwegian starts callin’ herself Fiona and enjoys doin’ the Irish thang: the wearin’ of the green, drinking beer, eating corned beef and cabbage…..Wait! What’s a vegan to do about that last thing?! Cabbage Rolls! Cooked just like corned beef and cabbage, spices and all. Served with Irish Soda Bread and a stout beer. Who needs the corned beef?
In spite of the use of a slow cooker, this meal is time-intensive. If you don’t have all day, cook the cabbage to “harvest” the leaves and make the filling the night before or even on multiple nights before. The mustard sauce can also be made in advance. Bake the soda bread right before serving dinner for maximum yumminess.
My go-to vegan blog, FatFree Vegan Kitchen got the cabbage rolling, my recipe is based on hers.
For the cabbage rolls:
- 1 large cabbage
- 3 cups cooked lentils (from 1 1/4 cup dry–follow package instructions, adding 2 minced cloves of garlic, salt and pepper to the pot)
- 1 cup cooked rice (or other cooked grain of your choice: bulgur, quinoa, barley,….)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (4 cloves shown, because you need 2 for the lentils)
- 1 package mushrooms, chopped
- 2 TBSP fresh parsley, minced
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flake
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
Added to the crock pot to make a whole meal:
- 4 or 5 carrots, cut into 2″ pieces
- 3 or 4 potatoes, cut into chunks (peeled or not)
- 1 celery heart, chopped
- 1 TBSP pickling spices
- 1 stout or porter beer
- No Chicken broth, for the pot and to saute the onions, garlic and mushrooms
Cook the lentils and rice (separately) according to package directions, adding garlic, salt and pepper to lentils as they cook.
Cutting at an angle, remove the core from your cabbage, along with any outer leaves that look a bit gnarly.
Place the cabbage, core-side up in a large pot and fill with water until the cabbage starts to float, or is covered. Bring to a boil and simmer, carefully pulling off leaves with tongs as they begin to loosen. I helped some of mine to loosen using a knife near the core end.
Collect 10-12 leaves if large, up to 14 if you end up with some smallish ones.
Saute onions and garlic in broth until onions start to caramelize, about 10-12 minutes, adding more broth as needed. Add mushrooms and saute until softened and water that the mushrooms give off has cooked off.
Combine lentils, rice, mushrooms, onions, garlic, parsley, lemon juice and spices in a large bowl.
Trim the thick stem on each cabbage leaf to allow for easier rolling.
Place about 1/3 cup of filling near the stem end of a cabbage leaf. I measured for the first leaf, and eyeballed it from there.
Fold the stem end over the filling.
Fold in each side.
And roll tightly, placing rolls seam-side down in the bottom of your crock pot. I didn’t have some of mine rolled tightly enough and some of the rolls came apart while cooking. (Lentils on the loose!) I would recommend refraining from overfilling your rolls (my tendency) so you can get the cabbage to roll a second time over the filling, or to fasten the rolls with toothpicks.
Keep rolling and packing. It’s best to try to squish them all on the bottom in one layer. My crock pot is smallish and making two layers added to the issue with the rolls coming apart–I think.
Place carrots, potatoes and celery on top of the rolls. Sprinkle with pickling spice or place the spice in a tea ball or cheesecloth bag if you want to contain them. Pour the beer over the top; add No Chicken Broth to cover.
Place crock pot on high for 4 1/2 hours. Sometime during the slow cooking, make the mustard sauce:
- 2 cups No Chicken Broth
- 2 TBSP cornstarch
- 1 cup non-dairy milk
- 2 TBSP miso (white or yellow)
- 2 TBSP nutritional yeast
- 1 TBSP soy
- 4 TBSP Dijon mustard
- ground pepper
Place broth in a medium pan and heat to a simmer. Dissolve cornstarch in non-dairy milk, whisk into the simmering broth. Whisk in miso, nutritional yeast, soy and Dijon. Add pepper to taste. Beware–watch this sauce carefully while heating it. It boils over quickly and will leave quite a mess for you to clean up. Not that I’ve ever done that……
Make soda bread right before the cabbage rolls and veggies are ready, open up a nice, cold, dark beer, top everything with a bit (or lot!) of the mustard sauce and TADA!
This meal totally has the feel of a corned beef and cabbage meal–just as savory, hearty, filling and yummy!
I made everything in one day and felt like I’d spent all day cooking and washing dishes. The meal was so worth it, but I’m using the cook some of it ahead of time method next year! Happy St Patty’s Day!