Mushroom & thyme stuffed spring green cabbage hearts and pickled rainbow carrot salad

We get it, stuffed peppers are amazing. But when’s the last time you’ve stuffed spring green cabbage?

Thanks to Toby for this clever recipe for stuffed spring green cabbage, served with a fresh rainbow salad. An amazing dish to get you out of your cooking comfort zone - and impress your friends and family with this stunning vegan main.



Stuffed cabbage:

  • 1 large spring green cabbage, washed and leaves picked (reserve the cooking water for the sauce)

  • 200g brown rice (boiled)

  • 1 tbsp olive/coconut oil

  • white cupped mushrooms, roughly diced

  • leeks, topped and tailed, cut in half vertically then thinly sliced

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 50g pine nuts (lightly toasted)

  • 1 tsp fennel seeds

  • ½ tsp mustard seeds

  • ½ tsp coriander seeds

  • 2 tsp dried thyme

  • sea salt and ground black pepper to taste

Tomato & Smoked Paprika Sauce:

  • 1 tbsp olive/coconut oil

  • ½  chopped pink onion finely diced (save other ½ for the pickles)

  • ½  tsp smoked paprika

  • ½ sweet paprika

  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes

  • 1 garlic clove crushed

  • 200 ml cabbage water

  • 1 handful of curly leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Pickled Rainbow Carrot Salad

  • 2 large rainbow carrots (different colours)

  • ½ pink onion sliced thinly, lengthways

  • 1 tsp mustard seeds

  • 1 tsp coriander seeds

  • 1 tsp fennel seeds

  • 2 tbsp maple syrup

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 200 ml cold water

  • 200ml apple cider vinegar


  • Make the salad: Place the pickling spices, cold water, vinegar and maple syrup in a pan and bring to the boil. Using a peeler, cut the carrots lengthwise and mix with the onion in a heat proof, non-metallic dish. Pour the boiling liquid and leave to cool for 30 mins then put in fridge until everything else is ready.

  • Make the stuffed cabbage hearts: Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Place cabbage leaves in salted boiling water for 5 mins. Remove cabbage leaves and put them straight into iced water to stop cooking and retain a vibrant colour. Take out the leaves and pat dry. Gently fry the leeks in oil for 5 mins. Add the mushrooms and all the spices and herbs and stir whilst cooking for further 5 mins. Add the rice and pine nuts to the mushrooms, season to taste. Mix thoroughly and remove from heat. Lay the cabbage leaves on a chopping board, flat side facing up and trim off any thick pieces of stem at the bottom of the leaves. Place a heaped tbsp of rice mix in the middle of the leaf, tuck in the ends and roll tightly like a wrap, then place in casserole dish. Continue to roll all the leaves.

  • Make the sauce: Make the sauce by softening the onion and garlic in oil for 5 mins until soft, then stir in the paprika. Stir in the cabbage water and the tomatoes and bring to the boil. Sprinkle parsley and a pinch of fennel seeds over the stuffed leaves and pour over the sauce. Cook in the top of the oven for 25 mins.

  • Serve: Take the pickle out of its liquid and mix with fresh herbs to serve alongside some grilled aubergine.


Thanks to Toby for the recipe!

Toby Wood, founder of Four and Twenty Blackbirds is a self-taught chef, consultant and champion of all things British and sustainable.

How long have you been cooking? Although Toby has been running food operations for over ten years, he has loved cooking since he was a little boy, once caught by his grandmother propped up on a stool frying digestive biscuits.

Cooking style: Fresh, local and responsibly sourced ingredients, cooked simply to show off their true colours.

Favourite cooking method: Cooking with fire whether it be quick grilled or slow cooked in the embers.

Favourite vegetable? List of favourite veg changes as often as my top 5 film and albums, but earthy leeks and wild mushrooms always make the cut!

If you want to find out more about Toby and his cooking, you can follow him here.


MainsOddbox Team