I initially shared this recipe almost 3 years ago. As my diet changed slightly, I thought it would be nice to refresh the post and be more in line with my views. I made this dish last week, as my husband said he fancies it. This is a vegan take on the Hungarian Rakott kelkaposzta, also known as Varza a la Cluj in Romania [translated it is Cluj-style Cabbage, Cluj being a city in Transylvania]. Rakott kelkaposzta means layers of cabbage and this is a good description of the dish as it’s made up with layers of cabbage and mince.
This dish is a traditional Hungarian recipe that was adopted in Romania, starting from the west of the country, as the name suggests. My mother used to make this with meat when I was a child. When I’ve started cooking, I used to make it with a mix of meat and soy mince, to make it less fatty and healthier. I made it many times vegetarian, only with soy mince and I like it as it is, even more than before. Now I make it vegan, without any eggs nor sour cream. It is just as delicious.
It can be made with fresh cabbage, frozen chopped cabbage, or sauerkraut. If you are using fresh cabbage, cook it in a bit of oil on a frying pan. It will release some water and the Rakott kelkaposzta will not be too watery. If you are using sauerkraut, then rinse it in running water if it’s too salty. If not, use it as it is. I served it with both vegan creme fresh and yoghurt and it works great.
There are, at least in UK, plenty of meat free mince, not all based on soya, so pick the one you enjoy best.
Rakott kelkaposzta. Ingredients for 6 servings:
– 1 big jar of sauerkraut
– 450g vegan mince
– 4 spoons oil
– 400g chopped tomatoes
– 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
– 1 tsp paprika
– 1 tsp basil
– 2 tsp parsley
– vegan creme fresh or yoghurt to serve
Pre heat the oven at 200C or 180C fan.
Drain one jar of sauerkraut. Rinse a bit with cold water and drain again. Oil the baking tray and tip half of the sauerkraut, press it in the baking tray.
In a bowl, mix the mince with the pepper, paprika, basil, and parsley. Using a sieve, drain the tomato juice from the chopped tomatoes. Tip the chopped tomatoes on top of the mince and mix with a spoon until all the ingredients are incorporated.
On top of the sauerkraut put the mince mixture and press it down with the spoon. Add the remaining cabbage on top. Press this layer with a spoon too and pour the tomato juice that was previously drained from the chopped tomatoes.
Put the casserole in the hot oven and bake for around 60-80 minutes. Turn the tray after 40 minutes if you don’t use a fan assisted oven.
Enjoy the Rakott kelkaposzta with some hot peppers if you fancy.