Packed with umami flavor and nourishing ingredients, these Mushroom Stuffed Cabbage Rolls are a hearty main for all occasions. vegetarian and vegan
I feel like I blinked and Thanksgiving was over. How was your holiday? Did you host, go out or share in the cooking? Was it a quiet Thanksgiving or did banter and family drama ensue?
We went out for Thanksgiving.
I figure for all the time prepping and cleaning coupled with the few opportunities of an extended period of time off from work, why not take a break?
And so we did.
We went to a little farm-to-table restaurant that served up the most delicious Thanksgiving menu I’ve ever experienced. The traditional turkey and stuffing was served, but for the veggie option they made mouth-watering pierogis stuffed with kale, onions, mushroom, herbs and a bit of cheese. A shallow broth cradled these little packages along with wild mushrooms, carrots, parsnips and herbs. Of course there was a generous serving of pan-fried Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, gravy and homemade sourdough.
Have you ever tried a pierogi?
I hadn’t until Thanksgiving. They’re little semi-circular dumplings filled with a sweet or savory stuffing, boiled, then pan-fried to impart a bit of a golden color and texture. They’re traditionally made for holiday celebrations.
I had never heard of them, but was excited to try something new.
It was those little pierogis and a rather large head of cabbage from the farm that inspired these little stuffed veggie cabbage rolls. I love the idea of little packages of deliciousness that when cut into, they reveal the most flavorful of stuffings. And they make such a delightful vegetarian holiday main for all things holiday and special occasions.
How to Make Vegetarian Cabbage Rolls:
- First, boil the cabbage in a large stock pot to soften the leaves. Drain and set in a colander to cool.
- Next, rehydrate the porcini mushrooms, drain, chop and set aside.
- Meanwhile, cook the lentils and rice in a small sauce pot. Set aside.
- While the lentils and rice are cooking, saute the mushrooms in a bit of oil. Add the shallots and stir until fragrant.
- Continuing, in a food processor, add the mushroom mixture, bread crumbs, 1 tsp of tomato paste, 1/2 tsp salt and fresh thyme leaves. Pulse to bring the mixture together.
- Mix together the lentils, rice and mushroom mixture and add seasonings and stuff the cabbage leaves and place in a baker.
- Last, make the tomato sauce, pour it over the cabbage rolls and bake.
What to Serve with Vegetarian Cabbage Rolls:
Mushroom Stuffed Cabbage Rolls make a delicious, hearty meal. Keep the side(s) light to keep these little vegan cabbage rolls center stage. I like to serve this recipe with any of the following or a seasonal salad:
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pear and Thyme
- Winter Jeweled Salad
- Maple Roasted Cardamom Spiced Carrots and Apples
- Roasted Beet and Apple Salad
A Few Vegetarian Cabbage Roll Recipe Notes:
- When boiling the cabbage to prepare for rolling, handle the leaves gently as they tear easily.
- Make ahead? Yes please! Prepare the stuffing and tomato sauce up to two days ahead and store separately in the refrigerator. Or, make rolls one day ahead without making the sauce. Cover the rolls in the casserole dish, and refrigerate. The next evening, make the sauce and bake as written.
- Freezer Friendly? While I’ve not frozen this recipe, I wouldn’t hesitate giving it a try.
- If planning for a dinner party, plan for 2-3 rolls per person.
