Vegetarian “Cabbage Roll” Soup
A slow cooker is an essential money-saving tool, because it helps you avoid the “Holy crap! What should I eat for dinner?” scenario. Sure, you can come home at 8:30 pm, starving and exhausted, and order Chinese food, but wouldn’t you rather come home to a nice, hot pot of already-cooked soup? It does require a teeny bit of planning ahead (prep work in the morning or on the night before), but it’s not exactly hard to chop some veggies and throw them in a pot and plug it in.
I’ve been super busy grading papers the last couple of weeks, which is why I haven’t been posting here (even though I’d rather be doing this). For Wednesday night dinner with my BFF, I was wanting to make this recipe for cabbage rolls:
…but I woke up on Wednesday morning and realized that I didn’t have time for all of that steaming, stuffing, and baking. Not to worry, I realized that I could throw all of the ingredients in the Crock Pot and come home to a lovely soup after class:
I started with a beautiful Savoy cabbage from the Farmer’s Market, some old celery, carrots, and mushrooms from my fridge, an onion, a 28-oz can of chunky tomato sauce (diced or crushed tomatoes would be fine too), some fake ground beef (Smart Ground by LightLife), and 4 cups of that lovely homemade broth from my freezer. If you don’t have homemade broth, use veggie bouillon cubes. I also ended up adding a couple cups of water to cover the veggies (one of those things you should eyeball).
I sauteed the onions and celery in a little bit of oil, then added the Smart Ground and let it brown a little bit, stirring occasionally:
Next, EVERYTHING IN THE CROCK POT!
Don’t forget to plug in your Crock Pot! I only say that because it’s happened to me before, and it was SO sad! Anyway, next I set it to cook on high. When I came home 7 hours later, the apartment smelled wonderful. It was another cold night, too, so this ended up being the perfect thing with a side of good, crusty bread.
Celery: about $0.25 worth
Carrots: about $0.25 worth
Mushrooms: about $0.75
Tomato sauce: $2.99
Smart Ground: $3.99 (PS: I don’t use a whole lot of fake meat products, because they are processed and a little bit expensive, but they’re convenient sometimes and a LOT healthier than meat. In fact, I used to eat Smart Ground sometimes before I was vegetarian because it has 0 grams of fat, only 70 calories, and 9g of protein per serving).
Grand total: $10.31
The leftovers made great lunches. It came to about 8 servings, which means it was about: