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Vegan Cabbage Rolls with Sauerkraut

by Adina 17/12/2019 19 comments

vegan cabbage rolls with sauerkraut in a bowl

 

Cabbage rolls with sauerkraut, rice, and vegetables, these vegan stuffed cabbage rolls will melt in your mouth.

 

CABBAGE ROLLS WITH SAUERKRAUT

 

cabbage rolls vegetarian 683x1024 Vegan Cabbage Rolls with Sauerkraut

 

I love cabbage rolls. Sauerkraut cabbage rolls, vegetarian cabbage rolls, traditional Romanian cabbage rolls, Savoy cabbage rolls and so on.

I have rolled hundreds of cabbage rolls (or vine rolls) over the past 10 years and there wasn’t one recipe I didn’t like.

Cabbage rolls are traditional Romanian comfort food, the famous sarmale stuffed with ground pork and rice, cooked for hours on low heat until they are soft and almost falling apart.

But as the Romanian people are quite religious and many people still hold on to the fasting times before Easter and Christmas, many vegan stuffed cabbage recipes were developed.

This recipe for sauerkraut cabbage rolls filled with rice and vegetables is a typical Romanian fasting time, vegan cabbage roll recipe.

Many recipes are made using mushrooms, and I love those, but this time I wanted to try something mushroom-free, with the hope that if there were no mushrooms involved my kids would actually eat the stuffed cabbage rolls. And it worked!

 

cabbage rolls vegan Vegan Cabbage Rolls with Sauerkraut

 

SAUERKRAUT

  • The sauerkraut used to make these rolls is Eastern European kind of sauerkraut, different from the German kind.
  • The German sauerkraut is always chopped/sliced and it has a sweeter, milder and quite different taste. The Romanian/Eastern European sauerkraut is usually fermented whole, in huge barrels. It is sourer and very salty.
  • To make this vegan stuffed cabbage recipe, I bought a whole head of fermented cabbage in the Russian food store, but if you live in Germany you might be able to find it in larger supermarkets as well.
  • Otherwise, I suppose any Eastern European food store will have some.
  • The cabbage weighed about 2 kg/ 4.4 oz and I was able to make about 50 rolls out of it.
  • Don’t think that 50 are way too many, they are quite small, so you will be able to eat quite a few in one go and this kind of dish tastes even better when reheated a couple of times.
  • We had enough for 3 meals and I was not tired of them in the end, I loved eating them every day.

 

cabbage rolls romanian Vegan Cabbage Rolls with Sauerkraut

 

HOW TO PREPARE SAUERKRAUT FOR FILLING?

  • This kind of sauerkraut is sour and very salty. That is why you should always soak the sauerkraut before using, otherwise, the dish will be too sour and salty.
  • You should separate the leaves before soaking them.
  • Separate the cabbage leaves very carefully, trying not to break them too much. If you do break them here and there, don’t throw them away, you will need them later as well.
  • Only throw away the hard middle of the cabbage. Cut the lower part of the leaves, where the stem is very thick (see pictures).
  • Cut the larger leaves into halves, in the middle where the thick stem is. Discard the thick stem.
  • Leave the smaller leaves whole, but cut the thick stem as good as possible so that the leaves will be easy to roll.
  • Wash and soak the leaves in cold water for about 20-30 minutes.

 

how to make cabbage rolls Vegan Cabbage Rolls with Sauerkraut

 

HOW TO FILL CABBAGE ROLLS?

  • Drain and shake the cabbage leaves well to remove the excess water before filling.
  • Place one on the working surface, place a little filling more or less in the middle of the leaf.
  • Fold one side of the leaf over the filling, then fold the lower part of the leaf over.
  • Now fold 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.
  • Don’t make the rolls too full or too tight, the rice needs enough space to swell.
  • You will not be able to use the smallest leaves from the middle of the sauerkraut to make rolls, they are too small.
  • Chop this core and all the leftover pieces of sauerkraut into fine stripes.

how to make cabbage rolls1 Vegan Cabbage Rolls with Sauerkraut

 

HOW TO COOK VEGAN CABBAGE ROLLS?

