I know I’ve been AWOL. But I’m about to make it up to you with my biggest culinary discovery in years, hear me out on this:
A couple Passovers ago, I was trying to be a good Jew and keep strictly kosher. According to Ashkenazi culture, that means no chametz (leavened grain-based products) OR kitniyot (beans, lentils, corn, rice, many seeds etc.) As a vegan whose body can’t get down with gluten very well, that left me with virtually nothing to eat. I was hungry and broke, so one evening I cut up a cabbage, sauteed it with salt, olive oil and a little vinegar and threw marinara sauce on it. I figured it would be sad and gross.
But I realized something: cooked cabbage makes for some pretty great vegan/paleo/gluten-free/Kosher for Passover/no-spiralizer-required/super-easy noodles. No joke. I still went back to eating kitniyot after a day or two, but the cabbage noodles were a game-changer.
By now, you’ve probably heard about the zucchini noodle (“zoodle”) craze. Aside from being a pain to spiralize, one main issue is that you can’t really cook zoodles without having them fall apart into mush. With cabbage noodles, you can cook them as long as you want and serve them with piping-hot sauces and they’ll still hold together perfectly. Plus, the flavor of cabbage noodles beats the flavor of zucchini noodles every time.
Here’s what you do:
- Cut up a small/medium green cabbage into long, thin strips (roughly the width of linguine)
- Heat up a large pot on medium-high with a little olive oil
- Throw in the cabbage with a teaspoon or so of salt, stir thoroughly, and let it cook for about 10 minutes (stirring occasionally)
- Add a splash of vinegar (white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar and balsamic all work well)
- Serve with your sauce of choice (puttanesca, bolognese, pesto, cashew alfredo OR pad thai sauce.) My favorite is a lentil-walnut bolognese (shown in the picture), and I’ll put the recipe for that below
Cooking the cabbage thoroughly with olive oil and salt gets rid of its sharpness and bitterness and gives it a warm, smooth flavor. The vinegar gives the flavor a boost and breaks the cabbage down further to aid with digestion. The texture remains al dente after being cooked rather than getting mushy, which is really nice (especially in comparison to all the mushy gluten-free noodles out there.) They’re even just as good re-heated.
Try it and tell me what you think. Regular pasta is great, but cabbage noodles have become a delicious regular addition to my dinner table.
Lentil-Walnut Bolognese Sauce
- 1 jar tomato-basil pasta sauce (make your own if you’re feeling ambitious)
- 1 cup green or brown lentils (or you can use 3 cups leftover cooked lentils)
- 1 bouillon cube or 2 tsp Better than Bouillon
- 1.5 cup walnuts, soaked for at least 2 hours or overnight
- 1.5 tsp chili powder
- 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tbsp tamari, soy sauce or liquid aminos
- 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce (the Kroger generic brand is vegan)
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
Note: If you don’t have one or a couple of the seasoning ingredients, it’s not the end of the world. Just season the filling with what you have until it’s nice and savory and you’re happy with it.
- In a small, covered pot, bring 2 cups of water to a boil with the lentils and bouillon. Lower heat to medium and cook, covered, until lentils are soft but not mushy (about 20 minutes.) Remove lentils from pot and allow to cool
- Drain and thoroughly rinse the walnuts, then pulse in a food processor until broken into small crumbles. Add the cooled lentils and pulse until crumbly as well
- In a large bowl, mix together the lentils, walnuts and all seasoning ingredients. Taste and adjust to your liking, then mix in the tomato sauce
Use just walnuts and no lentils, and/or add soaked sunflower seeds/soaked pumpkin seeds. Use coconut aminos instead of soy sauce
Substitute soaked sunflower seeds and/or pumpkin seeds for the walnuts
Use just lentils and no walnuts