Cabbage rolls in a spicy tomato sauce

I know you’ve been dying to know what I did with that lovely head of napa cabbage that came in this week’s CSA delivery.  I’ve been contemplating trying out a vegan diet for the month of April, so decided to apply this idea to this recipe.  I’m going to apologize in advance, because I’m not a huge recipe person, and I generally throw ingredients together from what I have in the refrigerator…and I never measure (unless I’m trying to control portion sizes).

I started out with cooking some farro in some vegetable broth I had leftover from a soup I had made earlier.  I found this farro at Costco last week and had to buy it –  I had eaten it in salads before, but never had ventured to try cooking it myself.  It is a lovely grain and I love the chewy texture. Note: To make the recipe gluten-free, use brown rice instead of the farro.

To cook the farro:

  1. Soak one cup of the  grain for about an hour.
  2. Bring 3 cups of water to boil
  3. Add the farro and simmer for 25 minutes.

To make the filling:

  1. Soak some dried mushrooms in hot water.  You could use fresh mushrooms, but make sure you have cooked them down until the water has released before proceeding.
  2. Toast a large handful of almonds and then crush (not puree) them in a chopper.
  3. Add the chopped up the mushrooms and some fresh parsley finely in the chopper after the almonds.
  4. Sautee one onion and add the almonds and mushrooms to the mix, seasoned to taste (cayenne, paprika, s&p).
  5. Add in the cooked farro at this point.  I’m sure you could get really creative with different grains (brown rice, quinoa) and vegetables.

To prepare the cabbage rolls:

  1. Wash and trim the head of cabbage.  For creating the cabbage rolls, I had to cut off the tougher stems to make it easier to roll.  Many cabbage roll recipes call for steaming the cabbage first, by I opted to cook the cabbage once the rolls were done.
  2. Rolling the cabbage can be a bit tricky – I cheated and used a toothpick to hold them together.
  3. I then put together a quick sauce – I still have frozen crushed tomatoes leftover in the freezer from my tomato adventure last September.  I sauteed some onions and garlic and added the crushed tomatoes (this batch had oregano in it already).  I then added the cabbage rolls, put the lid on the pot and simmered it on low heat until the cabbage cooked up.  Here’s the final product.  Yummy vegan goodness!

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