In my constant quest of veganizing the Norwegian cuisine, I’m updating an old, classic Norwegian recipe called “kålruletter” or “kålruller”, which in the traditional way, are Savoy cabbage leaves stuffed with ground pork and baked in the oven, served with a white, creamy sauce. My version has cooked rice, lentils, sauteed shallots, garlic and red bell pepper seasoned with freshly ground nutmeg and spiced paprika. I have to say… my version is a lot more flavorful – of course I’m not biased at all ! I still challenge you to try my version, as I feel it’s packed with deep, layered flavors from all the different ingredients and also incredibly satisfying.
For those hard core old school’ers, you can check out my old post about kålruller here. Even if you prefer the vegetarian version, you can get some additional information about the dish and its background there.
According to the World Healthiest Foods, cabbage can provide some special cholesterol-lowering benefits if you cook it by steaming (as in the first step of this recipe). The fiber-related components in cabbage do a better job of binding together with bile acids in your digestive tract when they’ve been steamed. When this binding process takes place, it’s easier for bile acids to be excreted, and the result is a lowering of your cholesterol levels.
Cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin C, and has great anti-oxidant related properties, which is partly responsible for its cancer prevention benefits.
Cabbage has a long history of use both as a food and a medicine. It was developed from wild cabbage, a vegetable that was closer in appearance to collards and kale since it was composed of leaves that did not form a head.
It is thought that wild cabbage was brought to Europe around 600 B.C. by groups of Celtic wanderers. It was grown in Ancient Greek and Roman civilizations that held it in high regard as a general panacea capable of treating a host of health conditions.
While it’s unclear when and where the headed cabbage that we know today was developed, cultivation of cabbage spread across northern Europe into Germany, Poland and Russia, where it became a very popular vegetable in local food cultures. The Italians are credited with developing the Savoy cabbage. (end quote whfoods.com)
If you have not been convinced yet by the amazing health benefits of cabbage (and vegetables in general), then at least try this recipe for its amazing flavor! The meat will not be missed, I promise! 🙂
Kålruletter The Healthy Way
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup brown rice
1/2 cup green lentils
3-4 shallots, sliced thin
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1 tsp organic vegetable bouillon powder
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
1 head of Savoy cabbage, whole leaves picked apart
1 cup vegetable broth
Oil an ovenproof dish that will fit 8 to 10 rolled up cabbage leaves and set aside. Preheat oven to 400 F.
Rinse the rice and the lentils separately. In two different small pots, cook the rice/lentils with 1 1/2 cups of water each for about 15-20 minutes until done. Set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat, add shallots, garlic and bell peppers and season with salt. Saute for 5-7 minutes, then add nutmeg and paprika, saute for another 30-40 seconds until fragrant. Add the rolled oats and toasted walnuts, and saute for another minute.
Add the lentils, rice, and onion mixture in a food processor along with bouillon powder and the 1/3 cup of water and pulse a few times until a rough farce is formed. Place in a bowl and place in fridge while you prepare the cabbage leaves.
In a large pot, bring a generous amount of salted water to a bowl, and place the separated cabbage leaves in the water, and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes, until just starting to soften. Be careful not to overcook, as you want the vibrant color of the cabbage to remain. Scoop the leaves out of the water and place on clean dish towels so the water dries off.
Place one big spoon of the lentil rice filling into each cabbage leaf, and roll up like a spring roll.
Place the stuffed roll with the seam down into the prepared ovenproof dish. Fill with the vegetable broth, it should only cover the bottom of the pan.
Bake in oven for 25 to 30 minutes, the cabbage rolls should be golden brown on top.
1/2 cup vegan butter
1//3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
3 cups plant based milk (I used almond milk)
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp maple syrup
Heat the vegan butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat until melted. Add the all purpose flour and whisk. Allow to cook, whisking frequently, for a few minutes until a roux is formed. Make sure it does not darken, as we are making a white, not brown gravy!
- Add the milk, nutritional yeast, salt, Dijon mustard and garlic powder and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for a few minutes until sauce is nicely thickened to the consistency of cheese sauce. add the lemon juice and agave nectar and stir. If too thick, add some more non dairy milk.