Delicious and satisfying vegan cabbage rolls filled with amaranth, sweet potatoes and lots of spices and seeds.
Cabbage rolls. Food I grew up with, food I love, I could eat cabbage rolls any time of the year and with any kind of filling you can think of. I have already posted some cabbage rolls recipes on Where Is My Spoon over the past couple of years, but by far not as many recipes as I have cooked during this time.
But if you would like to see some of those recipe, here are some of my favorites: Sarmale – Traditional Romanian Cabbage Rolls with Pork and Rice, Vegan Rice Cabbage Rolls with Sauerkraut, Syrian Stuffed Vine Leaves with Rice, Garlic and Herbs or the Vegan Stuffed Vine Leaves with Rice and Mushrooms.
Actually this series was born from the necessity of using up a huge jar of vine leaves that I bought to make the last recipe mentioned above. There were just so many vine leaves in the jar and I did not want to fill them all with the same filling, I have so many wonderful recipes for stuffed vine leaves or stuffed cabbage rolls that I want to try, that I just couldn’t make one huge pot of only one kind of rolls.
So, I have actually managed to get 4 smaller dishes of differently stuffed vine leaves rolls from just one jar.
But enough talking about vine leaves, this first recipe of the Stuffed Leaves Series deals with sauerkraut rolls actually. The same story here, from one large head of sauerkraut I managed to make two different recipes, today’s Vegan Cabbage Rolls Stuffed with Amaranth and Sweet Potatoes and the next post, which will feature another vegan recipe for sauerkraut leaves stuffed with rice, raisins and walnuts. So good, so stay tuned!
Notes on the Vegan Cabbage Rolls Stuffed with Amaranth and Sweet Potatoes:
Many people think that making stuffed cabbage rolls is difficult. Well, it is not. It might feel that way if you have never tried it before and it is for sure a bit more time intensive than making a regular half an hour quick dinner.
But once you’ve got the hang of it, you will realize that stuffing the rolls is not difficult at all, that you will get faster with practice, the more you do it, the faster you get and that stuffing and rolling cabbage or vine rolls can even be quite relaxing, it really helps me calm down and clear my head sometimes…
The procedure of stuffing and rolling the cabbage or vine rolls is quite simple and I have explained that several times while writing the posts for the stuffed rolls mentioned above. However, I will include some pictures again, just to make things easier.
So, when stuffing the rolls, you start by placing a small amount of the filling somewhere in the middle-lower part of the leaf. The amount of filling needed for one roll greatly depends on the size of the leaf.
After placing the filling on the leaf, fold the lower part of the leaf over the filling, then fold both the left and the right sides of the leaf over the filling and form the roll. That easy! After you have made two or three of them, you will already be able to call yourself a professional. 🙂
I have made this recipe with amaranth because I just happened to have an open bag of amaranth in the pantry. But you could replace amaranth with bulgur, couscous or millet. Just cook the different grains according to the packet’s instructions, the needed cooking times differ from grain to grain.
The head of sauerkraut I had weighed about 1,5 kg/ 3.3 lbs. I got 40 cabbage rolls, but this is not an exact science. Some leaves breaks, some are too small to be filled… but you will get between 35 and 45 rolls out of a cabbage of this size for sure.
I usually buy the sauerkraut in the Russian store, but you should be able to find it in any other Eastern European food store and if you live in Germany even in some of the larger supermarkets (like Kaufland, they have it most of the times).
You will have to soak the sauerkraut in cold water for about an hour before using, even longer if you still find it too salty. If not soaked, the dish will be too sour and too salty.
The Vegan Cabbage Rolls Stuffed with Amaranth and Sweet Potatoes can be easily reheated and enjoyed for several days in a row. You could either heat them in the oven adding a bit of hot water to the dish or they can be transferred to a pot and reheated on the stove adding a little water as well.
- 1,5 kg/ 3.3 lbs head of sauerkraut/fermented cabbage
- 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
- 2 onions
- 500 g/ 1.1 lbs sweet potatoes
- 200 g/ 7 oz amaranth (or bulgur, millet, couscous – See note)
- 450 ml/ 15.2 fl.oz/ scant 2 cups good quality vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- chili flakes, to taste
- 35 g/ 1.2 oz/ ¼ cup sesame seeds
- 35 g/ 1.2 oz/ ¼ cup sunflower seeds
- a small bunch parsley
- salt and pepper
If using different grains, make sure to read the packet's instructions regarding the cooking time and the amount of liquid necessary for the grains to cook properly.
Remove the core of the sauerkraut head. Release the leaves and place them in a large bowl filled with cold water. Let soak for one hour.
In them meantime prepare the filling.
Chop the onions finely. Heat the oil in a heavy bottom pan and cook the onions until translucent.
In the meantime peel and roughly grate the sweet potatoes. Give them to the onions and continue cooking for further two minutes.
Wash the amaranth in a very fine meshed sieve and give them to the pan as well. Add the vegetable broth, cover the pan and cook the amaranth according to the packet's instructions, in my case 20 minutes. Add more broth if necessary, but keep in mind that the liquid should be completely absorbed in the end.
Add the turmeric, cumin, coriander, chili flakes to taste, sesame and sunflower seeds. Adjust the taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the chopped parsley.
Drain and rinse the the cabbage leaves. Place them on a chopping board, one at a time, and remove the lower part of the leaf, where the stem is very thick. Cut the larger leaves into halves, in the middle where the thick stem is. Discard the thick stem but only in the case of the larger leaves that you split in half. Leave the smaller leaves whole, but cut the thick stem as good as possible so that the leaves will be easy to roll.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/ 360 degrees Fahrenheit.
To make the rolls, drain the cabbage leaves well. Place one on the working surface, place a little filling more or less in the middle of the leaf. Fold the lower part of the leaf over, then one side of the leaf over the filling, then the other side of the leaf over. Roll the leaf to form the cabbage roll and tuck in the open end of the leaf. If some of the leaves are too small you can build a cabbage roll from two leaves, nicely arranged on top of each other.
Chop the middle of the cabbage (where the leaves are too small to use) and all leftover pieces of cabbage into fine stripes. Place the chopped cabbage in an even layer on the bottom of a casserole form large enough to hold all the rolls tightly but in a single layer.
Arrange the cabbage rolls in the form, in a tight, single layer. Pour hot water over the rolls, just as much as to barely cover the rolls, they should not swim in the water. Bake for about 50 minutes or until the rolls are nicely colored and the cabbage is cooked through.
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