Vegan Holishkes (Stuffed Cabbage)

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Yesterday was my mother’s birthday and I wanted to make one of the dishes she always made when I was growing up. I had a large head of cabbage so I decided to make holishkes or stuffed cabbage. When I was a kid, my mother would make these all the time. My father loved them. I didn’t like the cooked cabbage but I did like the inside which was ground beef and rice mixed with my Mom’s amazing tomato sauce. So I would unroll my stuffed cabbage and just eat the filling. The soft, boiled cabbage would just lay on my plate unwanted and unloved.

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Now that I’m grown up, I appreciate all kinds of vegetables much more. I also appreciate all the work that went into the meal my mother cooked. Stuffed cabbage, or holishkes, as we called them at home, are pretty time-consuming. But I was up for the task!

First I got the cabbage boiling. It only takes 5 minutes which is a third of the time it takes for the water to boil. I’m very impatient about things like that.

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While the cabbage cooled, I made the sauce. I made a version of my Mom’s marinara but without all the Italian spices. Instead, this sauce has paprika and allspice and something neither she nor I EVER put in an Italian sauce – sugar! . My family may be of Ashkenazic descent but my taste buds are definitely more Sephardic.

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When the cabbage was cooled, I removed the core and carefully removed leaves for stuffing. I shredded the rest of the cabbage to use in the filling and in the pot.

Then I made the filling. I was going to make this with lentils, my usual go-to for ground beef replacement. But I had a package of Beyond Meat Beyond Beef Beefy Crumbles so I used that. It has enough to make 8 cabbage rolls. If you make this for more than 3 or 4 people, use 2 packages.

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I added some cooked rice, shredded cabbage, minced onion, The Vegg for egg replacement and all my favorite spices plus dill (a nod towards the roots of the dish). You want to use a good amount of spices since the filling is only going to steam and besides the sauce, it’s the only place in the dish to add flavor. Alternatively, you could cook up the filling in a skillet and then cool it and add it to the cabbage leaves but I was making this Mom’s way.

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Then comes the stuffing part. You pat the leaves dry and with a paring knife, shave the stem so it’s not so thick. Then put about 1/4 cup of filling near the stem end. It’s tempting to want to put more but don’t or the cabbage leaf will be harder to roll and may not stay closed during cooking.

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Then fold over the bottom edge of the leaf to cover the filling.

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Fold in the left side of the leaf.

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Now it’s tempting to fold in the right side as well, like you would a burrito, but that’s not how my mother did it. She would only fold one side and then roll up the rest of the leaf. When it’s rolled to the top, take the right side sticking out and tuck it into the middle. This secures it better. Lay the stuffed cabbage seam side down until ready to cook.

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Some people cook the stuffed cabbage in a baking dish in the oven but I was making this the way Mom did so I put a bed of cabbage in the Dutch oven. Then I put half the stuffed cabbage on the bed.

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Add some sauce.

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Then I put the other half of the stuffed cabbage on top of the sauce

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and then more sauce on top.

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Then it cooks for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours while you clean up the kitchen. Or make hamantaschen like I did yesterday.

When it’s done, carefully remove the stuffed cabbage with tongs. Plate some of the cooked cabbage and then a couple of stuffed cabbage rolls and more sauce on top.

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This dish was a nice way to celebrate my mother’s birthday and get to have one of her dishes with my vegan twist. The taste took me right back to my childhood. Except this time, there was no cabbage left on my plate when I was finished. Happy Birthday, Mom. Enjoy!

Vegan Holishkes (Stuffed Cabbage)

GF, SF
Makes 8 rolls

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For the Stuffed Cabbage

1 large head cabbage

For the Sauce­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

1-28 oz. can crushed tomatoes

1-14 oz. can diced tomatoes

2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar

2 Tbs. brown sugar

2 Tbs. tomato paste

1 Tbs. paprika

2 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. kosher salt

½ tsp. black pepper

¼ tsp. allspice

For the Filling­­­­­­­­­­

1 tsp. egg replacer (I used The Vegg) + ¼ cup water

1 package Beyond Meat Beyond Beef Beefy Crumbles

1 cup cooked brown rice

½ cup cabbage, finely chopped

½ small onion, minced

½ cup tomato sauce

2 tsp. dill seed

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. paprika

½ tsp. kosher salt

½ tsp. black pepper

Prepare the cabbage: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and carefully immerse the head of cabbage, core side down. Boil the cabbage for 5 minutes. You want it to be tender but not too soft and falling apart. Carefully drain the cabbage into a colander and allow it to cool enough so you can handle it.

Cut the core out with a paring knife. Carefully remove whole leaves being careful not to tear them. Pat each leaf dry and with your paring knife, shave the stems so they are not so thick and tough.

Shred the rest of the cabbage to use in the filling and in the dish.

