Tuesday, August 12, 2008

turnips and cabbage ARE sexy! no, really.

Anyone who knew me in my omni days knows that I practically lived off of chicken shawarmas. Being from Ottawa, that's not too surprising -- we have a billion shawarma shops and most of them are mind-blowingly good. There's even a (sadly defunct) blog devoted to reviewing them all! Basically, it's a middle eastern wrap sandwich on chewy, paper thin flatbread layers, with slow grilled chicken, hummous, tomato, cucumber, lettuce, yogurt sauce, garlic mayonnaise, and most importantly - pickled pink turnips.

I wouldn't be surprised if I've waxed poetic about those turnips before. Actually I'm almost positive I have. So holy cow was I over the moon to find out how EASY they are to make!! It goes like so:

Pickled Pink Turnips for Pitas (or Torshi Left)

- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 2 tbsp salt
- 3-4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
- 2 lb. of turnip (I used one a little bigger than a softball)
- 1 small beet
- celery leaves (optional)

What You Do:

1. Cut the ends off of the beet and turnips and boil for 3-4 minutes, then remove from the water and peel.

2. Slice the beet and cut the turnip into french fry sticks, and put those in a big clean jar with the garlic and celery leaves.

3. Bring the water, vinegar and salt to a boil to dissolve, then pour it over the vegetables. Seal and leave it on the counter for ten days, then refridgerate. (*ahem* - I tore through half of them in the first night, soooooo...... :D)

4. Load up a big fat sandwich with garlic mayo, falafel, vegetables fixins' and some of those beautiful pickles and enjoy! I swear it's worth the three minutes of effort - it takes falafel to the moon and back, they're so awesome.

And look at that! Cabbage rolls, but would you believe that they were probably the most delicate and refreshing thing I've had all summer? I went from this recipe, made a few minor adjustments, and was sooooo happy with the results, it was worth every bit of wrestling with a boiling hot cabbage and more than a few dirty pots and pans.

Orphaned Greek Cabbage Rolls with Fresh Herbs (or Lahanodolmathes Orphana)

- 30 cabbage leaves (one huge head cabbage)
- 3 cups of cooked rice
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 3 ripe medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped (I used 1 tomato and 2 tbsps of tomato paste)
- 2/3 cup finely chopped zucchini
- 1 rounded tbsp finely chopped fresh mint
- 1 rounded tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
- 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1-2 tbsp Earth Balance
- juice of one lemon

What To Do:

1. Combine onion, rice, tomatoes, zucchini, dill, mint, parsley, salt, pepper, cumin, and olive oil in a bowl.

2. Remove the core of the cabbage, and stick a large fork into the center. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and immerse the cabbage, leaving the fork in. When the outer leaves turn bright green, remove using the fork and remove softened leaves. Return to pot and repeat until all cabbage leaves have been removed.

3. Use a sharp knife to trim the thick part of the stem off of the leaves (this will make it easier to roll). For large rolls, place a 3-4 tablespoons of filling 1 inch from the thick end of the cabbage leaf. Fold the bottom over the filling, fold the sides in, and roll up. Place in a large baking dish. Repeat with all the leaves and filling.

4. Dot with margarine, and bake covered at 375 for 1 hour. Pour the lemon juice over the rolls 20 minutes before they're done baking. Serve warm, room temperature, or - best of all - cold from the fridge.


Anonymous said...

Oh man, I have to make my own pickled turnips! I only discovered them when I moved to Montreal, but I eat them all the time at AlTaib now.

LizNoVeggieGirl said...

Those turnips are gorgeously sexy!! :0D

Anonymous said...

Oh yum! I need to make some pickled turnips.

aTxVegn said...

Those are two of the most beautiful wraps I've ever seen! We have a falafel shop that puts pickles on their wraps. It takes a little getting used to, but it's good!

Theresa said...

"So holy cow was I over the moon to find out how EASY they are to make!!"

You could almost say you were 'tickled pink' about your 'pickled pink turnips'. Ha!

Carrie™ said...

I've never had pickled turnips, but I wanna try them! I absolutely lovelovelove cabbage rolls.

VeganCowGirl said...

God, those turnips are such a part of the Ottawa scene, aren't they? Interestingly unique to the city - although you can get similar veg in other places it really does seem like that is an ottawa 'thing'. yummmmm thanks for reminding me of all the good falafel I have had while visiting. You have convinced me to make my own turnip...and the cabbage rolls! Liz! They look so good.

Ruby Red said...

Thanks to you, I want a shawarma now! Especially if there are pink vegetables in there. Your wrap there looks seriously good.
Here's to sexy veggies!!!

Anonymous said...

YES! I freaking love pickled turnips. I thought that they would be a hassle to make. Thanks SO much for posting the recipe.

The cabbage rolls look insanely good too.

Anonymous said...


you've made my night...or week...or more!

anyways, my mum and i have found a new amazing turkish/lebanese/greek place (with the most amazin falafel)

and they always included these pink thingies and i never knew what they were.....

until now....

so thank you!

KP said...

The sandwich looks pretty tasty. I guess I will have to try turnips! Can you believe I've never had one? :o

Rural Vegan said...

I've never heard of a shawarmas, but those pickled turnips look beautiful in their jars! And as someone who has wrestled with a lot of boiled cabbage leaves, I really appreciate how gorgeous your rolls turned out! They're stunning!

Alicia said...

I've wanted to try cabbage rolls in like forever! but I have the idea that they're super complicated to make... maybe they aren't? oh, I guess I'll have to try :-)

sinead said...

oooh. those cabbage rolls look amazing. i never considered making them in the summer. you've made me revise my entire cabbage roll philosophy. yum!

Anonymous said...

I have to stop reading blogs like this when I am on a raw cleanse - I am dying over your cabbage rolls!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the Pickled Pink Turnip recipe!! What used to be your fav Shawarma place? Shawarma Palace on Rideau used to rock my socks ;)!

bazu said...


Anonymous said...

Cabbage is delicious! I love it when its just been cooked, it almost has a sweet flavor. YUM!

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medical supplies store said...

The sandwich looks pretty tasty. I guess I will have to try turnips! Can you believe I've never had one?.