Ahhh there’s nothing better than some homemade comfort food… and Cabbage Rolls do go right to the top of my list for The Best Comfort Food recipes!! ;)
But, do you ever get overwhelmed with the work involved with making cabbage rolls? It’s not hard to roll these healthful cabbage babies up in a roll, but I know the thought used to frighten me once upon a time.
I like individual rolls too… but it’s true they take a little more time to make and god-forbid your cabbage leaves don’t unravel well and you end up with torn leaves – so hard to turn these into rolls! (am I right?)
So of course I’m very excited about sharing this (cheater) recipe with you for a Cabbage Roll Casserole! It’s all the goodness and yumminess of cabbage rolls but done easier as a one-pot casserole dish! Ah man, this stuff is good! And this is also a completely naturally gluten-free recipe that is also vegan – but very much protein rich! Enjoy!!
Cabbage Roll Casserole | gluten free and vegan, protein rich
Serves 6-8 Preparation and Cooking : 45 minutes
1 head of green cabbage
1 cup TVP (textured vegetable protein)
1/2 cup buckwheat groats
1/2 cup white (not instant) or brown rice
2 medium onions, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1 can of tomato paste
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon of dried marjoram (or dried thyme or oregano)
1 tablespoon of sea salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
grape seed oil for cooking
You will need : 2 pots, one large that fits a head of lettuce, one medium to cook the rice and buckwheat, a deep sauteeing pan and a casserole dish.
First, start by rinsing the cabbage off and removing some of the handled leaves on the outside. With a sharp knife (and good knife skills) cut into the core and trim some of the inner core away (this will remove the tough parts of the stems on the leaves and it will be later easier to pull the leaves apart). Place the head of cabbage into a large pot, fill the pot with water and set on medium high to simmer for about 10 minutes. Once it’s cooked, gently remove or pour our the water and leave aside to cool.
In a separate pot, fill with water and bring to a boil. Check cooking instructions on the buckwheat and rice packaging, they should cook in the same time, but double check. Salt the water with 1 teaspoon of salt. Add in the buckwheat and rice and cook as per instructions (together in one pot is fine). When cooked, strain and set aside.
Meanwhile, as the cabbage and rice/ buckwheat are cooking… Start the cabbage roll filling.
In a large sauteeing pan, fry the onions until slightly golden brown on medium low heat. Add in the carrots and continue cooking for about 3 minutes. Add in TVP, at which time, you will need to add about 1 cup of water as it needs lots of liquid to get absorbed. Add enough water that the TVP is absorbed and isn’t sticking to the bottom of the pan, but it’s also not runny. Mix in the tomato paste and season.
By now the rice and buckwheat should be cooked, strain and add into the TVP mixture. Mix well to combine and season to your liking.
Preheat oven to 350F.
To assemble, pour a little water onto the bottom of the casserole dish just to barely cover the bottom. (This will prevent the cabbage from sticking and burning later). Peel off the leaves from the cabbage, it should be cooled enough now to be handled, if not, wait a bit longer as the inside of the cabbage might burn your fingers. Peel off all the leaves and lay a layer at the bottom of the casserole dish. It should be about 3-4 layers of cabbage. If some leaves tear, not to worry, they will not show in your dish at all.
*Tip* Peel off all the cabbage and use up the inner pieces in the middle of the casserole and reserve the large pieces for the bottom and top. This will create a nice full layer when serving and it will be easier to cut and serve as the cabbage on the outside will help to hold it together.
Add a layer of the TVP/ rice/ buckwheat mixture on top of the bottom cabbage layer. Your layer could be about 1″high or half of your mixture. Add one more layer of cabbage on top of that and then one more TVP layer. Top with diced tomatoes and season with extra marjoram, salt and fresh cracked black pepper.
Place in the oven uncovered and cook for about 15-20 minutes. This dish is fully cooked anyway but it helps to allow the flavours to mingle together and soak up the flavours more when it bakes. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes before serving. This dish is even better the next day – the flavours get all soaked up together and it is easier to cut clean wedges that don’t fall apart.
You can also freeze this dish and defrost in the refrigerator over night or about 5 hours and reheat and serve. Or portion into small sections for an even faster thaw. Freeze for up to 3 months. Enjoy!
Yum! This dish is a winner every time!! I like how my taste buds travel all over the globe and enjoy different flavours, but Eastern European dishes will always have a place in my heart and stomach…. it’s home ;)
I love homemade comfort-food recipes and this one is on top of my list of favourite healthy recipes. I like to make it for two days to feel my family and it’s always such a great meal time when everyone enjoys their food… even my daughter loves this dish!
Cabbage is such a great superfood! (Anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, cholesterol lowering and antioxidant rich.) And did you know that tomatoes are healthier when they are cooked? Yes, healthier then fresh tomatoes. And TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein) is a wonderful natural source of protein that is packed with 12 grams of protein per 1/4 cup! Did you know? All in one dish, you get a full belly and full nutrition in one yummy supper. Enjoy!
If you want Traditional Vegan and Gluten-free Cabbage Rolls – Check out this recipe – another family favourite.
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