Stuffed Cabbage Rolls & Why Too Much Protein Can Be Unhealthy

March 8, 2013

cabbage rolls

Stuffed Vegan Cabbage Rolls

I am taking a course on plant-based nutrition, and yesterday we studied the historical reasons on why there is such a strong emphasis on animal protein. We also discussed the effects of too much animal protein in your diet.

The animal protein boom started in the 1800s. People wanted to eat animals because their physical prowess was such that people thought if they ate them they would get the same characteristics such as body size, strength and agility. Animal proteins were thought of as “higher quality”.

Later in the eighteenth century, with the development of modern chemistry, they discovered the most crucial function of protein is nitrogen, in addition to the 22 different types of amino acid in protein that the body needs to function properly. It was thought at the time that the higher BV (biological value) in animal protein was more efficient and contained amino acid profiles similar to humans.

Then in 1983 came the 20-year project called The China Study. The China Study was the one of the most challenging and most comprehensive studies ever undertaken on the relationship between diet and the risk of developing disease. In this study, they discovered the link between animal protein and cancer, and the dangers of eating too much protein.

In the 1940s, the RDA (recommended dietary allowances) recommended that 8-10% of total calories should be protein. An example of that would be a woman who weighs 132 lbs would need approximately 48 grams of protein. A man who weighs 160 lbs would need approximately 70 grams of protein.

Animal protein diets provide approximately 50% of protein. That is 40% more protein than you need. It has now been proven that all that extra protein turns on cancer growth. Even if you are genetically inclined for cancer growth, if you don't fertilize the infant cancer cells with animal protein, you won't develop the cancer.  In addition to pre-cancer growth, the extra protein is responsible for high cholesterol (leading to heart disease), arteriosclerosis, kidney stones, hip fractures and Type 1 Diabetes. You also have a 3 times higher risk of contracting Alzheimer's Disease.  Animal protein increases pre-cancer development even at 20% of dietary calories.

Also, if you worry about weight gain, due to the inability of the body to store excess protein, any surplus protein that is consumed is then converted into glucose in the liver and either used up as energy or stored as fat.

Plant proteins have the opposite effect. Plant based proteins can actually protect you from disease and in some cases, reverse disease. A plant-based diet with adequate amounts of different kinds of foods will naturally contain enough protein without the risk of disease. If you eat a balanced whole foods plant based diet, you will automatically meet 100% of your protein needs without doing anything significant.

A new health and diet paradigm in in our near future, but you don't have to wait for the government to tell you that eating too much animal protein is dangerous to your health. Start your plant-based diet now and live a long and healthy life for yourself, and your family. Be plant strong!

Now on to food. I love cabbage and I especially love cabbage rolls. Today I tried recreating an old recipe by using Field Roast vegan Italian sausages. Field Roast comes in a variety of flavors and they also make frankfurters. I like Field Roast because they keep their ingredients pretty simple and the Italian sausage's main ingredient is eggplant. Hope you enjoy these stuffed cabbage rolls as much as I did. Don't miss any of Ordinary Vegan's recipes by subscribing here free. Also, please join or community on Facebook. It is fun and full of wonderful, compassionate people like  you.

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls - Vegan
I like the vegan Field Roast sausages but you can use any vegan sausage brand.
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 4
  • 1 large savoy cabbage
  • 1¼ cup of cooked brown rice
  • 2 tbsp bread crumbs
  • 4 Field Roast Italian Sausages, casings removed (vegan sausage)
  • 2 small sprigs of sage, finely chopped (or powdered - approximately ½ tsp)
  • 1 sprig of rosemary, finely chopped (or dried - approximately ½ tsp)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 28-ounce can organic crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 2 small garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • ½ small onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
Prepare cabbage:
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
  2. Carefully peel 12 nice large leaves from the cabbage discarding any messy or broken ones. Work carefully but no big deal if a leaf tears.
  3. Blanch leaves for about 1 minutes until wilted, remove immediately and spread out on towels so that they dry and cool.
Make Filling:
  1. Crumble the sausage in a bowl.
  2. Add 1¼ cups of brown rice, bread crumbs, rosemary, sage and a pinch or two of salt and black pepper. Mix together with your hands.
Make the cabbage rolls:
  1. Lay your first cabbage leaf on the counter. Form some of the filling mixture on to the leave. Wrap the cabbage leave around it making a little package and pin at the top with a toothpick.
  2. Repeat with remaining leaves and mixture. I had to use extra toothpicks to hold them together.
Make the sauce:
  1. In a heavy dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. I used the same pan that I blanched the cabbage leaves. Just wiped it dry.
  2. Add the onions and saute until limp.
  3. Add garlic and saute for another minute.
  4. Add the tomatoes and basil. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Bring the sauce to a gentle boil.
  6. Carefully add cabbage packages, arranging them in the pan so they all fit, cover the pot and gently simmer them for 25 minutes.
  7. Carefully turn the rolls over, cooking them for another 15 minutes.
  8. Remove the lid and simmer for another 10 minutes to cook off some of the wetness. It will be hard not to dig in but if you can rest them for 5 minutes before eating them, the flavors settle and they become even better.






11 thoughts on “Stuffed Cabbage Rolls & Why Too Much Protein Can Be Unhealthy

  1. I have two questions! Can you use an alternate to the Dutch oven and can you replace Italian sausage with vegan (fake) sausage crumbles?

    1. Hi Rachael – yes you can use crumbled instead and a brand named field roast makes a good veggie sausage. I have slow cooked them in the past in a Dutch oven and it tasted yummy. I just wouldn’t over cook those faux meats. Happy Mew Year!

  2. Sounds delish and about to try this 🙂 Question though, where do the bread crumbs listed in the ingredients come into play? thanks!! OH and to those who question whether its vegan or not, the recipe calls for faux meat, not real meat 🙂

    1. Hi Michelle
      oops – see the problem with the bread crumbs and it is fixed. They should be mixed in the filling. Yes, all my recipes are vegan. Field Roast sausage is made from vegetables. I use the description faux meat a lot because it is not real meat, but I think it is a little confusing. Thanks for stopping by and for being part of our community!

    1. Hi Tracy – No I have never heard of it but it looks interesting especially for people just starting out with a plant-based diet. Good luck and keep us updated on how you like it if you decide to. If you have any interest in raw vegan, I would highly recommend Matthew Kenney’s online courses – he is a raw vegan master!

  3. just a note to those who prefer a different protein (non wheat meat, lower sodium etc..) in this recipe…
    substitute brown lentils
    substitute crumbled tofu-baked or fried.

  4. Pingback: Ordinary Vegan

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