This was definitely out of my comfort zone. I’ve never made stuffed cabbage before, let alone vegan stuffed cabbage. The photo from the recipe page from Vegan Yack Attack was so enticing though, I really wanted to try it.
I grew up having my mom’s Polish stuffed cabbage and enjoyed it and all of it’s juicy beefy goodness. I knew this recipe was not meat, but the photo still made my mouth water. But it was hard to tell if it looked good because I was reminiscing the beef stuffed cabbage, or if the idea of a meatless stuffed cabbage sounded just as good.
This dish required the most effort this week by far. But I think regular stuffed cabbage is pretty labor intensive too.
This also involved an introduction to a new ingredient called, TVP: Textured Vegetable Protein. I’m still not sure exactly what it is, but it looked like a grain of some sort.
So after a lot of prep, soaking, mixing, boiling, wrapping, and baking, it was time for the moment of truth. The first bite.
I was amazed at the texture. It was not mushy like a bean and lentil burger is, like how I expected. It really did have a texture of a really fine ground beef. But the flavor, I really don’t know how to describe it. To be honest, I’m still thinking about it. It’s a unique flavor that my brain can’t relate to anything else. It reminds me of how I felt the first time I tried some of Aya’s Japanese food for the first time. I never tasted anything like that before and had no previous experience to compare it to. But over time, those foods have become some of my favorites.
Our overall impression was that this was really good. Good enough that we are excited to have it again. We were even thinking this “meat” mixture could be used to make burritos or tacos too.
I do think that if I completely gave up meat, this would definitely satisfy any craving I’d have for eating Polish stuffed cabbage. However, I’m not sure I’d want to eat these meat substitutes and TVP on a regular basis. But just as the vegan mac and cheese, we are definitely glad we tried this!