  • Take a large oven-proof pot/ Dutch oven%name Vegan Cabbage Rolls with Sauerkraut and place about half of the cabbage strips on its bottom in an even layer.
  • Add one or two bay leaves%name Vegan Cabbage Rolls with Sauerkraut and a generous sprinkle of dried savory%name Vegan Cabbage Rolls with Sauerkraut (or dried thyme%name Vegan Cabbage Rolls with Sauerkraut) and dill seeds%name Vegan Cabbage Rolls with Sauerkraut on top.
  • Arrange the cabbage rolls in the pot (I had two layers of cabbage rolls) and add more bay leaves, savory and dill seeds between the layers.
  • Top with the remaining chopped cabbage.
  • Mix the hot water, pureed tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper in a jug. Pour enough of this liquid in the pot to barely cover the cabbage rolls.
  • Keep the rest, which you might need to add from time to time during the cooking process if the liquid cooks down too much.
  • Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to low and simmer, covered, for about 2 hours or until the cabbage and the rice are soft.
  • Preheat the oven during the last half hour of the cooking time to 180 degrees Celsius/ 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Place the pot in the oven and cook for another 20 minutes or so or until the cabbage is nicely colored on top and the liquid has cooked down some more.

 

cabbage rolls 1 Vegan Cabbage Rolls with Sauerkraut

 

HOW TO SERVE CABBAGE ROLLS WITH SAUERKRAUT?

  • The vegan stuffed cabbage rolls can be served on the day you cooked them, but like any other cabbage rolls they taste better the next day. And the next day. And the next day.
  • Keep refrigerated in between.
  • You can serve the cabbage rolls with white bread or polenta – mamaliga (Romanian style) or with crusty brown bread or just as they are.

 

MORE CABBAGE OR VINE LEAF ROLLS?

 

SARMALE – TRADITIONAL ROMANIAN CABBAGE ROLLS – One of Romania’s national dishes: amazingly comforting, stuffed cabbage rolls with ground pork and rice and slowly cooked for hours.

VEGAN CABBAGE ROLLS – Delicious and satisfying vegan cabbage rolls filled with amaranth, sweet potatoes and lots of spices and seeds.

VEGETARIAN CABBAGE ROLLS – Vegetarian and gluten-free cabbage rolls stuffed with millet, tomatoes, and feta cheese.

STUFFED VINE LEAVES WITH GROUND MEAT – Traditional Romanian recipe for vine leaves stuffed with ground meat and rice and served in a deliciously smooth sauce.

SYRIAN STUFFED VINE LEAVES – Deliciously sticky, tender Syrian stuffed vine leaves with a lemony and garlicky rice filling and cooked over a bed of chicken legs.

 

PIN IT FOR LATER!

 

vegan cabbage rolls 683x1024 Vegan Cabbage Rolls with Sauerkraut

 

cabbage rolls vegan 480x480 Vegan Cabbage Rolls with Sauerkraut

Vegan Cabbage Rolls with Sauerkraut

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes

Cabbage rolls with sauerkraut, rice, and vegetables, these vegan stuffed cabbage rolls will melt in your mouth.

Ingredients

  • 1 fermented whole head of white cabbage, about 2 kg/ 4.4 lbs
  • 3 onions, about 200 g/ 7 oz
  • 4 medium carrots, about 200 g/ 7 oz
  • 1 potato, about 150 g/ 5.3 oz
  • 1 red bell pepper, about 100 g/ 3.5 oz
  • 2 tablespoons (sunflower) oil
  • 1 heaped teaspoon vegetable broth powder.
  • 250 g/ 8.8 oz/ 1 1/8 cup white rice
  • 50 g/ 1.7 oz hot or mild pepper paste, to taste
  • 450 g/ 15.2 fl.oz/ 2 cups water
  • 350 g/ 12.3 oz tomato puree (See note)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 4-5 bay leaves
  • dried savory (See note 2)
  • 2 tablespoons dill seeds
  • fine sea salt and pepper

Instructions

Prepare the leaves:

  1. Separate the cabbage leaves very carefully, trying not to break them too much. If you do break them here and there, don't throw them away, you will need them later as well. Only throw away the middle of the cabbage.
  2. Cut the lower part of the leaves, where the stem is very thick (see pictures).
  3. 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 are splitting in half.
  4. Leave the smaller leaves whole, but cut the thick stem as good as possible so that the leaves will be easy to roll. Wash, then soak the leaves in cold water for about 20-30 minutes.