To make the sauce: In a medium saucepan, combine the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, vinegar, brown sugar and tomato paste. Cook on medium heat. Season the sauce with paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper and allspice. Cover and heat until the sauce comes to a low boil, reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook for just 20 minutes.

To make the filling: In a mug, combine the egg replacer and water. Mix and let stand 5 minutes until thickened. In a large bowl, combine the beefy crumbles, rice, shredded cabbage, and onion. Mix in the egg replacer and tomato sauce. Add the seasoning and mix well. Taste for seasoning adjustments. Set the filling aside.

To make the stuffed cabbage: Take each cabbage leaf and put it on your work station so that it curls up like a bowl. Place ¼ cup of the filling on the cabbage leaf near the stem end. Curl up the leaf from the stem end so that the filling is covered. Fold the left side of the cabbage leaf over and then continue to roll up the leaf. Tuck the right side of the cabbage leaf into the middle. Lay the cabbage roll seam-side down and continue making more cabbage rolls until you use up all the filling.

In a Dutch oven or large pot, heat 1 Tbs. olive oil. Make a bed with about 2 or 3 cups of shredded cabbage. Lay 4 of your cabbage rolls on top of the shredded cabbage. Top with a few ladles of sauce. Put the remaining cabbage rolls on top of the sauce and cover them with more sauce. Cook over medium-high heat until the sauce bubbles. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pot and cook for 90 minutes to 2 hours until the cabbage is tender. When they are done, carefully remove the stuffed cabbage from the pot with tongs and set on a plate.

To serve, spoon some of the cooked cabbage into bowls. Top with 2 stuffed cabbage rolls and top with more sauce.

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The “V” Word: Say it. Eat it. Live it. 

Vegan Holishkes (Stuffed Cabbage)
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Jewish
Serves: 8 cabbage rolls
 
Ingredients
  • For the Stuffed Cabbage
  • 1 large head cabbage
  • For the Sauce
  • 1-28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1-14 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. brown sugar
  • 2 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 1 Tbs. paprika
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. allspice
  • For the Filling
  • 1 tsp. egg replacer + ¼ cup water
  • 1 package Beyond Meat Beyond Beef Beefy Crumbles
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • ½ cup cabbage, finely chopped
  • ½ small onion, minced
  • ½ cup tomato sauce
  • 2 tsp. dill seed
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
Instructions
  1. Prepare the cabbage: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and carefully immerse the head of cabbage, core side down. Boil the cabbage for 5 minutes. You want it to be tender but not too soft and falling apart. Carefully drain the cabbage into a colander and allow it to cool enough so you can handle it.
  2. Cut the core out with a paring knife. Carefully remove whole leaves being careful not to tear them. Pat each leaf dry and with your paring knife, shave the stems so they are not so thick and tough. Shred the rest of the cabbage to use in the filling and in the dish.
  3. To make the sauce: In a medium saucepan, combine the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, vinegar, brown sugar and tomato paste. Cook on medium heat. Season the sauce with paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper and allspice. Cover and heat until the sauce comes to a low boil, reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook for just 20 minutes.
  4. To make the filling: In a mug, combine the egg replacer and water. Mix and let stand 5 minutes until thickened. In a large bowl, combine the beefy crumbles, rice, shredded cabbage, and onion. Mix in the egg replacer and tomato sauce. Add the seasoning and mix well. Taste for seasoning adjustments. Set the filling aside.
  5. To make the stuffed cabbage: Take each cabbage leaf and put it on your work station so that it curls up like a bowl. Place ¼ cup of the filling on the cabbage leaf near the stem end. Curl up the leaf from the stem end so that the filling is covered. Fold the left side of the cabbage leaf over and then continue to roll up the leaf. Tuck the right side of the cabbage leaf into the middle. Lay the cabbage roll seam-side down and continue making more cabbage rolls until you use up all the filling.
  6. In a Dutch oven or large pot, heat 1 Tbs. olive oil. Make a bed with about 2 or 3 cups of shredded cabbage. Lay 4 of your cabbage rolls on top of the shredded cabbage. Top with a few ladles of sauce. Put the remaining cabbage rolls on top of the sauce and cover them with more sauce. Cook over medium-high heat until the sauce bubbles. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pot and cook for 90 minutes to 2 hours until the cabbage is tender. When they are done, carefully remove the stuffed cabbage from the pot with tongs and set on a plate.
  7. To serve, spoon some of the cooked cabbage into bowls. Top with 2 stuffed cabbage rolls and top with more sauce.

 

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2 Responses to Vegan Holishkes (Stuffed Cabbage)

  1. June December 31, 2016 at 7:17 am #

    Just wondering if you cook the Beyond Beef or use it right out of the bag for making the fillng?

    • Rhea January 16, 2017 at 4:16 pm #

      I cook it, saute it up a little but you don’t have to.


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