An Original Recipe!

Growing up with Hungarian/Ukranian grandparents and father meant that stuffed cabbage was a big part of my childhood. It was a pretty simple idea- rice and beef wrapped in green cabbage and covered in a tomato sauce (always my favorite part). When I was younger, I would only eat the stuffed part because that green slimy vegetable was weird 🙂
Then as I grew and my palate along with me, the green cabbage became my favorite part. So when I saw some beautiful heads of cabbage on sale at my local grocer (39 cents/pound!), I knew I had to attempt to make my own version of my beloved grandmothers’ recipe. Of course, my concoction doesn’t compare to either one of my grandmothers’ (both were great in different ways), but it’s a hearty, filling, and fun vegan version!

Tempeh Stuffed Cabbage

1 medium head of cabbage
1 small can of tomato paste
spices (paprika, cayenne, seasoned salt and pepper)
one block of tempeh (I used Trader Joe’s Original)
3 large celery stalks (with leaves)
3 medium carrots
1 small red onion
4 garlic cloves
1 tsp oil
1/4 cup wheat germ (optional)
Rolling skills! <—– great tutorial

1. Slice off the end of 1 medium head of cabbage.
2. Boil entire cabbage for about 10 minutes, until beginning to soften. Let cool.
3. Carefully peel whole leaves (about 10) off the cabbage head.
4. Trim/slice off the thick, white stem in the middle of each leaf.
Set aside.

Tomato Sauce:
1. Mix 1 small can of tomato paste with water until desirable consistency, then add spices to your liking and taste as you add. I used Hungarian paprika (of course), cayenne, garlic salt, and Lawry’s seasoned pepper. My sauce is spicy!

1. Cut one rectangle block of tempeh in half and half again (4 smaller pieces).
2. Boil tempeh pieces for 1-2 minutes to get that “fermented” flavor off a bit (I’m not a fan) and to help absorb the tomato sauce better.
3. Drain from water, then marinate tempeh in tomato sauce while chopping the rest of the veggies for the stuffing.

1. Chop up 3 large celery stalks (with leaves), 3 medium carrots, and 1 small red onion into bite sized pieces.
2. Saute 4 cloves of minced garlic and onion in 1 tsp oil for 2-3 minutes.
3. Add celery and carrots and cook for 3-4 more minutes.
4. Add marinated tempeh and cook for 2 more minutes, while breaking it into bite size pieces in the pan.
5. Remove from heat and add 1/4 cup wheat germ. Stir and set aside to cool for a bit.

1. Lay each cabbage leaf out, shaped like a bowl with sides curling in a bit, and add 2-3 tablespoons of stuffing to the middle. Roll the bottom over the stuffing, then tuck in the sides and continue rolling up.
2. Lay each cabbage roll in a 9 x 13 casserole dish (with about 1 inch of water in it) seam side down. It should be a tight squeeze.
3. Pour remaining tomato sauce over cabbage rolls.
4. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes, until cabbage is soft and slightly translucent.
5. Enjoy! And be reminded of eastern Europe. Is that just me?!

I know this is a bit of an involved recipe and it did take me about an hour to assemble, plus clean up, but it was well worth it to have a giant pan of delicious and ridiculously healthy and filling food for 3 or 4 meals.



1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Stephanie Brown
    Mar 24, 2011 @ 20:31:18

    I’m going to have to make this. One of my favorite meals. Plus, tempeh is getting some stellar reception in this house lately. I can see where it would go well here.


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