Being a vegan myself I’m always on the lookout for new and exciting vegan recipes, and let me tell you sometimes the search can be a difficult one. That’s why this week I thought it would be nice to offer up one of my favorite vegan recipes courtesy of someone very special to me and a fantastic cook, Nicole Holland. Enjoy!
1. To prep the cabbage, you can do it one of two ways; first, cut out the raw core and peel the leaves off slowly, but surely, each time cutting more core, or two, boil the whole head of cabbage for about 2 minutes then peel away leaves (don’t boil completely just enough to loosen and be sure to run under cold water after). Once your leaves are peeled, bring a large pot of water to boil, toss in a few garlic cloves & salt and the leaves slowly, boil until tender and pliable, estimated about 5-6 minutes. Drain leaves and run under cold water to semi blanch and stop the cooking process, set aside.
2. Start cooking your rice with vegetable broth and set aside when complete.
3. Julienne the celery and chop in small pieces.
4. Rough chop carrots and onions, peeled garlic cloves (easy way to do this is to smash each clove on the flat side of your chef knife) add all 3 ingredients to a food processor, don’t liquefy, but don’t leave it chunky either.
5. Coat a medium-size frying pan with olive oil, let heat (medium heat), throw in celery, onions, garlic, carrot mixture and cook for 2-3 minutes or until onions look a little translucent, then crumble in your meat alternative, and frozen peas then give a healthy pinch of your spices; All Spice, Herbs De Provence, Paprika, Garlic Salt, Salt & Pepper (to taste of course). Sauté all together on medium heat for about 8 minutes, then turn the heat up just a little to get a good browning of the vegan meat. (I smash it all down like a frittata in the pan let it cook real good then flip it over, chunk by chunk, so I know each side is brown slightly crispy almost), once this is done remove from heat. Little by little add your rice to the “meat” mixture. The amount of rice, of course, depends on your preference of rice to “meat” but personally I shoot for right around 2 cups of cooked rice.
6. Preheat oven to 350. Coat Lasagna dish with cooking spray; lay down 2-3 leaves to cover the inside of the dish it’s okay if they hang over a bit. Take a leaf, possibly cut some of the stems off, add rice/meat filling leaving enough room on all sides to roll (estimated 1/2-3/4 cup). Fold in sides first, bring over front flap, and roll over carefully. Place in dish, repeat. I actually needed another smaller dish for a few extra rolls.
7. Take marinara and pour over cabbage rolls, bake for 25 minutes, remove and sprinkle mozzarella Veggie Shreds to the top (as little or as much as you want), bake another 15 minutes, serve hot.
Note: This recipe takes a while to make 2-3 hrs. Also, it makes a lot and it’s hearty, good for a dinner party or lots of leftovers! Enjoy!
By: Nicole Holland
About the chef: Nicole resides in Columbia, Maryland and has always had a love for cooking that stems from her Italian heritage. Never a big meat-eater, she eventually transitioned to a plant-based diet and now enjoys the challenges of combining vegetarian cooking with traditional Italian fare and producing great tasting vegan-friendly food. Her compassion for animals makes her an advocate for the vegan lifestyle and through her cooking expertise she is inventing new and exciting ways of vegetarian eating.