All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016
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Everybody has had stuffed cabbage but, typically, it is stuffed with a mix of meat & rice. This recipe uses neither – though you could add some – if you wanted to. This recipe is more rustic & lighter. No carbs. No animal products. Just loads of veggies & sauce! I had grilled eggplant in the fridge – leftover from a night of Grilled & Baked Eggplant Pizza Towers with Fresh Mozzarella & Basil Chiffonade – seen below.
If you have a grill pan or a grill where you can easily grill the eggplant – I recommend it because it adds a smokey char to the dish that is lovely – though not necessary. If grilling the eggplant first sounds like a pain in the ass – blow it off & just cut your eggplant into small cubes
1 eggplant – sliced into rounds
Olive oil or some kind of oil & vinegar salad dressing
Dredge the eggplant through the olive oil or dressing & grill (either on a grill or in a grill pan) – just to get some grill marks on them & cook out some moisture. I did it on the grill & it took about 5-7 minutes – flipping the slices occasionally. You can do this on your burners on the stove or in a grill pan or on a real grill – with or without oiling the slices.
UPDATE – after eating this for lunch – at dinner – I wanted something more substantial. So – I added a bag of Beyond Meat crumbles & some grated cheese to the top before I reheated these guys. AMAZING!
Vegan Cabbage Rolls Stuffed with Grilled Eggplant, Mushrooms & Spinach
Serves 4 very well
1 head cabbage (I used Napa but any kind will work
1 eggplant – either grilled as outlined above or not – and, either way, cubed
1/2 lb mushrooms – sliced or chopped
2 tomatoes – diced
1 onion – diced
2 stalks green garlic or 1-4 garlic cloves – chopped
2+ cups fresh spinach
1 TBS dry parsley
1 TBS dry oregano
Crushed red pepper (to taste)
2-3 cups pasta sauce (homemade or jarred)
Fresh basil as garnish
OPTION – vegan or fresh mozzarella baked on top of these might be nice. I opted not to use any – in an effort to keep these very healthy – but I bet it would compliment this dish nicely. Additionally – adding some faux beef crumbles on top or underneath the rolls makes this dish more substantial.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Boil a large pot of water – deep enough for the head of cabbage. Remove the cabbage core & drop the head into boiling water – whole. With tongs – pluck out each leaf as it becomes tender & plunge into a bowl of ice water.
Heat 1-2 TBS olive oil in a large saute pan. Add the onions, mushrooms, tomatoes & eggplant. Saute until the vegetables get tender. Add garlic & spinach & stir until the spinach wilts. Add the oregano, parsley, S&P and crushed red pepper to taste. Remove from heat.
Spread about 1 cup of sauce on the bottom of a casserole pan. Place a cabbage leaf on a kitchen towel & scoop a few TBS of filling into it & roll it up. I did not really bother with the ends but if you are good at making closed ends – knock yourself out. Place in the casserole pan – seam-side down. Continue until all the filling is used up. Season the rolls with S&P.
Top with sauce – as much as suits your taste. You might want t reserve some to add – warmed – to the finished rolls. Bake for about 40 minutes. Serve with additional warm sauce – if you like – and some fresh basil.
I am making these cabbage rolls for Christmas dinner, My Vegan daughter is coming and I love eggplant. I will probably add a little rice to bind the stuffing a little better. I usually make my cabbage rolls with hamburger or sausage but mushrooms, spinach, and eggplant works for me. It is such a pretty dish with the red and green colors. Perfect for Christmas and not hard to put together so I can relax and drink some wine!
You can freeze the cabbage instead of boiling. Remove the core, wrap in plastic wrap, freeze and then defrost