Times have changed! I remember when there was a time I couldn’t stand the smell of cooked cabbage. Cabbage casserole is a very traditional Finnish dish and it’s usually made with rice and minced meat. They served it sometimes at school lunch and I was forced to have it when staying with friends etc. and I remember how just the thought of cooked cabbage would make me pull a face and the smell of it would literally make my stomach turn.
But not anymore. This cabbage lentil casserole is my vegetarian take on the traditional dish and as per the tradition, it is made with simple ingredients which you can really taste in the dish. It’s funny how the smells and the tastes that used to make me feel sick are now something that I truly enjoy, and occasionally have a massive craving for too.
Anyways, this dish takes me back to my home country and I think the recipe is so good that I could make this vegetarian cabbage lentil casserole to any of my Finnish guests too. I would say it’s a modernized version of the traditional dish but it still maintains the simplicity of Nordic cooking with a focus on a few basic ingredients.
I’m sure this would taste even better with some lingonberry jam on the side but due to the lack of lingonberries here in London we are having it as is today.
So if you want to give Nordic cooking a go then try this simple recipe. It might not look fancy BUT it sure is tasty J
- 1 white cabbage (800g-1kg)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp agave syrup
- 1 yellow onion
- 2 carrots
- 250g chestnut mushrooms
- 200g green lentils
- 1 vegetable stock cube + 500ml water
- 2 tsp rosemary
- 2 tsp thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and black pepper
- Slice the cabbage and chop the yellow onion, carrots and mushrooms
- In a large pan, warm 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat and add the cabbage. Cook for about 5 minutes so that the cabbage softens and season with 1 tbsp agave syrup. Then put aside
- Rinse the pan and then warm 1 tbsp of olive oil again over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and carrot and cook for about 5 minutes
- Then add the mushrooms and continue to cook for 5 minutes, until the mushrooms have released their liquid. Add some salt and black pepper
- Prepare a vegetable stock by dissolving a vegetable stock cube in 500ml boiling water
- Add the vegetable stock together with the dried herbs into the vegetable mixture and bring to boil
- Stir in the lentils and then reduce the heat to simmer. Cook the lentils for about 10 minutes
- Taste the mixture and adjust seasoning if required
- Preheat the oven to 200C
- Mix the cabbages with the lentil mixture and add to an oven proof casserole dish
- Bake for about 45-60 minutes. If the top starts to burn/turn too dark then cover the dish with a foil cooking paper while baking
- Remove from the oven and let cool for a couple of minutes before serving