This is an easy vegan and Asian take on Grandma’s popular stuffed cabbage rolls recipe! They’re loaded with healthy veggies, vegan minced meat, rice, and seasonings, then served with spicy sweet-sour sauce. Use savoy, white or Chinese napa cabbage to make these delicious veggie rolls that will surely be loved by vegans, vegetarians, and non-vegans alike!
Grandma’s Cabbage Rolls – A favorite family recipe!
My grandma was an amazing Polish chef and there was always something delicious to eat in her kitchen! Besides my beloved Pierogi, Cabbage Rolls is another dish I’ve been enjoying since my childhood. And the best thing – both dishes are easy to make vegan and still taste as delicious as the traditional family recipe!
What are cabbage rolls?
The polish name of this dish is Gołąbki and it’s made from steamed cabbage leaves which are wrapped around a filling of minced pork or beef, onions, and rice. Here in Germany, we say Kohlrouladen or Krautwickel to this dish but there are also other names and recipe variations, depending on the origin.
Cabbage rolls are not only common in many cuisines all over Europe but also in Western Asia and Northern China. There are so many ways you can stuff and serve these lately and I love trying new versions. Since I just love Asian flavors, I prepared this classic Polish dish in an Asian-inspired and vegan version which was a great twist!
Vegan Cabbage Rolls Asian-Style
To make this dish vegan I use sunflower mince instead of meat so it comes very close to traditional cabbage rolls. However, feel free to use any vegan minced meat alternative such as soy granules, crumbled tofu, packaged vegan ground beef, mashed beans, or lentils. You can also find more suggestions for vegan meat substitutes in my “vegan food guide“.
…. but now let’s start making this delicious recipe! As always I highly recommend checking out the following step-by-step guide first. Then find the make-ahead, storing, and freezing instructions below, followed by the full recipe with exact measurements in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.
How to make Vegan Cabbage Rolls
Step 1: Cook rice and prep vegan mince
Start by cooking the rice according to the package instruction. In the meantime, place the sunflower mince in a bowl and cover with hot vegetable broth. Allow to soak for 5-10 minutes. Then transfer to a fine-meshed strainer, drain well and squeeze out any excess liquid with your hands. (If you’re using ready-made vegan ground beef, you can skip this step.)
Step 2: Steam cabbage
Now bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add in the cabbage leaves and simmer for 2-3 minutes, until softened. After that, transfer them to a bowl of ice water to cool, then drain and pat dry. (If the cabbage rib is very thick and tough, you can pound it with a tenderizer to soften or trim it with a sharp knife, but be sure to leave the leaf intact).
Tip: I made vegan savoy cabbage rolls here, but you can also use white cabbage, Chinese napa cabbage, or even red cabbage if you like.
Step 3: Prep the filling
To make the veggie filling heat a bit of sesame oil in a pan or skillet. Add the spring onions, garlic cloves, ginger, carrots, and red bell pepper, and sauté until tender and slightly browned.
Once the rice is done cooking, add it to a bowl along with the prepared vegan mince, sautéed vegetables, and soy sauce and mix well to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then set aside.
Step 4: Wrap cabbage rolls
Now it’s time for wrapping! Start by placing a pre-cooked cabbage leaf on a wooden board or working surface. Add a few tablespoons of filling to it, depending on the size of your leaves, and roll it up like a burrito as shown in the step-by-step photos. Optionally, you can seal them with a toothpick or string to make sure they won’t open during cooking.
Continue this process with the rest of the cabbage leaves and filling, until everything is used up.
Step 5: Cook cabbage rolls
When you’re ready, place your cabbage rolls, seam side down, into a lightly greased skillet or baking dish. Drizzle with oil and bake covered for about 25 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes, or until the top starts to turn golden-brown.
Can I cook these on the stove?
Yes! You can fry the cabbage rolls in a large pan with hot oil for about 5 minutes, until golden-browned. Then pour in 1 1/2 cup of vegetable broth, and steam covered for about 20 minutes, or until they’re tender.
Finally, serve your cabbage rolls with sweet chili sauce or mushroom sauce, or other sauces you like. Garnish with spring onions, and sesame seeds, or your favorite toppings. Enjoy!
Can you make these ahead?
Since it takes a while to make this recipe, you can prepare cabbage rolls the night before and leave them in the fridge until ready to cook them the next day.
Can you freeze these?
