Cabbage Rolls with Tempeh Portobello filling


Cabbage rolls are something that you would find in Germany as a typical dish, though usually filled with ground meat. I revisited this dish by filling the rolls with tempeh and portobellos instead.

I accompany the rolls with a creamy and rich saffron and onion sauce. As you may have noticed, I like using coconut milk. I like to use it especially when preparing sauces, because it naturally comes with a nice creamy and thick texture wanted in a sauce. That allows me to forego adding flour to sauces to make them thicker.

This dish might be meatless but is still hearty and satisfying, perfect for a nice winter meal. You can serve the cabbage rolls topped with sauce and with a side of long grain brown rice, for example. Alternatively, you could balance the richness of this dish with a generous side of cooked greens or a salad.

Cabbage Rolls with Tempeh Portobello filling, saffron and onion sauce

makes 9 Rolls


  • 1 white cabbage
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, medium dice
  • 1 package or 8 oz tempeh, steamed and crumbled
  • 3 medium portobello caps, medium dice
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • pinch pepper
  • 1 large garlic clove, pressed or minced
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 can (14 fl oz or 410 ml) coconut milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • generous pinch saffron


  1. Separate 9 leaves from the cabbage and wash them. Blanch and shock them in salted water for 1-2 minutes. On a cutting board, lay them flat and – with the knife’s blade turned and parallel to the board – gently trim the thickness of the stem; this will help with rolling later on.
  2. For the filling, heat up the olive oil, and sauté two thirds of the diced onions with a pinch of salt on medium heat until they start caramelizing. Set aside the rest of the onions for the sauce.
  3. Add the crumbled tempeh, the portobellos, salt, pepper and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the white wine vinegar and let cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add the coconut milk, mix and turn off the fire. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if needed.
  6. Filling the rolls: Take one cabbage leaf and put approximately 2 tablespoons of the filling in the center (you might need to put a little less or a little more depending on the size of your leaf). Fold up the side the closest  to you, then fold in the sides and finally roll it up tight while keeping a good grip on the sides. Fix it with a toothpick. Repeat with the remaining leaves.
  7. Making the sauce: In a small blender or spice grinder, purée the reserved onions from before. In a pan slowly heat up the rest of the coconut milk with half a teaspoon of salt, the saffron and the pureed onions. Let it simmer for a few minutes.
  8. Place the cabbage rolls into the pan with the sauce and allow them to heat up before serving.
Bon appetit


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