Cooking with Cait: Stuffed Cabbage

cooking with cait

Caitlin Denton, 128 YinD

“Food is Fuel”

While growing up, the phrase “Food is Fuel” was on television, signs in my school cafeteria, and throughout the health section of my teeny-bopper magazines. I knew what it meant, that was simple enough to understand. Food fuels our bodies. However, I don’t believe I ever really understood how important this phrase was and the impact it could have on my life until I was studying at university. The meals we eat control the way our brain and body work, this has never been more evident in my life than now. Between the heat, the stress of working, living in a completely different culture, and the physical requirements to even get to one of my schools, my energy was being rapidly zapped out of me every day. Exhausted beyond belief, I would opt to purchase lunch or dinner rather than go home and take the time to cook a meal. My energy levels would drop significantly the days I chose to stuff my body with Pad Thai from the local shop versus the days I made a balanced meal with barely any oil, salt or sugar. When I cook whole grains, proteins, and fresh veggies for a meal it allows me to think clearly and sustains my energy throughout the day. As I have learned, as a PCV energy is precious. I know cooking can sound like a daunting or exhausting task in itself, but it is all about the mindset. When you prepare and dig into a delicious and well-balanced meal day after day you are sure to feel an energy shift. So I dare you, blast some music, a podcast, or movie and get cooking!

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Stuffed Cabbage

Ingredients Stuffing

  • 1 small cabbage
  • 1/2 c. cooked black beans
  • 1/2 c. cooked rice (I prefer rice berry)
  • 1/2 small onion chopped,
  • 2 big peppers chopped (seeds removed)
  • 1/2 carrot diced
  • 2 tomatoes diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1.5 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • Pinch of salt

Ingredients Sauce

  • 1/8 wedge pumpkin steamed
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 1/4 c. broth (bullion cube dissolved in hot water)
  • 2 shallots
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. Oil (Olive is best)
  • 1/2 Tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 Tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. all spice
  • Pinch of salt


  • Cilantro and green onion to garnish

*For non-vegetarian version, ground pork or shredded chicken would be the best options.


Cook rice and black beans ahead of time. Use steaming tray on rice cooker to steam pumpkin. Set aside.

Cut the core of the cabbage and emerge in a pot of hot water. Let boil 2-4 minutes to soften. You want the leaves soft enough to be able to roll without tearing. Separate the leaves keeping them whole and set aside.

In a frying pan on medium heat, sauté the vegetables for stuffing with the seasonings. Be careful to not overcook them or they will become mushy. Set aside.

In a blender combine the pumpkin, tomatoes, broth, shallots, garlic, and seasonings and blend until smooth. Set aside.

Take a cabbage leaf and spoon rice, beans, (*meat of choice), and vegetable mix. Pinch the sides and roll like you would roll a burrito. Repeat until all cabbage leaves are stuffed. Pour a bit of the sauce (blender mix) into the frying pan on the lowest heat possible and place the cabbage rolls in like you’re playing Tetris. Pour the rest of the sauce on top and let simmer until the sauce thickens and bubbles becoming a deep red-orange color.

Plate and garnish with cilantro and green onion. Enjoy!

*Artwork by Pakou Khang, 128 TCCS. Check out Pakou’s blog Color Me Thailand.

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