Friday, May 8, 2020

Unstuffed Farro Cabbage Rolls

When your cabbage crop is ready but not looking perfect (holes in the leaves and not a perfect tight head to be seen) you switch gears from traditional to unstuffed cabbage rolls! This vegan dish gets meaty flavour and texture from red and green lentils, mushrooms and caramelized onions, while the standard rice gets a switchup to nutty, chewy farro. Each bite is packed with flavour and texture, perfect for Fall eating!

Yes, yes - this is yet another one from the archives of Instagram, or as I like to call it "where good food goes to die". I can't help it, these days all the hours blend into one another - between late nights writing essays (help me, English classes are worse than I remember), running Zoom classes for my grade 4-8 kids, trying to workout with virtual classes and actually cooking, sometimes getting around to writing about it all falls to the bottom of the pile. I do have a decent chunk of recipes in the pipe though, so thanks for bearing with me!

At any rate, this type of meal is exactly what I would go for in times of stress like now. Not only is is full of comforting, warming flavours (I'm looking now at the polar vortex supposed to smack us on the weekend) but it uses tons of cheap, hearty ingredients that also happen to be full of nutrition! After all, we have been stuck inside for what feels like an eon and while we do our best the stress is not good at all for our immune system - cue the sulfur compounds in the cabbage and the antioxidants is the tomatoes, lentils, garlic and paprika. The mushrooms give a boost of vitamin D which we all need after living indoors for so long, and adding in the farro boosts up the B vitamins and our friend fibre for a healthy digestive tract all over.

On the off chance that any of that science-y mumbo jumbo isn't your cup of tea, all you need to know is this recipe is hearty, healthy and absolutely delicious warm or cold - just make sure you have a large pot to put it all together, because the cabbage is a beast until it cooks down! It is well worth it, though, especially if you love the flavours of cabbage rolls and Mediterranian cuisine blended with classic Eastern European basics. If you're only cooking for one, take heart - this freezes very well and if you portion pre-freezing you can be set for over a week!

Unstuffed Farro Cabbage Rolls
Serves 8
1 tbsp olive oil (not extra virgin)
2 large onions, chopped
8 oz mushrooms, diced
12 cups chopped cabbage
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
2 cups green lentils
2 cups red lentils
8 cups vegetable broth (I used low sodium)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp oregano
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp ground black pepper
3 cups dry farro, cooked according to the package directions
  1. Heat olive oil in a deep 12-inch non-stick skillet or a pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add in onion and mushrooms and saute 5 minutes. Add cabbage and cook 5 minutes.
  3. Add in tomatoes, lentils, broth, garlic, both paprikas, thyme, oregano, honey, vinegar, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer.
  4. Simmer, partially covered, until lentils are done, about 30 minutes.
  5. Stir in the farro and cook 5 minutes more.

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