Cabbage Rolls (Vegan)

Cabbage Rolls (Vegan)

To create this recipe I was inspired by the Lebanese-style cabbage rolls we all love to eat in Brazil which is made with rice and beef mince and is called “charutinho” or little cigars.

Actually I came up with the idea of making it vegan one day that I had a whole cabbage in the fridge and didn’t know what to do with it. Since I did not have mince that day and happened to have all the other ingredients I thought it would be a good option just to stuff the cabbage with rice, nuts, garlic and herbs.

Cabbage Rolls L7 CM (1 of 1)

I must confess I now prefer the meatless version. The dish is so light and healthy, almost addictive; in fact it became of a favourite week-night dinner of our household. This recipe is super easy just one little tip try to buy the best passata you possibly can and a good-quality extra-virgin olive oil to drizzle will certainly take the dish to the heavenly level.

Cabbage Rolls P3 CM (1 of 1)

Everyday I get more passionate about food photography; just as in cooking the possibilities to use your imagination are countless. It is spring here in Hobart and I decided to take do do an outdoor photo-shoot to match the dish with the season’s mood. It was a partially clouded and lazy afternoon. I enjoyed so much taking these photos and experimenting with different types of light. The sun was coming and going so it was great opportunity to practice food photography.  I started the shoot using the diffuser but, since the light was not too harsh, half way through I decided to get the 100% of the sun light through just to see what would happen.

It was not easy to style the food because cabbage rolls can look a bit weird on the plate. For this reason I played with the basil leaves to make the image more colourful and appetising.

Cabbage Rolls L6 CM (1 of 1)

Here are some photo steps on how to prepare the rolls.

Firstly remove the  hard stem of the leaf (just cut a triangle shape like the picture).

Cabbage Roll Instructions 1 (1 of 1)

Cabbage Roll Instructions 2 (1 of 1)







Place 1 tbs of the rice mixture next to the slot. Fold both sides and then roll firmly. Insert a toothpick to hold.

Cabbage Roll Instructions 3 (1 of 1)

Cabbage Roll Instructions 4 (1 of 1)


Cabbage Roll Instructions 5 (1 of 1)

`Cabbage Roll Instructions 6 (1 of 1)


Cabbage Roll Instructions 7 (1 of 1)

Cabbage Roll Instructions 8 (1 of 1)

The rolls must be placed very tightly onto the bottom of the pan:

Cabbage Roll Instructions 9 (1 of 1)

To accompany this melt-in-the-mouth meal here is another graceful Brazilian song with a flamenco flair by my uncle David Tavares called “San Francisco”. In Spanish, Paco is the short for Francisco and he written this song as a tribute to one of his idols and the greatest Flamenco guitarist of all time, the late Paco de Lucia.

San Francisco – David Tavares

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80g pine nuts

1 large cabbage head

3/4 cup long grain rice

1 large clove of garlic, crushed

1 tbs sweet paprika

½ bunch basil leaves, roughly chopped

4 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve

2 bay leaves

1 tsp ground chilli (optional)

500ml tomato passata

250ml water

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Pre-heat the oven 150°C. Roast the pine nuts for 5-8 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven.

2. Carefully cut the bottom of the cabbage and remove the leaves from the bottom up. Wash them well and boil or steam for about 5 minutes taking care not to overcook them. Remove from heat (drain if boiling) and set aside to cool.

3. While leaves are cooling, in a medium bowl mix rice, garlic, paprika, basil and the nuts. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. With a small knife cut the hard stem out of a cabbage leaf taking care not to damage the leaf (the more intact it is, the easier to roll). Repeat with other leaves.

5. Place one leaf onto a board, spoon about 1 tbs of the rice mixture right next to the bottom of the leaf. Fold both sides and then roll very tightly then insert a toothpick to hold. Repeat with remaining leaves until all rice is used. (Remaining cabbage leaves can be used in soups, stews, salads and fried rice).

6. In a medium saucepan over low-medium heat, heat the olive oil with the bay leaves. Carefully add the rolls leaving them very close together and in a single layer. Increase the heat to medium-high, pour tomato passata, add chilli powder (if using), water, salt and pepper and close the pan. As soon as it starts to boil, reduce the heat to low and cook for 45 minutes or until rice is soft and the sauce thickens. Drizzle with extra olive oil to serve.

Makes: 15 rolls


Receita em Português

Charutinho de Repolho (Receita Vegana)


80g pinole

1 cabeça de repolho

3/4 xícara de arroz branco

1 dente de alho grande amassado

1 colher de sopa de páprika

½ maço de folhas de manjericão, picadas

4 colheres de sopa de azeite de oliva extra- virgem , além de extras para servir

2 folhas de louro

1 colher de chá de pimenta calabresa (opcional)

500ml passata de tomate

250 ml de água

Sal e pimenta do reino

 Modo de Preparo 

1. Pré-aqueça o forno a 150°C. Asse os pinoles por 5-8 minutos ou até dourar. Retire do forno.

2. Corte cuidadosamente a parte inferior do repolho e retire as folhas de baixo para cima. Lave bem e ferva na água ou no vapor para cerca de 5 minutos, tendo o cuidado para não cozinhar demais. Retire as folhas (drene se tiver fervido na água) e deixe esfriar.

3. Enquanto folhas estão esfriando, em uma tigela misture o arroz, alho, páprica, manjericão e os pinoles. Tempere com sal e pimenta a gosto.

4. Usando uma faca pequena cortar o caule duro da folha de repolho tomando cuidado para não danificar a folha (quanto mais intactas as folhas estiverem, mais fácil fica de enrolar). Repita com outras folhas.

5. Coloque uma folha em uma tábua, coloque 1 colher de sopa da mistura de arroz próxima à parte inferior da folha. Dobre ambos os lados e, em seguida, enrole firmemente. Insira um palito para segurar. Repita com as folhas restantes até que todo o arroz seja usado. (As folhas que sobrarem podem ser usadas em sopas, guisados, saladas e arroz com legumes).

6. Em uma panela média sob fogo baixo, aqueça o azeite com as folhas de louro. Adicione cuidadosamente os charutos deixando-os bem próximos um do outro e em uma camada. Aumente o fogo para médio-alto, despeje a passata de tomate, adicione pimenta calabresa (se estiver usando), água, sal e pimenta e feche a panela. Assim que começar a ferver, reduza o fogo e cozinhe por 45 minutos ou até que o arroz fique macio e o molho engrosse. Regue com azeite de oliva para servir.

Rende: 15 charutinhos

  • Anupama

    this is amazing . true to the name of your blog, you bring so many amazing dishes which everyone can relish. these cabbage rolls would make such a great appetizer/meal and so healthy too!

    • GeorginaRibas

      Thanks dear Anu!

  • anupama (MGGK)

    Mmmmm, these rolls look divine my dear. Glad that you didn’t have any mince handy, so you could come out with this ah-mazing dish. I am loving all the awesome and delish flavors here. Can’t wait to try these. Have a great week ahead! 🙂

    • GeorginaRibas

      Hey Anu, it’s great I can make something you are able to try! Have a great weekend too!

  • Mira L

    These look gorgeous Georgina! My grandma makes cabbage rolls, but I only make them around the holidays! Love the flavors, can’t wait to try your recipe!

    • GeorginaRibas

      Thanks Mira, cabbage rolls made by grandma must be really good too! x

  • Shoshanna Lee

    These rolls look so inviting. Loved the filling (unique and nutritious). Yum! 🙂

    • GeorginaRibas

      Thanks so much Shoshanna, I appreciate the retweet too, you’re awesome! 🙂