In my family, the holiday season has always been about family and feast. Growing up, preparation baking began in early November. Slowly the freezer would start to fill full of seasonal goodies. Every year a large batch of cabbage rolls is prepared. As our family grew and united with other families, so did the number of dishes brought out during the holidays. It started with Dad’s famous stuffing, now if we are all together we can have up to 4 different special stuffing preparations! This way each cook prepares a recipe that is important to them, and we honor that. The last year that I visited home for the holidays we had three different types of cabbage rolls. The more the merrier in our house. Leftovers are a huge part of our tradition. This includes sandwiches, comforting soup broths and a dish my Dad called “Bubble and Squeak.” Bubble and Squeak was a way my dad would use up all the leftover potato and vegetables. We usually ate Bubble and Squeak at a big brunch the day after a feast. Typically it is fried or baked leftover mashed potatoes combined with cabbage, Brussels sprouts and any other leftover vegetable. The name comes from the sounds it makes while it is cooking.
Preparing food for someone is an act of love. It can also be a way to honour family tradition or someone you want to remember. This year in our home we will celebrate the ones we cannot be with, by creating some of their favorite recipes. We are looking forward to a video call planned with Mom in which we will virtually bake a recipe together.
Maybe this is the year to give Grandma a call and get the family recipe. Maybe this is the year to pass the secret down to a loved one. Happy Holidays.
Dionne’s Dad’s Lentil Cabbage Rolls
1 large onion
1 398ml can brown lentils (drained and rinsed)
2 garlic cloves
1 cup cooked brown rice (or preferred grain of choice)
½ cup grated carrot (optional)
1 398ml can of tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
Prepare rice, or preferred grain of choice. Set aside.
Sautée onion and garlic until translucent.
Add lentils, tomato sauce and seasoning to a pan. Simmer mixture over medium low heat for approximately 10 minutes.
Stir in rice and cover. Let simmer on low heat for 10 minutes then add shredded carrot and set aside.
Prepare cabbage by coring then add to boiling water until leaves are ready to pull off. (Consistency should be soft enough to roll, but not fully cooked)
When leaves are cool enough to work with you can begin to stuff them. Place approximately ¼ cup of mixture (will vary pending on the size of the cabbage leaves) Fold in the sides, then roll up tightly.
If freezing, individually store in an airtight container. It can also be frozen ready to go in a casserole style dish. If freezing, you can layer any leftover cabbage leaves on top and cover with your desired amount of tomato paste. *do not add tomato paste if freezing individually.
To cook. (Dethaw if cooking from frozen) Preheat the oven to 325. Cover the cabbage rolls with approximately 2tbsp of tomato paste and 1 cup or so of tomato sauce. Bake for approximately 4 hours. Enjoy.
Dionne is a Nutrition Consultant at our Abbotsford location!