Celebrating Ukrainian Vegan Food

We wanted to show our support for those suffering in Ukraine right now, by celebrating their traditional food, with a vegan slant to it. One dish which is common across central Europe and especially in Ukraine, and can easily be made vegan is Cabbage Rolls, known in Ukraine as Holubtsi. Cabbage is a common staple food, being readily available in that part of the world. It is also very nutritious, with high levels of fiber, folate and vitamin C, along with several minerals including calcium. While the traditional dish uses ground beef, this recipe replaces the beef with lentils, which are packed with protein and fiber, and avoid the saturated fat and cholesterol in beef.

Another common Ukrainian food is a traditional sausage. While there are many excellent brands of vegan sausages available in the store, we’ve found a recipe for you to make your own vegan sausages!

Brown Rice and Lentil Cabbage Rolls

Baked cabbage rolls

Recipe adapted from recipe by Kathryn Pfeffer-Scanlan

  • 1 large green cabbage, whole
  • 1 cup cooked green lentils (1/2 cup dried lentils)
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice (3/4 cup dried rice)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce, low-sodium (tamari if gluten-free)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste (Split between filling and tomato sauce)
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, no salt added
  • Crushed red pepper flakes to taste

Bring a large stock pot of water to boil. Cut out the core of the cabbage with a sharp knife. Place cabbage in pot and boil until leaves are tender and easily peel off (about 5-7 minutes). Turn off heat and carefully remove the cabbage and place on a cutting board. Pull the leaves apart (keeping them whole) and place on a paper towel lined surface.

While cabbage is boiling, heat a skillet on medium high heat with a little water, and sauté onions until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, dried herbs, and spices to the pan. Heat an additional minute or until fragrant. Remove from heat and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Stir in the cooked lentils and rice, and the dried fruit to the onion mixture. Stir in one tablespoon of tomato paste and soy sauce. Set aside.

To make the rolls, place one to two tablespoons of the mixture onto end of a cabbage leaf, tuck in the sides and gently roll, like a burrito.

In the same pan that made the onion mixture, add the can of tomatoes, tomato paste, and red pepper flakes. Heat on a medium heat. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer, about 10 minutes.

You can serve the cabbage rolls directly, with some sauce poured over, or, for a more authentic flavor, cover the base of a baking dish with some sauce, place the cabbage rolls on the sauce, cover with more sauce, and then cover the dish with foil. Bake for up to 2 hours at 350 degrees.

Homemade Vegan Sausages

Recipe created by Elinor Kugler

  • 2 Tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 cup of cooked chickpeas
  • 2/3 cup of diced onion
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon of tamari concentrate
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup of cold water
  • 1 Teaspoon of dried chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup of vital wheat gluten
  1. Bring 1/2 a pot of water to a boil, then lower the heat while we prepare our vegan sausages.
  2. Heat a saucepan on medium heat. Finely dice the onion, crush the garlic cloves then add them to the pan along with the olive oil. When the onion starts to sweat add the cooked chickpeas and give it all a good stir.
  3. Next, add the sea salt, black pepper, dry oregano, dried chili flakes, smoked paprika, and nutritional yeast, and stir well. Finally, add the tamari and take the pan off the heat.
  4. Transfer into a food processor and roughly blend with the cold water (see notes).
  5. Add the vital wheat gluten, mix until combined then knead for a minute.
  6. Next, divide your mixture into 6 balls and cut 6 baking paper squares, then place one ball on the baking paper square and shape it into a sausage.
  7. Next, roll your sausage and twist the ends like you would with a toffee wrapper, making sure the ends are tightly closed.
  8. Tightly arrange them inside a small pot and place a heat proof, glass bowl on top. This is done so they won’t move and fall apart when they cook.
  9. Fill the pot a 3/4 way full of the boiling water then lower the heat and let them simmer for 45-50 minutes.
  10. When ready, take them out of the water and carefully unwrap them. Heat a pan on medium heat, add a drizzle of olive oil and sear the sausages on all sides until they’re nicely colored. This will also help remove any excess water that the sausages might have soaked up while cooking.
  11. Serve your homemade vegan sausages in a bun, on their own, with a salad, sliced in a pasta sauce, or in a super duper whoppa sandwich! The choices are endless!