Asian Cabbage Rolls with Spicy Lentils (Vegan)

Ingredients Serves 4 to 6

  • 1 large head of cabbage (green, Napa, radiccio, whatever!)
  • 1/4 lb. mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 2 c. cooked French green lentils
  • 1 c. cooked brown rice
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1/2- to 1-inch ginger, grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated
  • black pepper
  • 4 green onions (scallions), chopped
  • 1 c. cilantro, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. sesame seeds



  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Remove 12 large outer leaves from the heads of cabbage. Remove the core, and chop remaining cabbage leaves very finely.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the chopped cabbage, mushrooms, lentils, rice, sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, a generous sprinkling of black pepper, scallions, and cilantro.
  4. Lay a cabbage leaf down with the cup side up and stem side closest to you. Scoop enough of the lentil-veggies mixture into the stem end of the cabbage leaf, filling the cabbage cup about 2/3 to 3/4 of the way. If you can, fold the sides in, roll up the leaf, and place the roll (seam side down) in a large baking dish (Using regular green cabbage, and not the napa cabbage, I wasn’t able to do this as neatly and successfully as Ms. Durand, but it worked out fine). Repeat with remaining cabbage leaves and lentil-veggies mixture, placing approximately 2 rows (containing 6 rolls each) in the dish. Tuck leftover mixture (if any) between the cabbage rolls to bake with them, or reserve for mixing with some lettuce (or eating as a salad on its own).
  5. Pour Asian Sauce evenly over the rolls. Do ahead: Rolls can be prepared up to this point, then covered and refrigerated for up to 24 hours. If you prefer to freeze this dish, place it in the freezer before adding the Asian Sauce to allow rolls to freeze completely; then remove from dish, and stack in freezer bag. To bake, thaw the frozen rolls in the refrigerator overnight, transfer to a baking dish, pour the sauce over them, and bake as directed below.
  6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Serve hot, with any pan drippings drizzled over the rolls.

Asian Sauce

This was definitely enough sauce to flavor the rolls. However, there was not much left in the way of “pan juices,” so if you happen to want pan juices to drizzle over the rolls, double the recipe below.

  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar (I used white wine vinegar)
  • 1/3 c. broth (veggie, bean, chicken, or water)
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. hot Asian chili sauce (sriracha or sambal oelek)

Whisk all ingredients in small bowl until sugar has dissolved completely.


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