Filling:

  1. Chop the onions very very finely. Clean and roughly grate the potato, carrot, and pepper.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan and cook the onions until translucent and slightly golden, about 5 minutes. Do not brown.
  3. Add the vegetables and continue cooking for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the vegetable broth powder, paprika paste, rice, 3 tablespoons water and 2 tablespoons of the pureed tomatoes.
  4. Stir well and transfer to a large bowl. Add the chopped parsley and dill and salt and pepper to taste. Stir very well.



Rolls:

  1. Drain the cabbage leaves well. Place one on the working surface, place a little filling more or less in the middle of the leaf.
  2. Fold one side of the leaf over the filling, then fold the lower part of the leaf over, then the other side of the leaf over.
  3. Roll the leaf to form the cabbage roll and tuck in the open end of the leaf.
  4. If some of the leaves are too small you can build a cabbage roll from two leaves, nicely arranged on top of each other.
  5. Don't make the rolls too full or too tight, the rice needs enough space to swell.



Cook:

  1. Chop the middle of the cabbage (where the leaves are too small to use) and all leftover pieces of cabbage into fine strips.
  2. Place about half of the cabbage stripes on the bottom of a Dutch oven (or another oven-proof pot) in an even layer. Add one or two bay leaves and a generous sprinkle of dried savory and dill seeds on top.
  3. Arrange the cabbage rolls in the pot (I had two layers of cabbage rolls) and add more bay leaves, savory and dill seeds between the layers. Top with the remaining chopped cabbage.
  4. Mix the water, pureed tomatoes, sugar, salt (taste, the sauce should be salty enough) and pepper in a jug. Pour enough of this liquid in the pot to barely cover the cabbage rolls. Keep the rest, which you might need to add from time to time during the cooking process if the liquid cooks down too much.
  5. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down to low and simmer, covered, for about 2 hours or until the cabbage and the rice are soft.
  6. Preheat the oven during the last half hour of the cooking time to 180 degrees Celsius/ 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  7. Place the pot in the oven and cook, uncovered, for another 20 minutes or so or until the cabbage is nicely colored on top and the liquid has cooked down some more.

Notes

  1. Tomato puree/ strained tomatoes. Not tomato sauce and not tomato paste.
  2. It can be replaced with dried thyme.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: about 8 small rolls
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 272 Total Fat: 6g Saturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 5g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 2638mg Carbohydrates: 53g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 16g Sugar: 14g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 8g
Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.
19 comments
1

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19 comments

KR 25/03/2017 - 15:11

Back to 90s …:)
Brrr.. it was not my favourite time. I mean music.
But yes, I was 20 years younger and everything was so promising πŸ™‚ oehhh…
thank you for this nostalgic trip:)

Reply
[email protected]'s Recipes 25/03/2017 - 15:53

I wish my husband ate cabbage rolls…these look so delicious with rice filling.

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Balvinder 26/03/2017 - 00:00

I had these at a party and they were so good. I thought to try at home but I had hard time peeling the cabbage. Then a slovak friend told me to use sour cabbage which is already parboiled and easier to separate the leaves. I haven’t tried with it yet.

Reply
Adina 26/03/2017 - 09:21

It is easier with sour cabbage indeed, but if you like to use fresh cabbage: generously remove the core of the cabbage, then bring a large pot of water to a boil, add some salt and a little vinegar and put the cabbage inside. let cook and keep separating the outer leaves as soon as they are soft enough and come off the core easily. Let them drain while the rest of the cabbage continues to cook and keep going until all the leaves are separated. It takes a bit of time, but it is easy and the result really worth it. πŸ™‚

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Monica 26/03/2017 - 03:56

Yes, songs from the 90s bring back a lot of memories! As for the cabbage rolls, I drool! For whatever reason, I always drool over cabbage rolls but to be honest, I don’t know if I’ve ever really had them?! I’m just realizing this. I do eat a lot of cabbage so hopefully that counts. Looks very yummy!