Feel free to make a few extra stuffed cabbage rolls to enjoy later on. It’s best to freeze uncooked cabbage rolls separated from the sauce. That way the taste and texture of the cabbage rolls keep more preserved. To freeze them, simply place the rolls in a freezer-safe container or freezer bag, placing a piece of parchment between each roll for individual removal.
When you are ready to eat them, leave them to thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating. Then cook in the oven as instructed in the recipe card below.
How to store leftover cabbage rolls
Leftover cooked stuffed cabbage rolls can be kept in the fridge for up to 4 days. Just be sure to store them in an airtight container or ziplock bag. I recommend heating them in the oven so they reheat evenly but you can also warm them in the microwave to keep things easier.
These Asian-Style Vegan Stuffed Cabbage Rolls are:
- Simple yet delicious!
- Loaded with vegetables
- Easy to make ahead
- Perfect for freezing
- A great meal prep recipe
- Perfect for a cozy lunch or dinner in fall and winter!
Other favorite family recipes you might like
Looking for more savory recipes to serve your family and friends? Then be sure to check these out!
- Vegan Swedish Meatballs
- Lentil Balls in Indian Curry Sauce
- Vegan Lentil Meatloaf
- German Bread Dumplings
- Lentil Zucchini Lasagna
- Mexican One-Pot Pasta
- Mexican Tortilla Casserole
- Stuffed Sweet Potato Skins
- Peanut Sesame Noodles with Crispy Tofu
- Stuffed Gnocchi with Spinach Pesto
If you try these Asian-style vegan cabbage rolls, please leave me a comment below sharing how you liked this recipe! And if you take a picture of your savory dish and share it on Instagram, please tag me @biancazapatka and use the hashtag #biancazapatka to be sure I won’t miss your post! Happy cooking!
Asian Cabbage Rolls (Vegan)Author:
- 10 large savoy cabbage leaves or white or Chinese cabbage
- 1 cup dried short-grain rice makes 2 cups cooked rice
- 2.6 oz sunflower mince 76 g or soy granules (*see notes for options)
- 3 tbsp sesame or canola oil divided
- 3 spring onions finely sliced
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger grated (optional)
- 2 small carrots finely diced
- 1 red bell pepper finely diced
- 3 tbsp soy sauce or tamari, if gluten-free
- salt & black pepper to taste
*Note: Be sure to check out the step-by-step guide + tips in the blog post above!
- Cook the rice according to the package instruction. Set aside.
- Place the sunflower mince in a bowl and cover with hot vegetable broth. Allow to soak for 5-10 minutes. Then transfer to a fine-meshed sieve, drain well and squeeze out any excess liquid.
- In the meantime, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add in the cabbage leaves and simmer for 2-3 minutes, until softened. Transfer to a bowl of ice water to cool, then drain and pat dry. (If the cabbage rib is very thick and tough, pound it with a tenderizer to soften or trim it with a sharp knife, but leave the leaf intact).
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a pan or skillet. Add the spring onions, garlic cloves, ginger, carrots, and red bell pepper, and sauté until tender and slightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
- Add the cooked rice, prepared sunflower mince, sautéed vegetables, and soy sauce to a bowl and mix well to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
- Place a pre-cooked cabbage leaf on a wooden board or working surface. Add about ⅓ cup of filling to it, depending on the size of your leaves, and roll it up like a burrito as shown in the step-by-step photos above. Optionally, seal with a toothpick or string to make sure they won’t open during cooking. Continue this process with the rest of the cabbage leaves and filling, until everything is used up.
- Place the cabbage rolls, seam side down, into a lightly greased skillet or baking dish. Drizzle with oil and bake covered for about 25-30 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes, or until the top starts to turn golden-brown. (*See notes for stovetop method).
- Serve your cabbage rolls with sweet chili sauce (or another sauce, *see notes). Garnish with spring onions, and sesame seeds, or other toppings you like.
- Sauce: Skip the ginger in the recipe and serve your vegan cabbage rolls with creamy mushroom sauce or tomato sauce.
- Vegan Meat: Use any vegan mincemeat alternative you like such as soy granules, crumbled tofu, packaged vegan ground beef, mashed beans, or lentils. Find more suggestions in my "vegan food guide".
- Herbs/Spices: Feel free to add fresh herbs or more seasonings. Also, chopped nuts make a delicious addition!
- Stovetop: You can also fry the cabbage rolls in a large frying pan for about 5 minutes, until golden-browned. Then pour in 1 ½ cup of vegetable broth, and steam covered for about 20 minutes, or until tender.
- Read the blog post above for make-ahead, storing, and freezing instructions.
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