More Cabbage Recipes to Love:
- Lentil-Mushroom Cabbage Roll Soup
- White Bean Cabbage Potato Soup
- Easy White Bean Cabbage Soup – by Making Thyme For Health
- Sesame Ginger Noodle Salad
- Winter Vegetable Noodle Curry – by The Bojon Gourmet
Mushroom Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
- 3 lbs Head of Green Cabbage 1.4kg
- 1 oz Dried Porcini Mushrooms 28g
- 1/4 C Long Grain Brown Rice 51g
- 1/4 C French or Green Lentils 50g
- 1 tsp Sea Salt divided
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 2 Tbs Olive Oil
- 3/4 lb Cremini Mushrooms stems removed and sliced thick, 346g
- 1/2 C Shallot minced, 46g
- 1/2 C Panko Bread Crumbs 40g
- 1 Tbs Tomato Paste divided
- 1 Fist Full of Fresh Thyme divided
- 1 Can Diced Tomatoes 272g
- Reserved Mushroom Soaking Liquid
- 3-4 Tbs Dry White Wine + Vegetable Broth as needed
- Ground Black Pepper
To Prepare the Cabbage:
- Bring a large stock pot, large enough to hold a head of cabbage, of water to a boil. Add the whole head of cabbage and simmer for 9 minutes turning it over once 1/2 way through cooking since it will float. Drain and set in a colander to cool. When cool enough to handle, gently remove the leaves attempting to keep them in tact as much as possible. You'll want to try and obtain at least 10, large in tact leaves for rolling. The torn leaves can be used to line the baking dish and eat for lunch the next day.
For the Stuffing:
- Place the porcini in a bowl. Scoop out 2 C (472g) of that very hot water for the cabbage and pour over the porcini mushroom, put a lid over them and rehydrate 30 minutes. Strain, reserving the soaking liquid. Squeeze out as much soaking liquid from the mushrooms as possible. Rough chop the mushrooms and set aside.
- In a small sauce pot bring 1 1/2 C (454g) of water to a boil. Add 1/4 tsp salt, bay-leaf, lentils and rice. Turn heat to low, put a lid on the pot and cook for about 40 minutes, or until rice and lentils are tender. The lentils will cook faster than the rice, but this is okay for our application.
- In a nonstick saute pan add two Tbs of olive oil, heat until shimmering then add all the mushrooms. Give them a good stir then let them cook for about 2 minutes at a time before stirring again. We want to get a good sear on the mushrooms. Cook for about 13-14 minutes. Add the shallots about 3 minutes before the mushrooms are done.
- In a food processor, add the mushroom mixture, bread crumbs, 1 tsp of tomato paste, 1/2 tsp salt and fresh thyme leaves from about 7 stems. Pulse about 4 times, scrape down bowl and pulse again a few more times so that mixture comes together but is not pasty.
- When lentils and rice are done, scoop the mushroom mixture into the saucepot the rice and lentils were cooked in (space permitting). Add about 1/2 tsp of ground black pepper. Stir well to combine and taste for seasoning adjustment. Set aside.
For the Tomato Sauce:
- Wipe out the mushroom saute pan and pour in the reserved mushroom broth. Simmer on medium for about 2 minutes. The broth will begin to slightly thicken. Stir in the remaining tomato paste until dissolved. Add 1/4 tsp of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Stir in the diced tomatoes and cook on low for about 2-3 minutes. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Lightly spray a casserole dish with pan spray.
- Line the dish with 3-4 cabbage leaves, or enough to cover the bottom and most of the sides. If the leaves hang over the edges, this is okay. To lay them flat you may need to cut a notch a the base of each stem.
- Scoop about 1/4 C (40g) of the mushroom mixture and place it near the base of the cabbage leaf. Gently fold in the sides and start rolling, tucking in the sides as needed. Place in baking dish, seam side down, on top of the leaves. Repeat, adjusting the amount of filling as needed for smaller leaves, until all the filling is used. The rolls can be crowded, just not overlapping. If you run out of room, start another baking dish and line as with the first baking dish.
- Pour the sauce over and around the top of the rolls. The sauce should come just up the sides of the rolls, not submerged. Drizzle the white wine over the top and if needed, add a bit of vegetable broth.
- Give the rolls a good few grinds of black pepper and a pinch of salt. Lay 5-6 sprigs of fresh thyme across the top.
- Bake, uncovered for 45-50 minutes until the tops are a bit golden with some a little crispy. Remove from oven and let set for five minutes before serving.
- Store in lidded container in fridge for up to two days.