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Adina 26/03/2017 - 09:24

Cabbage rolls are really special, no matter what they are filled with. They involve a lot of work, I admit, that is why I don’t make them as often as I would like to, but when I do they are always a such a pleasure to eat. πŸ™‚ I hope you will try them one day.

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Rosa 26/03/2017 - 08:03

The 90’s was a great decade! The music, the fashion, the dancing! I miss it all. Life changes once you start having kids life changes but I wouldn’t trade them for the world. πŸ™‚

I was pleasantly surprised to read that you sing along to Italian and Spanish songs! Do you speak both languages? Italian is my mother tongue, but I don’t speak Spanish as well as I used to, when I was in college. Same with French. The only foreign language stuck in my head these days is German. Oh my gosh, it’s not an easy language to speak but I still somehow make myself understood. LOL I’m wondering if you learnt German in Romania?

I love your cabbage rolls! Mom always made them with ground meat but your vegan recipe sounds delicious!! Thanks for sharing!!

Reply
Adina 26/03/2017 - 09:30

I would not change my life now either (I really would not want to be a teenager … πŸ™‚ ) but still I get so nostalgic when I hear those songs I used to love (or hate) during those days. I speak Italian and Spanish and French (Latin languages like Romanian) or better said I used to, I was fluent during those days, but I kind of lost it now, I never use those languages at all. But I still understand pretty much everything I would say and manage to make myself understood if I really want to. I’ve learnt German in Germany, but I was very diligent with the dictionary during those days as well, I had to know everything what Howard and Jason and so on where up to… πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

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Kathryn @ Family Food on the Table 26/03/2017 - 17:43

It’s amazing how music can transport us, isn’t it? Food’s the same way, I think… and while I’ve never had this type of cabbage roll, it sounds amazing and like something I must try soon!! XO

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Liz 26/03/2017 - 18:05

Adina, I am wondering if you have/would share your recipe for the traditional sarmale (the meat version)? I am hosting a Romanian wine night at our house next weekend and will be making several dishes, including sarmale with mamaliga (thank you for your mamaliga recipe!). So excited that I found your site and all the Romanian recipes! Thank you!

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Adina 27/03/2017 - 06:55

Hi Liz. Thank you for the nice words. πŸ™‚ I would like to post the recipe for sarmale, but not as soon as you need it, I am afraid. If you would like I can write the recipe and send it to you by email. Let me know.

Reply
Liz 28/03/2017 - 17:29

Thanks SO much, Adina! I sent you an email – hopefully you got it.

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Adina 29/03/2017 - 08:54

Recipe sent. πŸ™‚

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Chris Scheuer 26/03/2017 - 21:56

Music and food certainly can bring us back in time.
These cabbage rolls look amazing! Wish I was dining at your house πŸ™‚

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Adina 27/03/2017 - 06:56

Anytime your in Germany, Chris. πŸ™‚

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mjskitchen 27/03/2017 - 00:18

Not sure if I’ve ever seen fermented cabbage leaves. Going to have to look for them because these cabbage rolls look like something we would enjoy. I’m not usually a fan of cabbage rolls, but I do love fermented foods because they add such a tasty tang to dishes. Thanks for sharing this recipe Adina!

Reply
Kathy @ Beyond the Chicken Coop 27/03/2017 - 03:52

Music is filled with emotion and always builds memories! Nothing like an old song to take you back! These cabbage rolls sound great!

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Dawn - Girl Heart Food 27/03/2017 - 15:18

I totally remember those songs! Oh, nostalgia! There’s a 90’s tour going around and they are coming here with a bunch of 90’s artists. I’m sure it will sell out!
My grandmother makes really good cabbage rolls with ground beef and I’ve made a version before. So good! But, I’ve never had a vegan version. These sound delicious and something that I would love. Perfect for this cold weather we still have!

Reply
Evi @ greenevi 27/03/2017 - 17:03

Yes! Yes! Yes! I love everything about this recipe! Especially that you added potato to the filling, I’ll definitely try this version πŸ™‚
And thanks a lot for mentioning my recipe <3

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