Thursday, January 23, 2014

Contemporizing my Roots: Gołąbki Bez Mięsa...aka Vegetarian Cabbage Rolls

A good portion of my heritage is indeed polish. My great grandfather (whom everyone called Dziadziu) was the first member of our polish family to emigrate to the states. Crazily enough, him and his siblings started a brand new and successful life in Chicopee, MA, and he even wound up becoming the mayor after living there for a while! Talk about living the American dream. But, I must admit that I have never really made too much of an effort to explore that many Polish cultural aspects, especially food, but I think with good reason as most of Poland's dishes incorporate some sort of meat, blood, marrow, etc (see: kielbasa, blood soup, pyrogies filled with all kinds of meat, and more).  But one thing that I have been wanting to try for a while now that I knew I could easily vegetarianize is simply cabbage rolls, or "Gołąbki" as they are known in Polish.

Really I'm not sure if my Dziadziu would be so proud of me because I kind of made this recipe "un-Polish", but it still has the basic idea. Instead of the normal meat and rice filling, I used a base of lentils, mushrooms and ricotta, 3 things that work very well together to create a creamy, earthy delicious taste. After rolling the filling into the cabbage leaves, I smothered it in a kind of "every vegetable in the fridge" spicy tomato sauce, though you can certainly make whatever kind of tomato sauce you like.  I'd almost venture to call them the "lazy, health-conscious person's ravioli". All in all, these guys are quite tasty and very healthy, so give 'em a shot!