Today I bring you a delicious wholefood, plant-based recipe that has as a protagonist tasty spring cabbage. It is super tasty, easy to do, and it looks stunning when you serve it. It becomes even better when you add the ‘cheesy’ cashew sour sauce: best combo! I would like, though, to start today’s article introducing myself and welcoming you to the new phase of the To Real Life.
“Is time of change”, said Lisa and Prospero. We are living strange days, where the future seems blurred and uncertain. But we are left with focusing on our present, left with learning how to live the present rather than the past or the future. Maybe it is a great time for introspection, to apply some solid and thoroughly thought changes in our lives, which would otherwise be a rather challenging task with a super busy lifestyle.
I am Rita, as Lisa and Prospero introduced me to you on the previous post. As I will have the opportunity to show you as you get to know me, CHANGE is an essential element of my life. And it is with a warm heart and with great honour that I embraced the opportunity of being the “new face” of To Real Life.
Ever since I first knew To Real Life I was in love with the project, the principles and values behind it, the inspiring stories shared, and the incredible recipes made with whole foods and love. It wasn’t without a bit a fear that I took this step. Fear of not being up to the task of giving continuation to such a great job that Lisa and Prospero did. But I also learned that this slight fear is part of the process of changing and, subsequently, it is often followed by great joy. Therefore, I knew it was time to dive in, and I hope I can make justice to the To Real Life, to Lisa and Prospero, and that you enjoy this journey as much as I do!
One of the most important things, in order to keep our mind sane, is to take care of our bodies. What we eat plays an essential role here, and that doesn’t need to come without a great ‘slice’ of pleasure. Ever since I completed my Level 4 Certified Nutrition Diploma, I learned and understood the importance of a complete and balanced diet, and how easy it can be to accomplish it. Today I bring you a funky and delicious meal that contains all the healthy carbs, fats, proteins, with loads of greens, herbs, nuts and seeds. I believe this is a great summer special meal, great to greet you all to this new page of To Real Life, to my life.
Cabbage rolls are absolutely delicious and they look super special. Although it isn’t the fastest recipe to do, it is very easy. I used the spring cabbages I planted during the winter and veggies that are starting to bloom now that we are walking closer to the summer season. I served it with a “cheesy” sour sauce and a fresh salad.
Here’s the recipe:
Gather all the necessary ingredients.
Start with boiling the cabbage leaves for about 15 min, without letting them become too tender, and drain the water into a bowl. You will need it later. Let the leaves aside to cool down.
Cook the rice in medium heat for 20 min. After that, drain the water and let it cool down.
In the meanwhile, soak the chia seeds in 1 cup of water for at least 30 min until it creates a sort of a gelatin substance.
Chop the spring onions and let them golden in olive oil medium heat on a pan.
Add the rest of the ingredients finely chopped: pepper, tomatoes, 1 of the carrots, aubergine and the stem broccoli. Add a cup of water, salt to taste and let it cook for 20 min.
Pour the rice into a big bowl and mix the cooked veggies, along with the fresh dill and sunflower seeds. Shred the raw carrot and add to the mixture. Mix all very well with your hands.
Add the chia seeds “gelatin” substance, which will work as an egg agglutinating all the ingredients. Mix it well with the rest of the ingredients.
Prepare the cabbage leaf by slicing thinner its mid rib, allowing it to have more flexibility to roll up.
It’s time to fill them and roll them up! I fancied the process whilst listening Creedence Clearwater Revival’s version of “Rolling, rolling on the river” (not ashamed!)
Firstly, once you rolled them all up, put them well organised and tight together in the base of your pan. Secondly, cover them with the leftover leaves and add 1 or 2 cups of the cabbage cooking water you left aside earlier. However, do not add enough to cover the rolls completely. Thirdly, let them cook for 10 minutes in medium to high heat with extra weight on top so they don’t move too much. I did so by using a smaller pan lid on top of them. Once cooked, remove the remaining water.
Finally, serve them with ‘cheesy’ sour sauce (see below) and a fresh salad.
The ‘cheesy’ sour sauce
All you need is cashews, white or apple vinegar, nutritional yeast, salt and the dark green top of the spring onions.#
Join in a food processor the cashews, vinegar, salt and nutritional yeast and blend it all adding small portions water to help. Don’t add too much as it will become too liquid.
After the creamy texture is achieved, add the spring onions and mix it all with the help of a spoon, and…
CABBAGE ROLLS & ‘cheesy’ Sour Sauce
gluten-free, lactose-free, soy-free, plant-based (vegan)
Level of difficulty: easy
Preparation time: 1h30 for the whole process
Ingredients for the Cabbage Rolls:
- 160g / 5.65 oz. of rice
- 1 big spring cabbage
- 3 spring onions
- 2 small tomatoes
- ½ aubergine
- 2 medium-size carrots (one to be cooked and the other used raw)
- 1 red pepper
- 3 stems of stem broccoli
- 2 tbsp of raisins,
- 1 tbsp of sunflower seeds
- 1 ½ tsp of Cummins
- Olive oil
- 1 tbsp of chia seeds
Separate the cabbage leaves and boil them for about 15min in high heat. They shouldn’t get too tender. Once cooked, strain the water into a bowl (we will need it later) and let the leaves cool down.
For the filling:
- Cook the rice for 15-20 minutes in medium heat. Once cooked, strain the water and leave it to cool down.
- Soak the chia seeds in water (1 cup) and leave it for 20-30 minutes. In the meanwhile, they’ll create a gelatin-like substance.
- Chop the spring onions, pepper tomatoes and 1 of the carrots and cut in small pieces the aubergine and stem broccoli.
- Firstly, with a bit of olive oil, golden the spring onions. Then add all the veggies. Add a cup of water and let all the veggies cook for about 20 minutes.
- Pour the rice into a big bowl and mix the veggies, along with the fresh dill, sunflower seeds, the cumin, and the chia seeds gelatine substance, which is going to work as an egg agglutinating all the ingredients. Shred the raw carrot and add to the mixture. Mix all very well with your hands.
- Prepare the cabbage leaves by slice a bit off of the petiole/ bottom of the midrib (the hard central bit) so it becomes thinner giving more “flexibility” to the leaf whilst rolling.
- Roll them up! Spread the leaf in a flat and non-stick surface. Place the filling in the centre bottom of the cabbage leaf. Roll the bottom up partially covering of the filling. Then shaping/outlining the filling with your fingers of one hand, fold one of the sides towards its opposite with the other hand and do the same on the other side. Once the filling is almost covered, roll all forwards until you have one roll.
- Once you have all the rolls done, place them in the bottom of a pan, very tight together and cover with the left leaves or the broken ones that you didn’t use to do the rolls. Add a bit of the water that was used to cook the cabbage (not enough to cover the rolls completely) and put a small lid on top to avoid the rolls to move whilst cooking. Cover the pan with the fitting lid and let it cook for 10 minutes.
- Drain the left water, remove the top leaves, remove the rolls from the pan and get ready to serve them!
‘Cheesy’ Sour Sauce:
- 100g / 3.5 oz. cashews
- 40ml white apple vinegar
- 2 tbsp of nutritional yeast
- Green tops of 3 spring onions or chives
- Add the cashews, vinegar, nutritional yeast and salt in a blender and blend it all up, using a bit of water if needed, until you have an even creamy sauce consistency.
- Add the chopped spring onions and mix well.
Serve it and enjoy!
I served the rolls with the delicious ‘cheesy’ sour sauce and a fresh salad made with mix salad leaves, sliced red onion, pomegranate, fresh dill, shredded carrot, fresh tomato and cucumber.