Cabbage Gratin with Tempeh Bacon does the “freegan” thing

Savoy cabbage gratin with tempeh bacon

My menu plan this week included a Savoy cabbage gratin, accompanied by a photo but no recipe. I made the gratin starting with a recipe from Deborah Madison’s veggie cooking bible, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. I initially didn’t post the recipe for two reasons: one, because I try not to post too many recipes from a single cookbook, to encourage people to buy the cookbooks I love; and two, because this was a strange little “in-between” recipe, not quite vegan but not quite full-blown eggs-and-dairy.

However I got a couple of requests for the recipe almost as soon as it went up, so I checked around and the original recipe for the gratin is already posted online. So the cat is out of the bag, as it were, and I’ll post my annotated version here. The recipe is just a step away from veganization, and hopefully my notes on the changes that did work will help someone take it that final step. I’m even tagging it as vegan because I feel sure that an experienced vegan cook could take this gratin to vegan-recipe paradise without a second thought.

Why not entirely vegan? Well, last week Duck and my families had a lovely Chanukah party that included sour cream for the potato latkes. Nobody wanted to take home the sour cream, so under the rules of “freegan” eating (if it’s destined for the trash we may as well eat it, at least in terms of our environmental/animal welfare/consumer impact) I brought it back with me. And when I was looking for something simple to do with one of my two Savoy cabbages I decided a gratin would be a good place to use some of the sour cream.

Nearly Vegan Cabbage Gratin with Tempeh Bacon
Below I give you the original recipe with my changes and notes in italics

Butter and freshly grated Parmesan for the dish (I used Earth Balance and nutritional yeast flakes)
1 1/2 pounds cabbage diced into 2 inch squares (I used one large Savoy cabbage)
1/3 cup flour (I used Pamela’s GF baking mix, which contains leavening and xanthan gum)
1 cup milk (I used hemp milk)
1/4 cup creme fraiche or cream (I used the sour cream)
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
3 eggs (I used Energ-G egg replacer equiv. to 3 eggs)
3 T. minced parsley
salt and pepper
4 strips of tempeh bacon
Other possible additions: mustard, other cheeses, fresh dill, caraway seeds

Preheat the oven to 375.

Butter a gratin dish and coat the sides with nutritional yeast/parmesan.

Boil cabbage for 5 minutes in salted water (or steam in a steamer basket for ~8-10 minutes to preserve nutrients).

While the cabbage is cooking, pan-fry the tempeh bacon in a pan with a little olive oil until the bacon is brown and a bit crisp. Cut bacon into small pieces.

Rinse and drain the cabbage, pressing out as much water as possible.

Whisk together flour, milk, cream, tomato paste, egg (replacer), parsley, salt, and pepper, until smooth, and then add tempeh bacon and cabbage, stirring to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared gratin dish.

Bake uncovered for 50 minutes (or 70 minutes, which is how long it took to get firm with the ingredients I was using) until firm and lightly brown. To check for doneness, use a wooden spatula to gently pull apart the top layers of cabbage. If the gratin is still runny in the middle, keep cooking until it becomes firm. Keep an eye on the top layer to ensure it doesn’t burn.

Serve hot.

2 comments on “Cabbage Gratin with Tempeh Bacon does the “freegan” thing

  1. Laura says:

    Yum! I really love cabbage, but haven’t thought to use it in a gratin before. I love Deborah Madison, too. Her Vegetarian Suppers is one of my favorite cookbooks.

    • scrumptious says:

      Mine, too! I love that book with a fiery passion. It’s pretty amusing, though, to see what constitutes a “simple supper” to her. My boyfriend and I always grumble about that as we wash up the ten thousand pots, pans, bowls, and spoons it took to make one of her “simple suppers.”

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