Lebanese Cabbage Rolls (Meat Free)
Lebanese cabbage rolls are a fresh take on vegan stuffed cabbage. Filled with a lightly spiced lentil and rice mixture, the rolls are cooked with mint, lemon, and loads of garlic for a healthy, gluten free meal. These are super delicious, and definitely worth the wait! This makes a big batch- the perfect freezer filler!
- 1 large green cabbage or 2 medium
For the filling
- 1 large brown onion finely chopped
- 6 cloves garlic chopped
- 250 g mushrooms finely chopped
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- ½ tsp ground allspice
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 200 g brown, green, or puy lentils (1 cup)
- 200 g brown rice (1 cup)
- 250 ml vegetable stock (1 cup)
- 1 lemon juiced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
For the pot
- 6 medium tomatoes
- 1 bulb garlic peeled and sliced
- 1 litre boiling water (4 cups)
- 2 tsp salt
- ½ lemon juiced
- 1 tbsp dried mint
For the cabbage leaves
Place the cabbage upside down in a large pot. Use a long, sharp knife to cut around the core, going as deep as you can. Fill the pot up with boiling water so that the cabbage is covered, and bring to a low steady simmer.
After around 3-4 minutes of simmering, start pulling the leaves off one by one, leaving a little time between each layer to allow the leaves to soften.*
To make the stuffing
Heat a little oil in the bottom of a wide pan. Fry the onion and garlic over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes until softened. Add the mushrooms and cook until they start to release water, around 3 minutes.
Add the tomato puree and spices, mix well, then add the lentils, rice and vegetable stock. Stir and cover the pan, then simmer for around 15 minutes until all of the water is absorbed.
Stir through the lemon juice and olive oil, and season well with salt and pepper.
How to roll Lebanese cabbage rolls**
Cut each leaf into two or three pieces, making sure to cut around the stem. If you have very small cabbage leaves, you can leave them whole, but make sure to thin-out any chunky stems.
On each piece of cabbage leaf, add a couple of small spoonfuls of filling. Form it into a line, leaving a little bit of space at either end. Be careful not to over-stuff, as this will make it difficult to roll.
Fold the ends over the filling, then roll the rest of the leaf up tightly. Give the cabbage roll a little squeeze to secure it.
Add a layer of the leftover bits of cabbage leaves to the bottom of a heavy pot to line it. One by one, line the cabbage leaves up tightly. If there are any spaces between rolls, add in wedges of tomato.
Keep layering up the cabbage rolls, alternating the direction with each layer. Sprinkle the slices of garlic between each layer. When you have no rolls left, add any remaining slices of garlic and tomato.
Mix together the water, salt, lemon juice and dried mint, and pour it over the rolls. Top up with enough water to nearly cover the rolls.
Place a heavy plate or bowl on top of the cabbage rolls, then cover. Bring the water to a simmer, then cook for 45 minutes.
Serve with fresh lemon slices and dairy-free yoghurt.
*It’s important that you don’t over boil the cabbage, as it will be cooked again later. Likewise don’t try to pull the cabbage leaves off if they aren’t softened, as they’ll break.
**See post content above for visual step-by-steps for rolling the cabbage rolls.