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Vegetarian cabbage rolls?

I have an enormous head of napa cabbage sitting at home on my kitchen counter. I was thinking to try a diet-friendly riff on cabbage rolls. I know the general rule about the stuffing is ground pork or beef with rice, but anyone know of a stuffed cabbage recipe that's low fat and still savory? I was thinking browned rice, tofu, tomatoes, lots of chopped cabbage, Worcestshire, onions... suggestions?

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  1. I like barley, carrots, mushrooms, and cottage cheese (drained). Saute some onions and garlic. Add salt, pepper, dried thyme. Add carrots and chopped mushrooms and cook until the carrots are crisp-tender. Stir in cooked barley. (For extra flavor, cook the barley in mushroom or veggie stock. To make mushroom stock, just simmer a bunch of button mushrooms for 45 minutes. Don't add anything -- the stock is excellent as-is.)

    Let the mixture cool, then add drained cottage cheese. Chopped nuts are also a good addition.

    Blanch the cabbage leaves, roll 'em up, braise in a tomatoey sauce.

    1. You've got the basics already. Cabbage rolls are infinitely adaptable.
      Try wrapping some vegetable fried brown or white rice, or golden fried tofu with chives, sliced garlic cloves, sliced shitake mushrooms, and drizzled with a light vinegar/soy sauce mix.

      1. you could go for a Lebanese mahshi type stuffing with short grain rice (any Japonica rice would do) with lemon juice, chopped parsley, chopped onions, garlic, etc.

        i suppose with the napa you could even give it your own Asian fusion and use the japonica rice with cilantro and mint instead of flat leaf parsely

        1. Cabbage is really versatile.
          I don't know how well it'd work with napa cabbage, but a lot of chinese banquets serve a classic combo of corn/carrot/mushroom/pine nuts and wrap it in giant leaf (see image at http://www.fsz.cn/upimg/070310/2_0848... ).
          you can also try slivered chili pepper wrapped in leaves seasoned with vinegar, salt, and sugar. or bamboo dosed in chili oil.
          But really, anything could work. I'm thinking of something with egg and/or enoki mushrooms. butter works great with napa too.

          1 Reply
          1. re: zorgclyde

            One of my favorite dishes at a restaurant in Hong Kong are cabbage rolls stuffed with lightly stir-fried enoki mushrooms and thinly sliced pumpkin, served with a pumpkin sauce. It should work out fine with napa cabbage, so you may wanna try this combination as well. Here's a photo of it.

          2. My vegetarian husband missed eating these, so I made a recipe similar to the Jewish style rolls he grew up with. I used cooked brown rice and a crumbled soy product. The soy I sauteed in minced onions and a chopped clove of garlic. I made a sauce of, tomato sauce, about a 1/2 cup of ketchup, brown sugar and crushed ginger snaps and a splash of white vinegar. I stuffed and rolled the cabbages with the "meat" mixture, poured on the sauce on tip then baked it in the oven for about 30 min. at 425. He liked it.

            1. A big hit is rice/cellophane noodles, carrot slivers, shiitake mushrooms (or any other kind), broccoli and adding some sesame oil, rice wine vinegar and soy sauce to flavor.

              3 Replies
              1. re: yumcha

                yumcha- this sounds so delicious! i have a package of cellophane noodles that i'd like to use in my cupboard- can you please give me more detailed directions? proportions, how to cook them (steam them? poach in some sort of liquid?) etc... thanks so much!

                1. re: shpitzlefan

                  Sfan - no problem.
                  It's pretty simple -
                  Reconstitute dry shiitakes in hot water. This may take some time. Save the water if you'd like.

                  Heat up water in a pot until it boil, take it off the heat, and put in the cellophane noodles (I always overcook them when they're in water on heat). If you've got extra time, they also soften up in cold water.
                  Once cooked, you can add some of the leftover shiitake liquid. It adds a lot of flavor, so if you like shiitakes, this will be good.

                  For wraps, just blanch napa cabbage (to take out the bitterness) for a few mins, let cool, and then stuff them with noodles.

                  I cook veggies as normal. Even canned veggies work. Mix them together with chopped shiitakes and cellophane noodles. Add soy sauce and sesame oil to taste.

                  I probably made this seem much harder than it is! But it's similar to stirfry.

                  1. re: yumcha

                    thanks! i'm going to try it for dinner!

              2. Peter Berley's Modern Vegetarian Kitchen has a veg kale roll recipe-I bet cabbage would work just as well--stuffed with quinoa, onions, carrots, nuts, and served with a spicy tomato sauce. Really good.

                1. Believe it or not, there is a very delicious recipe for cabbage rolls in Dean Ornish's book. It involved borwn rice and lots of mushrooms, and a delicious sauce. I haven't made it in awhile, mostly because it dirties every dish in the kitchen, but it's delicious.

                  1. Toasted pecans or walnuts addes a really nice touch, along with garlic, onion, rice, fresh or dried thyme, and veggie stock. Sautee the onion and garlic in a little olive oil. It will add just a touch of body.

                    I like to simmer in a simple red sauce, again made with onions, garlic and whatever herbs you like.

                    It's a very comforting, tasty meal.

                    1. Here's a lovely recipe from Mollie Katzen for Cornbread Stuffed Cabbage Rolls in a Mushroom Brandy Sauce


                      1. Wow. I know it's a little late to reply, but thanks all for your recipes. So many fab ones to choose from. Who knew cabbage could be so interesting.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: jbeaux

                          What did you end up doing with all of the cabbage?

                          1. re: michele cindy

                            Little late in replying, but in case anyone's still interested, we used the rest of the cabbage in vegetable soup and also as the main ingredient in raw Asian salads. Julienned carrots, jicama, and green onions with a little sesame oil and sesame seeds, chopped peanuts and cilantro for garnish. Was delicious. But all that cabbage wreaked havoc on our digestive systems, so, won't be doing that again any time soon. ;)

                        2. I know that this is an old thread, but thought someone might be interested in the combination that I used for stuffing cabbage rolls the other night... I thought these were delicious, not too meaty and the stuffing juicy and moist. My experience hasn't always been the case.

                          The change was using couscous instead of rice, the rest is probably similar to most recipes.I used ground pork, couscous, chopped tomatoes, sauteed onion,with lots of chopped garlic, herbs -cilantro and basil mixed it with the pork and the tomatoes and couscous.Add a little chicken broth with an egg mixed in for binding.

                          For vegetarian you can use the tofu or soy ground meat (sorry I don't know the correct word!) or any ground meat of your choice.

                          These turned out so moist, I had about a cup of cooked couscous left over from a couple of nights prior, and decided to use it. And I don't think I'll use rice again, these were the best cabbage rolls. Another thing I did differently is that I layered them also (an idea I got from a fellow cook on flickr) instead of placing the rolls flat in a baking dish, I used a bowl type glass cooking vessel, stacked them and then they were topped with the tomato/chicken broth about half way. I used cooked couscous and warmed it with some butter, but you can easily use it uncooked. I did like it so much better than rice for some reason.