This recipe was a total improvisation and actually it was made in the process of cooking. My idea was to make cabbage rolls with Quorn mince, because I wasn’t very keen to make cabbage rolls with pork or beef mince (pork mince cabbage rolls recipe). Don’t get me wrong, I love traditional cabbage rolls with mix of pork mince and rice or barley with delicious, creamy tomato sauce. But since we don’t have any barley or rice, that gives the roll this juicy gluey consistency, adding just meat sounded boring. So I wanted to make something more juicy and Quorn mince was a great idea. To make it less boring while frying the mince with mushrooms and onion, I decided to add some grated carrot. When all that was mixed I came up with the idea that addition of linseeds would make the filling more gluey, like when you add barley. And because my linseed jar stands next to the sunflower seeds I grabbed a handful of them as well.
To finish and add extra flavour added couple dried cep mushrooms – they have beautiful aroma and always add extra season to all mushroom dishes. And you just need a couple pieces to bring the wonderful mushroom flavour. If you don’t have cep mushrooms, you can use porcini mushrooms.
For the cabbage I used spring greens, as they have quite large leaves. Young white cabbage with outer looser leaves will also work great and savoy cabbage is very good as well if you find a big one.
Instead of cooking them on the stove I decided to gently cook them in the slow cooker and it was a really good idea. They were not overcooked, kept it’s shape and all the falvours came through. The filling was juicy, delicate and fulfilling. Don’t expect them to have strong flavour, they are gently spiced, so you can feel the taste of each ingredient. I like more gentle tastes, so for me they are delicious. My partner who loves spicy food and stronger flavours found it a bit too delicate for him, but still really tasty.
Because we like cabbage rolls with some sort of sauce, I used remains of liquid (full of cep mushroom aroma) to make the creamy sauce. I used extra thick double cream, because we don’t mind dairy. But if you want to stick with vegan option, simply add coconut cream or coconut milk. Add some extra salt and pepper if needed and you have delicious and flavoursome wild mushroom sauce.
I will definitely repeat this recipe more times. Even though preparations are a little bit more time consuming, the outcome is good enough to spend some time in the kitchen. I highly encourage you to try this cabbage rolls even if you’re not vegan.
slowly cooked vegan cabbage rolls
INGREDIENTS (for about 12 rolls):
- 500g no meat mince (Quorn mince in my case but you can also use soya mince)
- 1 brown onion
- about 150g white mushrooms
- 2 medium carrots
- large leaf spring greens or other cabbage with quite large leaves
- couple dried pieces of wild cep mushrooms (other dried wild mushrooms will be also very good)
- natural rock salt and coarse pepper to taste
- good pinch of sweet paprika powder
- pinch of garlic granules
- handful of linseeds
- handful of sunflower seeds
- little bit of olive oil or butter for non vegan option
If you use dried wild mushrooms it is the best option to soak them in a small amount of water over the night or at least couple hours before you start preparing cabbage rolls. They need quite a long time to become soft and soaking is the best thing to do.
First prepare the filling. On a large pan heat a small amount of olive oil, finely chop onion and fry until golden. Rinse or peel white mushrooms and also chop and add to onion. Fry until they become soft. Next add mince. I used frozen Quorn mince. I you use soya mince just pop it into a pan with a little bit of water, so it will soak it and become soft. Add all the spices: salt, pepper, sweet paprika, garlic. Let it fry slowly for couple minutes, stir it from time to time. Then switch of the heat and let it sit for a while to cool down slightly.
In the meantime take a large pot (big enough to fit cabbage leaves) and boil some water. Break of the biggest leaves from the spring greens and rinse them thoroughly under running water to get rid of remains of soil. Now place 2-3 leaves in a boiling water, cover the pot with lid and wait 2-3 minutes until leaves become soft but still firm. Don’t cook them for too long because they will break and you won’t be able to pack them with filling and roll them. Gently remove them from the pot and place on the drainer to cool down. Do the same with the rest of cabbage leaves. I had about 12 leaves.
When the leaves are cooling down, finish with the filling. Peel and grate carrots and add them to mince. Also ad a handful of linseeds and a handful of sunflower seeds. Give it a good stir, so all the ingredients combines.
Prepare a slow cooker by placing a little bit of olive oil on the bottom (or slice of butter in my case) and adding soaked wild mushrooms with the water they’ve been soaking in.
Take a large cutting board and place a cabbage leaf (If the stem of the leaf is a bit to stiff and hard, just slice it off to make it thinner and flat), put 2 heaped tablespoons of filling (more or less depending how big your leaves are), fold the sides of the leaf and start rolling. Try to be gentle but also roll them tight. Place the roll in a slow cooker. Do exactly the same with the rest of the leaves, placing the rolls in the slow cooker. Add some water (or veggie broth if you have on hand) lust enough to cover the first layer of rolls. Season with an extra pinch of salt.
Set the slow cooker on “low” and cook for 3 hours. Cabbage rolls are ready to be eaten. Take them gently from a slow cooker and serve. Leftovers of liquid will be a great base for sauce, especially that it’s full of delicious wild mushroom flavour. Simply pour it to a saucepan and add coconut cream or coconut milk, or if you like me don’t mind dairy, add extra thick double cream. Slowly and carefully heat and pour over cabbage rolls.
You can freeze them (without creamy sauce), but keep in mind that each time you’ll reheat them cabbage will get softer and more prone to break. So it’s the best not to reheat them many times. Spring greens have quite gentle leaves, white cabbage will be a little bit stronger.