Updated: Oct 16, 2019
Thanksgiving is a time for all family members to come together and give thanks to everything we have. However, for some families with dietary restrictions, Thanksgiving dinner can be more complicated than others. God bless my own family members for their patience with my own dietary restrictions. I made this recipe with them in mind.
This dish is low carb, dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan. If you are sugar conscious, I would recommend trying it with quinoa instead of with rice and skipping the raisins. I love this because it looks and tastes just like meat! You wouldn’t even know that it’s completely vegan! It is savory, sweet, and a little spicy and perfect for Thanksgiving dinner. It can be used as a side dish but also filling enough as a main dish. Cabbage is in season right now, so you can find them locally grown at pretty any farmer's market.
I made this with the intention of making it look like mincemeat by putting the walnuts through a few shots in the blender. I did still keep a little bit of the texture of the of the walnut but if you would prefer, you might want to opt for mincing it by hand if you want it to have more texture.
This is the texture you are looking for when using your blender.
Once you've lined your dish with tomato sauce, start assembling your cabbage rolls. This step can get a little tricky. Cabbage leaves tend to fold into one another, making it sometimes difficult to peel them off without damaging the leaf. I would suggest using the torn pieces to close up any broken rolls. I also found it easier to roll by cutting off the thick bottom portion of the leaf. You can then line the baking dish with the extra pieces so that there is no waste.
Once all that is done, top it off with the rest of the tomato sauce, some thyme, salt, and pepper. However, you will need to cover it so that the rice or quinoa puffs up properly. So, if you don't have a cover for your dish (I didn't), use some aluminum foil, which worked just fine. The beauty of this dish is that you can leave in the oven and not need to tend to it.
3 lbs Head of Green Cabbage
3 Cloves of Garlic
1/2 C Brown Rice or Quinoa
3/4 C Walnuts, roughly blended
1 tsp Sea Salt divided
2 Tbs Olive Oil
3/4 lb Mushrooms, finely chopped
1 medium-sized onion, minced
½ cup of raisins
1 tsp cinnamon
1 Fist Full of Fresh Thyme divided
1 500ml can diced or crushed Tomatoes, divided
Ground Black Pepper
To Prepare the Cabbage:
1. Remove the core from the cabbage and drop the entire head into a large pot of lightly salted simmering water, ensuring that the head is fully emerged into the water. Cook for 10 minutes. Once the cabbage has cooled, you can start to pull off the leaves carefully.
For the Stuffing:
2. Preheat oven to 350F(180C).
3. In a large skillet on medium-high heat, place the garlic, onion, and thyme. Once the onions become translucent, add in the mushrooms, raisins, and cinnamon for a few minutes then add in the walnuts until everything is well combined. Salt to taste.
4. Place everything into a large bowl and combine the raw rice until you have a well-uniformed mixture.
5. Grease a baking dish with olive oil.
6. Line the baking dish with a thin layer of tomato sauce and lightly sprinkle with thyme, salt, and pepper.
7. Scoop up about a heaping tablespoon of stuffing into your cabbage leaf and fold the sides first then roll. There will probably be some breakage. I used the torn leaves to close up any broken rolls. This will make approximately 15 rolls.
8. Once you’ve rolled up all your cabbage, top with remaining tomato sauce and sprinkle with thyme, salt, and pepper.
9. Cover your baking dish with aluminum foil or if you have a cover and cook for 45 min.
10. Cool and enjoy!