Today Linda LaRue, creative director of AmericanFitnessCouture.com, is sharing one of her favorite Purim recipes for stuffed cabbage. And, surprise, it’s vegan! Check out all of Linda’s great posts here.
According to the Book of Esther from somewhere between 400 to 600 B.C., Haman, an evil prejudiced man who was royal vizier to King Ahasuerus (presumed to be Xerxes I of Persia), plotted to kill all the Jews in the empire. However, a wise and cunning man named Mordecai and his daughter Esther, who had risen to become Queen of Persia, foiled his hateful plans. Purim is the official religious holiday that celebrates and commemorates this ancient event that saved the Jews of long-ago Persia. It is celebrated by a day of feasting, drinking and rejoicing.
Purim is held every year around this time. Its observances include giving gifts of money to the poor, sending home-cooked food to friends, and eating a large family dinner with plenty of alcohol, which is atypical of other Jewish holidays.
Traditional foods for Purim include pastries, such as hamantashen (sweet) and kreplach (savory). Both have fillings that allude to the “hidden” nature of the Purim miracle. (Some say the three-pointed hamantashen is modeled after Haman’s three-pointed hat that he wore as royal vizier.)
Traditional Jewish entrees, such as brisket, roasted chicken and stuffed cabbage are customarily served during the evening celebratory dinner. Here’s my healthier, vegan version that substitutes savory cabbage and lentils, which is a superfood due to its high protein content.
- 4 cups water
- ¾ cup green lentils
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium size savoy cabbage (2 pounds)
- 1 pound baby portobello mushrooms, finely chopped
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon dried rubbed sage
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon salt, divided
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper plus ¼ teaspoon, divided
- ½ cup red wine
- ¼ cup dried currants
- ⅓ cup toasted pine nuts, chopped
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon marjoram
- ⅛ teaspoon allspice
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 28-ounce can of no-salt-added crushed tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
- ½ cup red wine
- Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add lentils and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil. Add sage, cumin, ½ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain any remaining liquid.
- Bring a separate large pot of water to a boil. Blanch cabbage leaves for 5 to 6 minutes, or until tender. Rinse under cold water and drain.
- Mash half of lentil mixture in bowl. Stir in remaining lentils, currants, olives and pine nuts, then place aside.
- In a separate saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic, and cook 30 seconds. Add can of tomato, ½ cup water, cumin, marjoram, allspice, salt and pepper. Reduce heat from low to simmer, cover with lid, and cook for 30 minutes.
- Lay one cabbage leaf on work surface. Next, spoon ¼ cup lentil mixture onto the base of the stem of the leaf and fold the sides inward rolling it into a tight “eggroll” shape. Place seam side down in 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Repeat with remaining leaves and filling. Pour remaining sauce over rolls; cover with foil. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, basting rolls with sauce at least twice.
What are you making for Purim? —Linda LaRue