Vegetarian Cabbage Rolls *OR* Stuffed Peppers

This dish, or dishes use a walnut and cauliflower rice based filling in place of ground beef and rice – making it vegetarian AND low-carb / grain-free!

The filling is delicious and versatile and can be used to stuff cabbage or peppers. I’ll include both variations here. The peppers are faster…just saying. But cabbage rolls are my hub’s favorite so I made those first. That being said, he’s my BIGGEST critic. Seriously. Replacing ground beef with walnuts – are you NUTS??? I don’t hide things from him or the kids – they smell it and come into the kitchen asking, “What smells so gooooood???” My job here is done.

I had him taste the filling and he was game. He gets it. We’re getting older and incorporating more plant based foods into our diet is good for our health, the environment and our bank account.

Scroll down through the list of ingredients and steps and you will see these are less 20-minute-meals and more Slow-Food movement. Take the time on a Sunday afternoon – make extra and freeze them, if you have extra. You will be glad you did.

Vegetarian Cabbage Rolls

Makes 4 rolls – go ahead and double the recipe!

make ahead: Start the night before soaking the walnuts.

  • 1 c raw walnuts
  • 4 large cabbage leaves (Napa or large green )
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 T onion, chopped
  • 1 T garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 t paprika
  • 1 t each salt and pepper
  • 3/4 c cauliflower rice (if fresh add 1/4 c broth)
  • 1 T dry parsley
  • 1 egg, beaten (or 1 flax egg)
  • 1/2 c tomato sauce
  • 1 T Worcestershire sauce
  • Optional Parmesan cheese topping.
  1. Deep breath – it’s worth it. Place walnuts in a large bowl and cover with water. Soak overnight. Oops – you forgot? No worries – cover raw walnuts in simmering water and let sit 30 minutes.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Carefully submerge cabbage leaves and cook until pliable.
  3. Preheat oven to 350F.
  4. In a large saute pan with sides or dutch oven heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, paprika, salt and pepper. Cook until translucent and fragrant.
  5. Add cauliflower rice and cook until soft (if dry add broth) about 10 minutes.Remove from heat.
  6. Drain cabbage leaves and cut out center vein.
  7. Drain and process walnuts in a food processor until ground beef consistency.
  8. Add walnuts, egg, parsley and Worcestershire sauce to the cauliflower rice mixture. Stir carefully to combine.
  9. Stuff leaves and roll gently.
  10. Grease and 8×8 baking dish and brush with a thin layer of tomato sauce. Place cabbage rolls over sauce and top each with equal portions of sauce and optional Parmesan cheese.
  11. Bake rolls for 30 minutes.2019-01-22_18-59-49_466.jpg

Stuffed Pepper Variation

Instead of cabbage leaves you’ll use 4 bell peppers – any color. Cut off the tops and remove the ribs and seeds. Brush inside and outside with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes to soften. Then fill with the stuffing mixture, place in the sauce lined pan, top with more sauce and cheese and bake as you would the rolls.