MAIN DISHES MY POLISH VEGETABLES

MEATLESS GOLUMPKI (stuffed cabbage)

MEATLESS GOLUMPKI (stuffed cabbage)

Sweet, tender steamed cabbage leaves stuffed with white and brown rice mixed with a saute of peppers, celery, onion, sun-dried tomatoes and walnuts. Seasoned with garlic, basil and mint. And topped with a tomato barbecue sauce!

Makes 14 cabbage rolls

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Rice:

3 c. water

1 t. salt

1 c. brown rice

1 c. long grain white rice

1 T. light brown sugar for later

Combine water and salt in medium saucepan and bring to boil. Add both rices. Stir, return to boil, stir again, then cover tightly, reduce heat to low and cook 40-50 minutes or till brown rice is tender.  Transfer to large bowl, add 1 T. brown sugar, stir to evenly distribute and fluff with spoon to aerate rice.

[Aside: We cook the rices together, even though the white rice requires a shorter cooking time. We want for this filling both the overcooked soft of the white rice with the firmer texture of the brown rice. Remember we’re not using meat here, so we’re engineering meat textures from plants.]

Cabbage:

1 extra-large cabbage; remove outer soiled leaves, then remove the core without cutting the cabbage in half (like you would do for baked apples or pears).

Place cored cabbage in large pot of water. Don’t salt. Bring to boil, cover, checking often to see when first leaf starts to pull away (loosen) from the head. Remove each leaf as it begins to separate. Place each leaf in colander and rinse under cold water.

Take a 2 cup margarine tub or small bowl and invert it into a larger bowl. Place each leaf over the inside bowl like a crown. Continue with rest of leaves. Set aside till ready to use.

When you’re done, you’ll have a small ball of the inner cabbage, not big enough for stuffed cabbage. Remove from pot, drain and dice 1 cup of 1/2 inch squares for this recipe, then eat the rest – it’s sweet and good for you.

Saute:

3 T. olive oil

1 c. diced celery

1 c. diced green pepper

1 c. diced onion

salt and pepper

1 c. diced sweet red roasted pepper

10 sun-dried tomatoes, diced

1 c. diced cooked cabbage

1 c. walnut halves, crushed in paper bag with flat side of hammer head or bottom of heavy skillet till pulverized

2 t. garlic powder

1 t. dried mint

1 t. dried basil

1 t. salt

1/2 c. water

1 t. additional salt for later

1/2 c. additional water for later

In large skillet, over medium heat, melt olive oil. Add celery and green pepper, and saute till partially wilted.

Add onion and roasted pepper, a little salt and pepper, and saute till onion begins to soften.

Add sun-dried tomatoes, diced cabbage, walnuts, garlic powder, mint, basil, salt and water. Stir well and cook till all veggies are soft.

Add the veggie saute to the rice. Mix well. Add the additional 1 t. salt. Mix well again.

[Aside: This by itself is a beautiful rice dish. If serving the rice without the cabbage leaves, reduce final salting by 1/2 t. or to taste. If proceeding to stuffed cabbage, add the additional 1/2 c. water to rice. Stir well.

Tomato Barbecue Sauce:

2 T. margarine

8 oz. can tomato sauce

1/3 c. ketchup (Heinz is gluten-free)

1/4 c. mustard

1 T. Worcestershire sauce (Kroger brand is both vegan and gluten-free)

2 t. liquid smoke

1/4 c. white sugar

2 T. brown sugar

3 T. Balsamic vinegar

1 t. garlic powder

1/8 t. red cayenne pepper

1/2 t. salt

freshly ground black pepper

Combine sauce ingredients in small skillet/saucepan. Stir well, cook over low heat for a few minutes then turn heat off.

Rolling the golumpki:

Spoon about 1/2 c. barbecue sauce evenly on bottom of 9 x 13 inch baking dish.

Place cabbage leaf on board/counter. Place 1/3 cup or so of rice onto middle of leaf. Starting from the core end of the leaf (which should be closest to you), bring it up and over the rice, drawing it towards you, compacting it in the leaf, while tucking the leaf under the rice as you draw it firmly towards you.

Begin to roll it forward, then bring up both sides of the leaf, not over the top, but in front of the cabbage bump like you’re wrapping a package, then continue to roll forward till it’s done.

Place in baking dish. Do the same till the baking dish is full. You may or may not have rice left over, depending on how big your cabbage rolls are.

Spoon remaining sauce over cabbage rolls. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 30–40 minutes or till bubbly. Remove foil and bake 10 minutes longer.

Serve immediately.

Notes: You not only won’t miss the meat, you’ll wonder why anybody put meat in them in the first place. The meat just blocked the creation of something much more beautiful that wanted to be expressed. Wow. Elevation time for the Golumpki!

Happy Holupki Day to the Lithuanians!

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