Here is yet another dish that must be 90% vegetables and is 100% taste. It’s vegetables, filled with vegetables, smothered in vegetables!
I made this one morning and my meat-loving, bachelor flatmate wandered into the lounge going “mmm, that smells good,” to which I laughed because he is not convinced that vegan food is tasty and yet he always thinks what I’m making is smells good.
I’m sure that these are quite Eastern-European, which means that they’re a good frugal food for those health-conscious on a budget.
Q: What’s the best frugal food you serve your family?
Serves 4-6, 15 minutes prep and 60 minutes cooking
10 cabbage leaves, I like sugarloaf cabbage
2 cups of cooked brown rice
½ a large onion
2 tomatoes, diced
Leftover cooked sweet potato
Seasoning – I like ‘tuscan’ seasoning, but use whatever you have on hand
Paprika (optional, but the flavour is good with sweet potato)
1 capsicum, diced
800 g can of diced tomatoes
Ah, have you seen that these ingredients are pretty much the same as the ingredients for sweet potato boats? That’s because I make a double batch of the filling, add some of the leftover sweet potato guts and then make a whole extra dish! Genius, eh?
The only ‘tricky’ part is preparing the cabbage leaves. You need to get them off the head more-or-less in one piece, slice off the thickest part so they can be rolled and soften them in some hot water. The outside layers are pretty easy to get off, but then it can be easier to dunk the rest of the head of cabbage in some very hot water to soften the leaves before taking them apart. Also, cabbages have a thicker section down the centre to the base, this needs to be thinned to make them easier to roll. Eventually you end up with a stack of softened cabbage leaves, around 10 is enough.
To prepare the filling, cut your onion into small slices, in a large bowl mix the onion and rice. If your rice is cold, heat it so that when you put it on top of the onion it helps cook it a little. Add your chosen seasonings and the tomatoes. If I have made sweet potato boats I add some of the leftover sweet potato guts to the rice for this dish, but this is optional.
For the sauce you could use a jar of pasta sauce, but I like a diced capsicum, a sprinkle of paprika (you can see why I buy spices by the pound!), and a large can of diced tomatoes.