Vegan Mediterranean Cabbage Rolls

Favourites, Gluten-Free, Main dishes, Vegan

Vegan Mediterranean Cabbage Rolls

Montreal got a big snow storm yesterday – the first “real” storm of the season. A few hours in, Jason and I got excited and we (almost seriously) considered to cross-country ski through the snow-covered streets of downtown. We took our skiing gear out of storage last week and both of us are getting antsy to use it. In the end, we settled on going out for a walk in the early hours of Sunday. It was beautiful, deserted and freezing.

One last workweek until the holidays! Are you excited? I can hardly wait for some time off with family and friends. And there is so much cooking I want to do. My inspiration is running wild these days.

If you’re planning a vegetarian or a vegan celebration, may I suggest that you consider these mediterranean cabbage rolls stuffed with goodness like quinoa, lentils, kale and kalamata olives? I promise they won’t let you down. Stay warm and have a good week!

Vegan Mediterranean Cabbage Rolls

Cabbage Rolls:

  • 1 head of green cabbage
  • 1/2 cup dry lentils
  • 1/2 cup dry quinoa
  • 1/3 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
  • 2-3 kale leaves, de-stemmed and chopped (or other greens such as swiss chard)
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 12 toothpicks

Tomato Sauce:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large can diced or crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp ground oregano
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp raw sugar


For the filling: Cook the quinoa and lentils according to package instructions. When cooked, transfer to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add the olives, kale, red onion and parsley. Toss to combine.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil with the red wine vinegar, smoked paprika, minced garlic and salt. Pour over the quinoa-lentil salad and toss to combine. Season with pepper, to taste. Set aside.


For the cabbage: Bring water to boil in a large pot. Cut the bottom of the cabbage off and place it stem side down in boiling water. Cook for five minutes. Remove from the water, and peel off the softened outer cabbage leaves. Return to boiling water and repeat until you have 12 leaves. Set aside.

For the tomato sauce: Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sauté the garlic and onion for a few minutes, until tender. Add the tomatoes*, tomato paste, herbs (oregano, thyme, bay leaf), red wine vinegar, raw sugar and season with salt & pepper, to taste.

Note: If using diced tomatoes, purée half (or all) of it prior to adding it to the saucepan, for a smoother sauce.

Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Discard bay leaf and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375F.

To assemble the rolls: Place a heaping 1/4 cup of the quinoa-lentil salad at the bottom of each cabbage leaf.

Vegan Mediterranean Cabbage Rolls

Roll up the bottom of the leaf over the stuffing. Fold in the left and right sides, then roll over. Fasten with a toothpick. Visual folding instructions here.

Vegan Mediterranean Cabbage Rolls

For the casserole: Add a thin layer of the tomato sauce at the bottom of a rectangular baking dish. Place cabbage rolls over the sauce as you roll them. Pour the remainder of the sauce over the rolls.

Vegan Mediterranean Cabbage Rolls

Bake in preheated oven, covered, for 50 to 60 minutes or until the cabbage is tender.


Remove toothpicks, and serve with kalamata olives. Devour!


Serves 4-6.

Recipe loosely inspired by Alive Magazine.