( MAKES 6 large dolma )
Photo by Tam West
Peeling the big outer leaves from a green cabbage recently, I wondered how to save them from going to waste. That plant put a lot of care into growing them and I wanted to show my appreciation. Once steamed they turned a beautiful deep green colour and dolma popped into my mind. They’re traditionally made with grape leaves stuffed with a rice or meat filling, and quite small. Cabbage leaves are big, more like a wrap, which led me to the idea of a lunch version. I had leftover rice in the fridge, and with a bit of jazzing up it turned into a tasty filling. A few spare canned beans added protein and fresh herbs from the garden were a perfect final touch. I had parsley and basil available: you could use oregano or rosemary just as happily.
|4 Tbsp||Olive oil|
|¼||Lemon, use the zest, very thinly sliced|
|2||Onions, sliced thinly|
|6||Garlic cloves, minced|
|½ tsp||Ground pepper|
|1 Tbsp||Smoked paprika|
|⅓ cup||Kalamata olives, chopped, about 20 olives|
|2 Tbsp||Juice from olive jar|
|1½ cups||Chopped tomatoes, or 1 cup canned|
|2 cups||Cooked brown rice|
|½ cup||Canned beans, cannellini or borlotti are good|
|¼ cup||Chopped parsley|
|8||Basil leaves, chopped|
|1||Green cabbage, use 6 of the outer leaves|
- Heat olive oil in a large pan then add lemon zest and let it sizzle for 15 seconds before adding onion, garlic and pepper. Turn heat down low and cook gently for 5 minutes until softened.
- Add smoked paprika and stir through, then add olives with their juice, tomato and salt. Cook another 5 minutes until tomato is soft and falling apart. Add rice, beans and herbs then cook another 5 minutes until fully heated through.
- Cut thickest pieces of stem from cabbage leaves then steam in a big pot for 5 minutes until softened.
- Lay cabbage leaves on a board and divide rice mixture evenly between them, then wrap each leaf with the veins on a slight diagonal so they are easy to roll into a tight bundle.
- Serve handheld as a lunchbox meal. You could also serve them for dinner on a bed of fresh tomato sauce with some (vegan!) cheese grilled on top.