Planet-Based Christmas Recipe: Stuffed Cabbage Leaves

This recipe was created for WWF by the food blogger Nikoleta Kováčová, author of vegan recipes and cookbooks Slovegán.

There are many versions of stuffed cabbage leaves, but you probably haven't come across one like this before. The leaves usually conceal a variety of meats. But what if you want to lighten up your meat diet, help the planet, but still enjoy your beloved stuffed cabbage? Try this recipe, where meat is replaced by perfectly seasoned beans. Approximately 60 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture are caused by animal farming – so this recipe will be a good choice for you and our planet thanks to its protein content.

Scrow down to check out the right ingredients and the recipe itself.

Photo: Nikoleta Kováčová

Time: 90 minutes
Amount: 4 servings

Cabbage leaves:

  • 80 g of groat
  • 350 ml of water
  • 3 tablespoons of rapeseed oil
  • 270 g of white onions
  • 20 g of garlic
  • 100 g of cleaned carrots
  • 250 g of cooked/sterilized beans
  • 40 g of concentrated tomato puree
  • 1 tsp of smoked ground paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon of ground thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon of minced rosemary
  • 1 and ½ tsp of salt
  • ⅙ tsp of black pepper
  • 5 g of carrot/parsley
  • 1 head of cabbage


  • 2 tablespoons of rapeseed oil
  • 150 g of red onion
  • 150 g of cabbage
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 can of sliced tomatoes
  • 200 g of passata tomato sauce
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ tsp of salt
  • ⅙ tsp of black pepper
  • 200 g of water
  • 300 g of coconut cream

Cabbage leaves. Pour water over the washed groats and cook until soft. Cook them over a low heat. Depending on the size of the groat, it will take about 15 minutes for smaller and medium sized hail.

Meanwhile, fry the finely chopped onion in a frying pan with heated oil until golden. Add the grated garlic with the grated carrots and sauté for another 2 - 3 minutes. Wash your favorite beans under running water. I recommend the darker and red types of beans, which also replace the meat in appearance. Using your hand or a fork, mash it and add it to the carrots.

Stir everything together and top with tomato puree, smoked paprika, thyme, rosemary, salt, black pepper and chopped parsley.

Mash all the ingredients in the pan into a thick, sticky paste. Finally, stir in the cooked groats and the perfect filling is ready. In this way, you can easily replace meat in a meal not only taste-wise, but also nutritionally. We often forget about legumes and eat less of them than we should. You won't even realize you're just catching up on your healthy legume intake for the week.

Cut out the head from the cabbage. Bring it all to a boil in a pot of water. The outer leaves will soften after a few minutes of cooking. When this is done, take them out of the pot one at a time and stuff them with the bean filling. Trim the thickest part of the hard center from the leaves, fold the trimmed edge over the filling, fold the sides of the leaf under the filling and roll them up.

Sauce. When the cabbage leaves are ready, proceed with the tomato sauce. In the pot in which you cooked the cabbage, fry the finely chopped onion in the oil until golden. Add 150 g of finely chopped cabbage and garlic. Sauté for a while and add chopped tomatoes, puree, a sprig of rosemary, bay leaf, salt and black pepper.

Place the leaves in the sauce and cover with about 200 ml of water so that they are almost completely submerged. Cook them in this way on medium heat for about 20 minutes. Before serving, add sour coconut cream to the leaves, which is not only lactose-free, but also contains less fat.