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These vegan cabbage rolls are stuffed with a savory, smoky mixture of quinoa and lentils, then baked up in tomato sauce until piping hot. A delicious and healthy meatless main dish that’s perfect for special occasions!
This is kind of a funny recipe for me. See, back when I started blogging, I never expected to post a recipe for vegan cabbage rolls. I felt like nobody would want vegan recipes for things they grew up eating. Boy have I learned a lot since then!
I realize now that you guys (and myself as well) are just as into delicious vegan versions of old favorites as totally original creations.
I initially wasn’t sure I’d like these cabbage rolls much. I wasn’t even certain I’d be sharing the recipe for them! But I ended up LOVING them. My husband and I polished these off with a big plate of vegan mashed potatoes.
Conventional, non-vegan cabbage rolls are a Polish thing, also knows as golabki. Do these taste like them? I’m not sure. Hey, it’s been a while since I had one. But they’re savory, smoky and delicious. A big, hearty meal of winter comfort food, and pretty darn healthy to boot. Can’t beat that!
- What You’ll Need
- How to Make Vegan Cabbage Rolls
- Make-Ahead Option
- Leftovers & Storage
- More Vegan Comfort Food Main Dishes
- Quinoa & Lentil Stuffed Vegan Cabbage Rolls
What You’ll Need
- Cabbage. The recipe calls for green cabbage, but there’s no real reason you can’t use purple cabbage. I recommend getting a large head of cabbage, even though you won’t be able to use the whole thing. A larger head of cabbage will give you nice big cabbage leaves that are easy to roll. The leftover cabbage would be perfect in soup, such as my vegan borscht, curry cabbage soup, or vegan cabbage roll soup (which tastes just like this recipe but requires no rolling!)
- Brown lentils. Green lentils should work just fine as a substitute, though they’ll take a bit longer to cook. I don’t recommend using red lentils, as they have a totally different texture from brown and I’m not sure how the filling would turn out.
- Quinoa. Any color of quinoa works.
- Vegetable broth. I used Better Than Bouillon, but go with what you like!
- Olive oil.
- Red wine vinegar. White vinegar works fine if you don’t have this on hand.
- Soy sauce. Gluten-free tamari or liquid aminos can be substituted if needed.
- Smoked paprika.
- Oat flour. This ingredient is optional and can be used to bind the filling together a bit. You could also use all-purpose flour, but I’m a fan of oat because it’s gluten-free friendly and safe to taste-test before cooking.
- Tomato puree.
- Maple syrup. Feel free to use another sweetener if you’d like.
- Salt & pepper.
How to Make Vegan Cabbage Rolls
The following is a detailed photo tutorial on how to make this dish. Scroll all the way down if you’d like to skip right to the recipe!
- Steam your cabbage. Place it in a large pot with a few inches of water, bring the water to a simmer, and cover the pot. Let your cabbage steam until the leaves are tender. Make sure to give it plenty of time — the top leaves may soften quickly, but the lower layers will still be firm and difficult to roll.
- While the cabbage steams, make your filling. You’ll need to precook your lentils and quinoa. Heat up some oil in a skillet, and sweat a diced onion for a few minutes. Add the lentils, quinoa, red wine vinegar, smoked paprika, and soy sauce. You can also add some oat flour (or all-purpose flour) at this point if you’d like. Stir everything well to fully mix up the ingredients.
- Make your sauce. To do this, simply stir your tomato puree, maple syrup, and some red wine vinegar together. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
- Roll your cabbage. Carefully remove a leaf from your steamed cabbage. Trim off any stiff areas towards the bottom that form part of the stem. Place a few tablespoons of the filling near the bottom of the leaf. Fold the bottom of the leaf over the filling, tuck in the sides, and roll it up tightly.
- Ladle some sauce into the bottom of a baking dish and arrange your cabbage rolls snugly in the dish as you roll them. Ladle the rest of the sauce on top, then bake your vegan stuffed cabbage until the sauce is bubbly.
- Dig in!
If you’d like to prep your vegan golabki in advance, assemble the rolls and arrange them in your baking dish with the sauce up. Cover and refrigerate them overnight. Then uncover and bake the rolls according to the recipe when you’re ready to serve them.
Leftovers & Storage
Leftover vegan stuffed cabbage will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for about 3 days, or in the freezer for about 2 months.