Growing up we would head to my grandparents at the lake for the weekend and one of the staple dishes in the fall was my Grandfathers cabbage rolls, we for some reason called them “Cabbage Tamales”. Dad took over cooking them after Grandma passed away and the original version has ground meat in them. That of course won’t work for me anymore so I came up with a veggie version that gave me the same feeling Granddads did. If rolling the cabbage leaves isn’t your thing feel free to cut the cabbage up into chunks and cook it all like a soup.
This recipe will make 18-20 rolls depending on how large your cabbage is. I generally eat about 3 as a serving so yields about 6-7 servings
2 heads of green cabbage
1 1/2 cups white rice. I used long grain
1 pound of crimini mushrooms
1 1/2 c carrots rough chopped
1/2 c hemp seeds
2 lemons juiced
2 28oz cans of crushed or diced tomatoes
3 cups cooked kidney beans
1Tbs ground cumin
2 tsp ground cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp red pepper flake (optional)
Put a large pot of water on the stove to bring to a boil.
1. Remove any outer leaves from the cabbage that may need to removed. With a knife cut out the core of the cabbage leaving the cabbage whole. Place the whole cabbage in the pot of boiling water to wilt leaves. After about 4 minutes while the cabbage is still in the pot use tongs start to remove leaves as they soften and place into chilled into chilled water to stop the cooking. You will probably have to do one cabbage at a time depending on how large you pot is. You should get 8-10 leaves per head.
2. Destem and rough chop the mushrooms. In a saute pan heat the oil and saute mushrooms until golden brown.
3. Once you have removed all the larger usable cabbage leaves from the head take half of one and slice into ribbons.
4. Pour one cup of the kidney beans into a large bowl and mash with a spoon or potato masher. Add the remaining ingredients except can tomatoes to the bowl and mix well. This is best done with your hand to make sure the mashed beans are mixed evenly. This is your binder until the rice is cooked. Taste mixture and adjust seasoning.
5. Pour the water out of the pot you blanched the cabbage in. Pour half of one of the cans of tomato into the pot.
Time to start rolling!!
6. Place about 1/2 cup of the mixture into a cabbage leaf. Fold up the bottom, then the sides in towards the middle and fold over the seal. Don’t roll them to tight because you need room for the rice to cook and expand.
7. As you roll place each one into the pot folded side down. Layer rolls in the pot.
8. Pour tomato over the rolls and add 2 1/2 -3 tomato cans of water into pot. Cover at least by 2 inches. Add salt and pepper to taste and red pepper flake if using it. The rolls will want to float as they cook so using a couple plates, maybe a bowl, place on top to the rolls in the pot to weight them down.
9. Cover and bring liquid to a bowl. Leave covered and reduce to a simmer. Keep an eye on the pot as sometimes the rolls will try to push up past the weight. If so just press them down and reposition the plate. Simmer about and hour 15 minutes to 1.5 hrs.
This is a great dish to make ahead as they continue to get better. Enjoy!!