I decided to give cabbage rolls a try when a few friends came over for dinner a couple weeks ago. I did this vegan variation with lentils and wild rice to provide a good kick of protein and flavour. This was a recipe I made earlier in the day and then popped in the oven after work before they arrived. I would suggest serving them with extra tomato sauce and big green salad to make the meal complete. Benefits:
- Like other legumes, lentils are great source of molybdenum and folate. Molybdenum is a trace mineral and is required as a cofactor for many enzymatic reactions in the body. Folate (vitamin B9) helps prevent anemia by supporting red blood cell production. Red blood cells are responsible for transporting oxygen throughout the body. Folate is often used interchangeably with folic acid, which is the synthetic form found in fortified foods and some supplements. Folate is best known as the ‘pregnancy vitamin’ for its well studied successes with preventing birth defects. However, it is important for women who are not pregnant and men to also receive adequate amounts of folate from their food. Lentils are rich in fibre, which works to regulate blood sugar levels and cholesterol by providing bulk to the diet and promoting bowel regularity.
- Wild Rice is often mistaken for a grain. However, unlike other varieties of rice, wild rice is actually the seed of a grass. It requires more water to cook (3 cups for every 1 cup of wild rice), but it's nutritional profile is fairly similar. It is a better source of fibre, iron, and copper. Yet, it contains less less fat, zinc, manganese, and calcium compared to brown rice. Amazingly, it is a complete protein, which means it contains all the essential amino acids and no other rice can say that!
- Mushrooms are thought to have many healing powers. Crimini mushrooms are high in phytonutrients, which help protect against oxidative damage and reduce stress within the body. They are an excellent source of so many nutrients including selenium, riboflavin, copper, niacin, tryptophan, pantothenic acid, potassium and phosphorus too. Selenium, riboflavin, and copper all work to protect your tissues against damage and reduce inflammation. Selenium and copper promote regular thyroid function. Niacin (vitamin B3) helps to stabilize blood sugar and cholesterol, metabolize fats, and like all B vitamins (pantothenic acid included), it is key for energy production. Tryptophan also helps with energy production by deepening sleep so upon waking you feel more rested and revitalized. Overall, crimini mushrooms are a powerhouse full of so many nutrients your body needs to heal and flourish.
1 head of green cabbage
1 1/2 cup green lentils, cooked (approx. 1 cup dry)
3 cups wild rice, cooked (approx. 1 cup dry)
2 teaspoons coconut oil
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
10 crimini mushrooms, quartered
1 carrot, grated
1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
sea salt & pepper to taste
tomato sauce (see below)
Cook lentils and rice ahead of time.
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Remove the core of the cabbage with a sharp knife and submerge the head in the boiling pot of water. Cover for 6 minutes until leaves begin to fall off. Remove and place in cold water. Peel off outer leaves and place back in the boiling water for another 3 minutes when leaves become hard to remove. Repeat until you have removed all the leaves. Pare off coarse veins and set leaves aside to dry on clean dishcloths while you prepare the other ingredients.
In a saucepan, melt coconut oil over medium heat and add onions and garlic. Cook until onions become translucent and their purple flesh softens. Add mushrooms, carrots, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper and sauté for another 7 minutes. Remove the pan from heat. 7 minutes allows to mushrooms to be cooked just long enough to soften the cellulose fibre; making their nutrients more available for assimilation. Combine mixture with cooked lentils.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a loaf pan with broken/extra cabbage leaves so the rolls do not stick to the sides. Spoon 3 tablespoons of rice and 3 tablespoons of lentil mushroom mix into each leaf. Fold in the sides and roll up; place each roll opening side down so they do not come apart. Top with favourite tomato sauce. I included the recipe I used below. Cover with leftover leaves so the rolls maintain their moisture and bake for 45 minutes. Discard top leaves before serving.
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
10 roma tomatoes, seeded & chopped
2 tablespoons basil, finely chopped
sea salt & pepper to tastte
Melt the coconut oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes so the onions become translucent. Add tomatoes, basil, salt, and pepper to the saucepan and stir occasionally until tomatoes soften. Blend with an immersion blender (or in a high-speed blender if mixture has cooled).
Makes 8 Rolls
- Mateljan, G. (2007). The world’s healthiest foods. Seattle: George Mateljan Foundation
- The Livestrong Foundation. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.livestrong.com