I spotted some big beautiful heads of cabbage while grocery shopping this week and decided I would try my hand at some cabbage rolls. Some of my childhood years were spent in Toledo Ohio, home of Tony Packos, made famous by Jamie Farr from his days on MASH. I had my first taste of cabbage rolls in the original Tony Packos. Those cabbage rolls from years ago were definitely not plant based, but this recipe fulfilled the taste test in our kitchen as a heart healthy substitute.
Mushrooms and lentils give a meaty texture and flavor. As I have said before I always make my lentils and quinoa in my rice cooker. This time I used 2 cups of dry lentils to 4 1/2 cups of water and once those were finished I did a quick turn around for the rice cooker and got the quinoa started with the same quantities. I did have more lentils and quinoa than I needed for this recipe. You will only need 1 cup of each cooked. Put the left overs in the refrigerator and you can toss them in a buddha bowl later in the week. While the lentils were in the rice cooker, I chopped up the mushrooms and onions, and got them sautéing in a skillet with the minced garlic. Add a little bit of water or vegetable broth if needed to the skillet to prevent sticking. I also trimmed the outer leaves off the cabbage, cut out the stem and put it in a big pot to steam with about 3 inches of water.
Once the lentils and quinoa were done I added 1 cup of each of them to the skillet with the mushrooms, onions, and garlic. Add all the seasonings at this point, including the fire roasted tomatoes, mix well and heat through. Taste the mix and see if it needs any more seasonings, adjust the seasonings to suit your taste.
After the head of cabbage steamed I slowly pulled the leaves off and got them ready for the filling. Some of the leaves had thick stems so I cut them out leaving a triangle shape at the base of the leaf. I used a 1/3 cup measure to fill each leaf, roll up from the bottom over the filling , then roll the sides over and then roll from the bottom away from yourself. The cabbage leaves want to roll up this direction all by themselves.
I poured pasta sauce into the bottom of my 9 x 13 pan, just enough to coat the bottom of the pan and prevent the cabbage rolls from sticking. Roll the cabbage rolls up and place them seam side down in the pan, placing them close enough together that they stay rolled up.
Drizzle pasta sauce over the top and cover with foil. Bake in a 350° oven for 1 hour and then its best to let them sit for just a couple of minutes to cool down before serving.
Mushroom & Lentil Cabbage Rolls
A warm filling comfort food.
•1 large head cabbage
•1 cup cooked lentils
•1 cup cooked quinoa
•3 cups diced mushrooms
•1 medium yellow onion
•3 tsp. minced garlic
•2 Tbsp. tamari
• 1 tsp. smoked paprika
•2 Tbsp. dijon mustard
•2 Tbsp. parsley, dried
•1 can fire roasted tomatoes
•1 jar pasta sauce
•1/2 tsp. liquid smoke
- Prepare the lentils and quinoa
- Remove the core from the head of cabbage and place it in approximately 3 inches of water, bring to a boil, lower the heat and cover. Allow to steam for approximately 20 min. until the leaves come off easily.
- In a large skillet cook onion, garlic and mushrooms, 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add water 1 to 2 Tbsp. at a time, as needed to prevent sticking.
- Add the lentils and quinoa to the mushroom mixture, stir to combine.
- Add the tamari, smoked paprika, dijon mustard, dried parsley, and fire roasted tomatoes. Mix well and heat through.
- Pre-heat oven to 350°
- Peel a leaf off of the cabbage head and place it onto a work surface with the stem side facing you. Trim any very thick portions of the leaf near the base. Spoon 1/3 cup of filling onto the center of the leaf. Fold the base side over the filling, then wrap the sides inward over the filling. Roll the center away from you to wrap everything up. Place the roll, seam side down, into the baking dish. Repeat until all of the filling is used.
- Pour the remaining pasta sauce over the rolls, cover and bake for 1 hour. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.