Veganizing Penzey’s Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Casserole + thoughts on Ahimsa.

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“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”
~ Gandhi

Happy Sunday friends.   Sending out warm wishes to anyone in the path of winter storm Boreas, aptly named by The Weather Channel. Boreas is derived from the Greek god of “The cold north wind and bringer of winter”. Sounds like perfect weather to stay indoors and watch football !!

So this morning, as I ran down my Facebook scroll, it seems my feed was filled with dead animals:  Elephants electrocuted by illegal electric fences.  A beautiful ocelot dead on the road.  Deer and fox hunts.  Turkeys on dinner tables.

These images always leave a deep sadness in my heart. Remembering that it takes 3 positives to outway every 1 negative, I spent my morning meditation thinking about the yogic (and vegan) vow of Ahimsa.

ahimsaAhimsa is the ancient Sanskrit term usually translated as, and possibly the model for, ‘nonviolence.’

However, its meaning goes much beyond that. Ahimsa is derived from the Sanskrit verb root san, which means to kill. The prefix a- is a negation. So a-himsa means literally “lacking any desire to kill,” which is perhaps the central theme upon which the morality of all great spiritual traditions is built.

 

 

A Parable of Ahimsa

 

scorpionIn the traditional lore of India there is a story about an old Hindu monk, who was sitting on the bank of a river silently repeating his mantra.

Nearby a scorpion fell from a tree into the river, and the Monk, seeing it struggling in the water, bent over and pulled it out. He placed the scorpion back in the tree, but as he did so, the creature bit him on the hand.

He paid no heed to the bite, but went on repeating his mantra.

A little while later, the scorpion again fell into the water. As before, the monk pulled him out and set him back in the tree and again was bitten. This little drama was repeated several times, and each time the Monk rescued the scorpion, he received a bite.

It happened that a villager, ignorant of the ways of holy men, had come to the river for water and had seen the whole affair. Unable to contain himself any longer, the villager told the Monk with some vexation:

“Swamiji, I have seen you save that foolish scorpion several times now and each time he has bitten you. Why not let the rascal go?”

“Brother,” replied the Monk. “the fellow cannot help himself. It is his nature to bite.”

“Agreed,” answered the villager. “But knowing this, why don’t you avoid him?”

“Ah, Brother,” replied the monk, “You see, I cannot help myself either. I am a human being; it is my nature to save.”

Ignore the criticism that surrounds you today.  You are simply a little bit ahead of your time and they have not yet caught up with your thinking.  ~ Scorpion

 

ahimsa_spiralThe spiritual aspirant says: I shall not cause any pain or suffering to anyone, I shall not cause any unnecessary sorrow to any person, and therefore, my speech will be soft and peace-giving. My actions will be such as will be conducive to the good of others, to the benefit and happiness of others, and not the contrary. And my mind also will always think well of others. It will be thoughts full of goodwill, peace, affection, love, friendliness, brotherhood, oneness, unity, sympathy and kindness.”

Ahimsa: The highest law. The very essence of human nature (or shall we say … vegan nature!).

May we strive towards this ideal. During this time of Thanksgiving, may Ahimsa be alive and well in our hearts and in our actions.  

 

Rice in the oven!  Penzey’s Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Casserole.

As for dinner last night, it never fails to amaze me that after so many years of professional and home cooking, I still run into new techniques.  I personally have never “cooked’ rice in the oven before.

Last night’s recipe was modified from a clipping out of Penzey’s spices magazine.  ”If you love cabbage rolls, but hate all the prep work, this recipe is for you!”   I think this would also be a real crowd-pleaser at your next pot luck!

The recipe layers cabbage, uncooked rice and meat, and tops it with a gingery-tomato sauce.  Penzey’s recipe called for ground beef, but I substituted a package of Soyrizo, and upped the quantity of rice.  Penzey’s recipe also calls for 2 egg whites.  My prep photos show egg-replacer.  But after having made it, I don’t think it’s necessary, and have eliminated it from the recipe.

Prep time took 15 minutes tops.  But be prepared to allow 1½ to 2 hours to bake the casserole.  I pulled my casserole right at the 90 minute point, and the rice was just al-dente.  So you may wish to allow for the full 2 hours.

With the ketchup and ginger-beer or ale, the dish does lean towards the sweet side, like baked beans.  I might try using straight beer next time, with fresh ginger, and a higher percentage of tomato sauce to ketchup.  As well, I love big chunks of cabbage, so I’ll probably layer larger wedges on the bottom layer.

Now that I know rice actually will cook down beautifully inside a soupy casserole, my head is swarming with new casserole ideas!

Until tomorrow, namaste.  And may ahimsa be with you !!

 

 

 

Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Casserole
 
Prep time

Cook time

Total time

 

A sweet-savory dish that your family will love. Perfect for pot-lucks.
Author:
Recipe type: inspired by Penzey’s
Serves: 8

Ingredients
  • ½ head (8 cups) cabbage, chopped
  • ——–
  • 1 12 ounce package Soyrizo
  • 1-¼ cups uncooked white rice
  • 1 (2 cups) onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Penzey’s MURAL OF FLAVOR
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ——–
  • 2 ½ cups ginger ale / ginger beer
  • 1 ½ cups ketchup
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9×13 pan and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the soyrizo, rice, onion, and spices. Mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the ginger ale, ketchup and tomato sauce.
  4. Place 6 cups of the cabbage in the baking dish. Spread the soyrizo-rice mixture over the cabbage. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 cups cabbage.
  5. Pour the ketchup mixture evenly over the top. DO NOT STIR.
  6. Cover with foil and bake for 1½ to 2 hours, until the liquid is absorbed.

 

 

Resource: http://mettacenter.org/definitions/gloss-concepts/ahimsa/

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About the author  ⁄ Victoria

Aside from being a Twisted Vegan and Yogi, Victoria Prehn is a Visionary Coachsultant for Entrepreneurs, a teacher of Wordpress web design, and a provider of memorable Caribbean vacations via her property Three Palms Villa and Dream Bookings Yacht Charters. Visit her website VictoriaPrehn.com to learn more.

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