I honestly can’t believe that I’m flying to Nepal tomorrow. My suitcase is still unpacked, but I’m doing hundred things at once today, so I’ll be on it soon enough. I’m especially excited to visit the beautiful Pokhara and our day at the ayurveda clinic. But our food centered two week trip to the roof of the world will be packed with wonderful places and activities, so I’m sure I will collect some great inspiration and beautiful memories.
But today’s recipe is inspired by our trip to Hungary. I wrote about it in this post. Since I’m such a foodie, I researched about Hungarian kitchen before our trip and stumbled upon a very interesting dish. It was basically one huge round cabbage roll and it was baked in a round cake pan. Since cabbage rolls are basically my favorite food (or as my love tends laugh that all dishes are my favorite), I knew I had to veganize it and make my very own version. The outcome was something really special! The lentil loaf will be extra moist and delicious, because it’s wrapped into cabbage leaves. This recipe is a bit more work, since you have to boil the cabbage head, but it’s definitely worth it!
Estonian celebrity singer Elina Born cooked my lentil loaf with cabbage in this video clip and it came out perfect! I was holding my breath when she started to slice the loaf (you know how things with vegan meatloaves can be), but it was nicely firm. It’s also always a great idea to let it cool down a bit before you start to slice it. Another good thing about this recipe – the ingredient list is rather small. Usually vegan meatloaf recipes are super long, but not this time! Serve this wonderful vegan main dish with these crispy sesame garlic potatoes and this easy tomato cream sauce.
Preparation time: a bit over an hour
Serves: 10 large slices, baked in a 10 x 5 inch / 26 x 12 cm loaf pan
- medium cabbage head
- 1 cup / 200 g dried brown or green lentils
- ½ cup / 100 g uncooked regular white rice
- 1 – 2 Tbsp oil
- 1 large onion
- 2 heaping Tbsp corn starch
- 2 heaping Tbsp ground flax seeds or flax meal
- 1 ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp curry powder
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
Wash the cabbage head and try to cut and scrape out the root as much as possible. Put the cabbage head into a large pot, cover with water and boil for 10 – 15 minutes, until the leaves start to separate. Drain the cabbage and let it cool a bit. Boil lentils and rice together, until soft and even mushy (takes about 30 minutes). The mushier the better! Drain carefully. I poured the lentils and rice into a colander and then pushed the extra liquids out with a large wooden spoon. Put the lentils and rice into a bowl.
Preheat the oven to 400 F / 200 C. Heat up a pan and pour some oil in it. Add thinly chopped onions and a pinch of salt. Cook for a couple of minutes, until the onions are golden brown. Mix the onions into the lentil and rice mixture. Add all the other ingredients and stir very thoroughly. You should have a rather firm mass. If it’s really hot, let it cool down a bit.
Grease your loaf pan. Take the cabbage head and separate 5 – 6 leaves from it. Carefully remove the harder stems with a sharp knife. Make your hands wet and form a loaf out of the seasoned lentil and rice mixture. The loaf should fit into the loaf pan. Take 1 – 2 cabbage leaves, place the loaf onto them and wrap the leaves around it. Add more cabbage leaves on top and maybe even on the sides, if needed. The loaf should be entirely wrapped into the cabbage. But there shouldn’t be more than 1 – 2 layers of leaves on the loaf. Put the wrapped loaf into the loaf pan and bake it for 35 minutes. Then let it cool down a bit, before you start to slice it. It should be warm, but not hot. Carefully cut the edges open and take the loaf out. Slice and serve.