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Vegetarian Times asked four of our favorite plant-based chefs, cookbook authors, and general food geniuses to share the recipes they would serve for a Thanksgiving or holiday meal – and to offer some thoughts about food, cooking, and traditions. This recipe for vegan cabbage rolls with red wine sauce comes from Miyoko Schinner, author and founder of Miyoko’s Creamery.
For me the heart of Thanksgiving is celebrating with family, friends, and the staff and volunteers at the Rancho Compasión farmed animal sanctuary. We always make a feast of delicious fresh foods, hot rolls with vegan butter, and my famous ‘unturkey.’ Last year, we started a great new tradition at the sanctuary: THANKSLIVING! We made big holiday platters filled with berries, greens, veggies, fruit, and grains and we served to the animals. Fred and Ginger, our resident turkeys, were the featured guests! – Miyoko Schinner
Miyoko Schinner’s Chestnut Filled Cabbage Rolls with Red Wine Sauce
If using fresh, whole chestnuts, boil them for 20 to 30 minutes and allow to cool enough to handle before removing them from their shells. I find the whole job goes much faster if the flat side of the chestnut is simply sliced off with a small, sharp knife, then the meat scooped out with a small spoon. The chestnuts do not have to come out whole as they will be chopped up anyway. Remove any inner brown skin that comes out, since it can be bitter. Chop the chestnuts roughly.
If you are using canned or bottled chestnuts, simply drain, rinse, and chop up roughly. Some brands are already chopped.
Core the cabbage with a sharp knife, then remove the outer 12 to 16 leaves. Shred the rest of the cabbage. Steam or microwave the outer leaves until tender, but not overly soft – they should be pliable, not mushy.
Heat the oil in a pan and sauté the onion and shredded cabbage until soft and reduced in volume. Place in a bowl with the chopped chestnuts and brown rice.
Make a thick white sauce by melting the vegan butter in a small saucepan, adding the flour, and cooking a minute. Then add the hot soy milk, stirring with a whisk. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until very thick. Flavor to taste with salt and pepper.
Add the sauce to the cabbage and chestnuts, along with the dill seeds, allspice, and nutmeg. Mix well, adjusting the seasonings as desired. (The flavor of the dill will be released during the cooking.)
To stuff the cabbage leaves, take one leaf at a time and place it in front of you with the outside of the leaf facing up. With a small, sharp knife, slice off the hard rib that forms a bump. Turn the leaf over and place about 1/3 cup of the mixture at the bottom of the leaf over the rib. Fold the right and left sides over, then roll up tightly. Secure with a toothpick or piece of thread if the rolls won’t fit absolutely snug in the pan.
Place the rolls loose side down in a deep frying pan or Dutch oven. Mix the ingredients for the red wine sauce and pour it over the rolls. Top with a tight-fitting lid and cook over low heat for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the sauce has been reduced to a thick glaze.