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Vegetarian Stuffed Cabbage

Vegetarian Stuffed Cabbage

A budget-friendly take on this traditional Ashkenazic dish.

The past few weeks in the Nosh Pit have been filled with meaty stews and soups, like Chicken and Dumplings, and Mini Meatball Soup. I suppose that’s because in my mind winter=hearty foods=meat. But I’m here this week to disprove myself! Because hearty dishes can in fact be made for vegetarians, vegans, pescatarians – you name it. Of course omitting the beef also makes this a fairly cheap meal, considering how much it makes.

Stuffed cabbage is known by several other names including holishkes, galumpkis, golubsy or prakes – depending on just which Eastern European country you hail from. Most stuffed cabbage today is filled with ground beef, even though very poor European cooks would use vegetables instead. I made my stuffed cabbage with a filling of rice and mushrooms, and it was delicious, hearty, and perfect for dinner. I used a combination of button, cremini and Portobello mushrooms. Really any kind will work – shitake, porcini, bella – whatever catches your eye in the market.
Just a note before you start – this is a fairly time consuming recipe. Both the hands-on time and the cooking time are lengthy, so factor that in before you get going!
Recipe: Makes 12 to 18 rolls
3/4 cup rice, cooked*
2 tablespoons canola oil
approximately 2 pounds mixed mushrooms
1 large onion
3 cloves garlic
salt and pepper
1 head cabbage

2 cups water
6 ounces tomato paste
4 tablespoons lemon juice
4 tablespoons brown sugar

1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
salt and pepper
Cook the rice and rinse in cold water. Set aside.
Dice the mushrooms, garlic and onion in to small pieces.
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and sautee until translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. Add in the diced mushrooms, and cook until uniformly dark brown and cooked through, stirring regularly, 10 to 12 minutes.
Add the rice to the onion, garlic and mushrooms and stir to combine. Salt and pepper to taste.
Carefully peel the leaves off the head of cabbage, keeping them as whole as possible (you will break some in the course of things). Rinse in cold water.
Blanche the leaves, a few at a time, in a large pot of boiling, salted water. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, then remove.
Place 2 to 3 tablespoons of the rice and onion mixture in the center of a cabbage leaf and wrap up until sealed. Continue with the rest of the leaves, tightly packing them in a baking dish.
Mix together the ingredients for the sauce, and add salt and pepper to taste.
Pour the sauce over the cabbage rolls so they’re fairly well covered.
Cover the dish(es) in foil, and bake at 325 F for 2 hours. Remove the foil, and continue to cook for 20 minutes at 350 F.
*The ¾ cup refers to the rice when raw, not cooked. You can use any type of rice here; just make sure it is cooked completely according to package instructions.
Click here to read previous Nosh Pit columns. And be sure to visit Amy’s ‘Baking and Mistaking’ blog for more baking ideas and adventures.
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