Red cabbage rolls stuffed with a flavorful mixture of onions, lentils, brown rice, and Italian seasonings. This is one of our favorite healthy inexpensive dinners! Tastes just like grandmas but without the meat! Dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan.
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MMmmMmm cabbage rolls, a classic recipe that my family loves! Except, I’ve changed it up a bit and made it vegetarian, with a few shortcuts.
I bet you’ve never seen red cabbage rolls before! Usually, they’re made with green cabbage. Why I don’t know. If you know why please tell me! Purple cabbage is so good for you! Any fruits or vegetables that are bright purple, are loaded with antioxidants. I make the swap anytime I can.
Lentil Stuffed Red Cabbage Rolls
I do remember my grandpa, Poppy, talking about Golumpkis (pronounced goy-yump-kees), so that’s what I wanted to recreate and put my own spin on it.
Traditional polish golumpki are made with green cabbage leaves, beef or pork, onions, garlic, rice, and tomato sauce. I made my vegetarian cabbage rolls with red cabbage leaves, lentils, onions, garlic, brown rice, and tomato sauce.
Can I Use Something Instead Of Lentils?
I’m not a full-time vegan —-yet, but I do make a lot of vegan meals because they’re affordable and really healthy for you. Especially by using lentils, you can substitute them for meat in so many recipes!
The texture and taste is very similar to beans, but with a meat-like flavor. I make lots of soups, salads, and pasta dishes with lentils. I’ve even mashed them up and made lentil burgers, they’re inexpensive, versatile, and full of protein!
Related Vegetarian Recipes:
- Pesto spinach quinoa stuffed tomatoes
- Butternut squash spinach pasta sauce
- Italian lentil quinoa “meatballs”
- Zucchini crust beet pizza
- Rainbow cherry tomato pesto cream stuffed mushrooms
- 30-min ginger cauliflower rice
- Spinach artichoke dip stuffed shells
- Vegetable shepherd’s pie with purple mashed potatoes
- Salsa stuffed peppers
- Lentil stuffed red cabbage rolls
- Sweet potato black bean enchiladas <— I’m making these for dinner tomorrow!
- Southwest quinoa salad
You know what I always wondered? Why do they call cabbage that’s purple, red cabbage?
Do You Have To Bake The Cabbage Rolls?
I baked the cabbage rolls in a casserole dish in the oven because I think that’s the easiest method, but you can also make them in a dutch oven or braiser pan on the stove top too. You guys know how much I love my ceramic cast iron pans, they can do anything!
To keep the delicate cabbage leaves from sticking to the bottom of the dutch oven and burning, use 2-3 cabbage leaves to line the bottom of the pot! It acts as a barrier between the golumpki and the hot pan. You definitely don’t want to have to stand over the pot, constantly moving them to make sure they don’t stick.
How to Assemble A Cabbage Roll
- Use the larger outer leaves first, the smaller inner leaves will be harder to roll and keep together.
- I like to cut 1 inch off the base of the stem from the larger leaves, sometimes they can be tough.
- Add the filling to the center of the roll, fold over both sides, then fold the bottom up and start rolling.
- Place seam side down into the casserole dish.
Do your best to roll the cabbage rolls up pretty tight to keep the filling in. If the leaf tears or some filling falls out one side, it’s okay, don’t panic. Just tuck the ends in the best you can, and place them in the casserole dish. When it’s baking, everything magically melds together, and it holds together very well when you take it out of the dish.
What Should You Serve With The Cabbage Rolls?
I served the cabbage rolls with brown rice on the side, but it would also be delicious with multicolored quinoa, wheat berries, mashed potatoes, or pasta. Two cabbage rolls is plenty for me for dinner, and Travis had three, so this dish lasted us for two meals. Yeah! Cook once, eat twice!
Not to mention, this is a very affordable meal option if you’re on a budget, like us. Everything I used was organic, and it only cost around $8 for two people to eat for two days.
- 1 cup dry brown rice
- 1 cup dry green lentils
- 1 large head of red cabbage
- 1 26 oz jar of tomato sauce
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp Italian seasonings
- ½ tsp paprika
- 3 Tbsp tomato paste (I love this paste because it's in a jar, so no BPA!)
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- Parsley for garnish
- Cook lentils and brown rice (separately) according to package directions, set aside.
- Using a sharp knife, cut out and remove the stem from the bottom of the cabbage head.
- In a large stock pot, boil the water and season it with sea salt. Add the whole cabbage head to the water and let it boil for 5 minutes or until the outer leaf starts to pull away from the head. Using tongs, carefully remove the outer leaves until you have 10-12 large leaves. Let them cool on a plate. Cut out one inch of the thick rib from the base of each leaf.
- Sauté the diced onion in olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat for 10-12 minutes.
- Add the cooked lentils and rice, Italian seasonings, tomato paste, minced garlic, salt, and pepper to the pan with the onions. Stir. Let the mixture cook for 4-5 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Spread ½ cup of tomato sauce on the bottom of a casserole dish.
- Spoon ⅓ cup of filling into each cabbage leaf. Fold the sides in, and then roll the bottom over. Place seam side down in the casserole dish.
- Pour the remaining sauce over the top.
- Cover with foil, and bake for 1 hour. Serve immediately.
Do you have any favorite family recipes that were passed down from your grandparents? Please share them with me in the comments!
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