Have you ever heard of Sarma? My guess is probably not. It’s an Eastern European dish that usually consists of cabbage stuffed with meat and rice. It was a dish I grew very accustomed to seeing during most holidays and special events.
Growing up, I imagine I was like many children, and tried to stay far away from cabbage. Add to that my wavering feelings towards ground meat and this was a dish that I tried to avoid being placed on my plate. I never appreciated what went into the hours it often took to put this entire meal together from scratch, and instead waited for the hershey bar after dinner to find its way out of my grandpa’s cupboard.
Fast forward several years. I have been receiving cabbage nearly weekly in my CSA. I’m tired of chopping it up and throwing it in a bit pot of soup. I try to come-up with a creative way to use the most recent head of cabbage we received and…bingo! I instantly remember my childhood meals! Stuffed cabbage it is!
It had never occurred to me that I could actually change what I stuff the cabbage with based on personal preferences. For my first attempt at this dish, I used a mixture of kidney beans, brown rice and vegetables. Covered with tomato sauce and melted cheese, I am now excited to have my own version of stuffed cabbage to add to our family recipes!
Vegetarian Stuffed Cabbage
Keywords: bake side entree vegetarian cabbage beans rice
Ingredients (8 cabbage rolls)
- 1/2 cup brown rice
- 2 tbs. olive oil
- 2 bell peppers, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 onion, diced
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 15 oz. can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 head of cabbage; will only use about 8 leaves
- 1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
- 3/4 cup shredded cheddar-gruyere cheese (or other preferred blend)
1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Cook rice according to package directions. Heat oil in large sauce pan and cook peppers and onion about 5 minutes. Add garlic, kidney beans, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Cook about 1 minute. Mix together with cooked rice and set aside.
2. Prepare 8×8″ baking dish. Spray with cooking spray and then spread an even layer of about 1/2 cup pasta sauce. Set aside.
3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil. Place cabbage in boiling water just until leaves begin to fall off (about 3 minutes). Remove from water and let cool. Gently peel off 8 leaves. Cut thick vein out of leaf, cutting in a “V” shape. Overlap cut then fill with a heaping 1/3 cup of rice and bean filling. Fold in sides then roll-up and place in prepared baking dish. Repeat with remaining leaves.
4. Top with remaining tomato sauce and shredded cheese. Cover and bake for 40-45 minutes. Serve and enjoy!
In addition to my tastes changing as I grew-up, another thing that changed was how I think about food. I have been trying to pay more attention to where my food comes from and attempting to buy more local and healthy food. However, this is not always easy to do, especially when it comes to snack foods like granola bars, cereal and granola that we purchase frequently. So I was thrilled when Sharp Foods, a local company founded in Cambridge MA, sent me the following products to try: Blueberry Walnut Crunch Energy Bar, Cherry Vanilla Almond Energy Bar, Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Bar, and Seed & Nut Twice Baked Granola.
I’ve never had twice baked granola before, but I am now completely hooked! This was soooo good! I’m not sure if it’s from the double-baking process or just the quality ingredients, but this was FILLED with clusters and had just the right mix of nuts and seeds with a subtle sweetness!
The energy bars were also delicious and packed with quality ingredients that actually kept me full throughout the morning (which is not easy to do)! My favorite was the Blueberry Walnut Crunch. I loved the way there were so many different flavors and textures combined in this bar; it was a fabulous mix of fruit, seeds, nuts and oats!
Sharp Foods is dedicated to providing great tasting, all-natural foods that effectively deliver on the mission of providing you with sustainable energy and a sharp mind. From my first taste, I definitely think they have succeeded in their mission! To find out where to buy these products, click here.