CABBAGE ROLL CASSEROLE
I call this recipe Cabbage Roll Casserole because I don’t make actual cabbage rolls. I think it’s simpler this way, and I’m all about making things as simple as possible!
Please note that this recipe is designed to give you a freezer supply of Cabbage Roll Casserole fixings for several meals (i.e. 5+). The idea is that you make the Cabbage Roll Sauce and the Cabbage Roll Filling ahead of time, then freeze portions until you’re ready to buy some cabbage and put it all together.
Don’t let the initial work scare you off because this is super yummy and it makes a lot!
Once you have your first batch of sauce and filling made, you’ll find that you won’t run out of both at the same time. That’s because the sauce recipe makes enough for 8 portions and the filling recipe makes enough for 5 portions. So, in the future, you’ll only have to make one or the other to keep your freezer stocked. (Each portion serves 2 adults in my house.)
I do recommend that you have a basic coffee grinder for grinding the fennel. My Mr. Coffee grinder is dedicated to grinding spices. To clean the grinder, I use a dry brush to clean the base/around the blade and I wash the lid with soap and dish detergent.
I combine all the spices in the grinder, not just the fennel (for the filling). I think it helps the uniformity of the grind when you have more volume. The aroma of the fennel-sage-oregano-thyme combination is incredible!
Ok, let’s make this recipe happen!
STEP 1 – CABBAGE ROLL SAUCE
1 T oil (olive or coconut)
28 oz can crushed tomato with basil
15 oz can tomato sauce (no salt added)
2 tomatoes, chopped
6 T lemon juice
1/2 C brown sugar (or 1 T agave + 1 T molasses)
1/2 C non-dairy milk
1/2 t salt
1/2 t black pepper
1 t dill weed
1 t garlic powder
1 t onion powder
2 t chili powder
- Simmer all ingredients in a large saucepan for about 30 minutes.
- Portion into 1/2 pint freezer jars.
- Freeze until needed.
Makes about 8 portions. (This sauce is good over pasta as a basic sauce recipe).
STEP 2 – CABBAGE ROLL FILLING
1 batch cooked long or medium grain brown rice (about 2 3/4 cups)
(1 batch = 1 cup dry rice & 1 1/4 C water in a rice cooker for 55 minutes)
2 T fennel seeds (measure, then grind as noted above)
1 T dried sage
1 t oregano
1 t thyme
1/4 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
1 pkg (12 oz) Yves Meatless Ground Round OR 1 block crumbled tempeh OR 2 cups cooked lentils
2 T oil (I use coconut oil)
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
18-20 small or 10 large white or crimini mushrooms, chopped
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
2 T organic soy sauce or tamari
2 T vegan Worcestershire sauce
3 T water
- Cook the batch of rice while you work on the rest of the filling.
- Grind the spices and set aside.
- Use a soup pot. Heat the oil on medium. Add the onion, green pepper, and garlic to the pot. Saute for a few minutes.
- Add the mushrooms and spices and saute for a few more minutes.
- Add the diced tomatoes, soy sauce/tamari, Worcestershire sauce, water, and the meatless ground/tempeh/lentils and continue to cook on medium for ~10-15 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the rice.
- Portion into 1-pint freezer jars.
- Freeze until needed.
Makes about 5 portions.
STEP 3 – CABBAGE ROLL CASSEROLE
1/4 to 1/3 of a green cabbage (depends on size)
1/2 pint portion of Cabbage Roll Sauce (above)
1 pint portion of Cabbage Roll Filling (above)
Vegan sour cream (optional, as a topping)
- Cut up the cabbage into ~1 inch size pieces. (I remove the thick stems first.)
- Thaw and warm the sauce and the filling (I use the microwave).
- Coat the bottom of a square (8-9″) glass pan with a little bit of sauce.
- Layer cabbage and filling in the pan.
- Evenly distribute the rest of the sauce on top.
- Bake covered at 400 degrees for 40-45 minutes (until bubbly and the cabbage is soft).
- Top with vegan sour cream or have a side of sour cream on toast (optional but good!).