Sunday, October 11, 2009

Barley-Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Pine Nuts and Currants

I may just not know how to work with cabbage, and that is why I had such difficulty with this recipe. The cabbage leaves should have been supple and easy to roll up around the filling, but mine were stiff, and I was barely able to get them off the cabbage head, much less rolled up.

I think the main problem was in my steaming. The original recipe just said to 'steam a cabbage head for 8 minutes.' I don't have a steamer basket, which may have been problem #1, and just steamed it in simmering water, covered, in a pot for 8 minutes - whole. Which may have been problem #2. I realize I probably should have cut the core out first. Anyway, that means I can't really profess to tell you how to assemble these rolls, but hopefully you can figure out the cabbage-rolling bit, and I will provide you with how to make the stuffing:

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 and 1/2 cups finely chopped onion; cover and cook for 6 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in 3 cups cooked pearl barley, 3/4 cup crumbled vegan feta (such as Sunergia), 1/2 cup dried currants, 2 tablespoons pine nuts (toast them first for a few minutes in a skillet, if you like), 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. black pepper.

(Make sure to cook the barley ahead of time, according to package directions - generally speaking you'll want about 3/4 cup uncooked barley simmering in 2 and 1/2 cups water for about an hour).

Arrange 16 cabbage leaves from the cabbage head on a work surface (and I wish you luck because I broke a whole bunch and could only wind up with 8). Discard the rest of the cabbage or save for another use.

Place 1/3 cup of the barley stuffing in the center of each leaf. "Fold in the edges of the leaves and roll up," the original instructions said, to which my cabbage leaves cracked and did all sorts of other ugly things.

Arrange the cabbage rolls in a 5- to 6- quart slow cooker.

In a bowl, combine 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/8 tsp. black pepper, 1/2 cup apple juice, 1 tablespoon cider vinegar, and 14 ounces of canned crushed tomatoes (undrained). Pour this sauce over the rolls. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on HIGH for 2 hours.

4 cabbage leaves plus about 2 tablespoons of the sauce makes a serving of 410 calories.

Of course, the other change I had to make, since I could only extract 8 cabbage leaves whole, was that I stuffed mine doubly - 2/3 a cup per leaf. So my servings were 2 cabbage leaves on a plate, not 4.

Here's a photo of the best roll I got, before slicing into it. It should be noted that the others did soften up during cooking, so even if they didn't look perfect, they tasted great!

green cabbage $4.40
vegan feta $3.00
currants $2.99
pine nuts $9.36
parsley $1.69
apple juice
canned crushed tomatoes

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The Vegan Pantry

  • Vegan yogurt - Whole Soy
  • Vegan milk - Silk
  • Vegan Feta - Sunergia
  • Vegan Cheese - Galaxy Foods
  • Vegan Eggs - Ener-G
  • Vegan Butter - Earth Balance