Golabki aka. Stuffed Cabbage

Growing up in a very Polish family, I developed a love for many traditional Polish foods. If I had to play favorites, I’d probably say that Golabki (aka Stuffed Cabbage) comes in at a close second to pierogi. There is just something so comforting about eating a steaming roll of stuffed cabbage covered in a sweet, creamy tomato sauce. It screams childhood comfort food to me.

Fortunately, although my husband is not Polish, his love of good Polish food is almost as strong as mine. In fact, stuffed cabbage is the very first meal I ever made for him. He was very impressed with it at the time. Now he complains that I’m too busy making new food all the time to repeat his favorite dishes more often. (Poor guy’s got it rough, doesn’t he?)

My maternal grandmother has been making golabki for my whole life and sharing it with her family in meal-sized, freezable portions. Not too long ago, she spent an afternoon making up a huge batch of golabki with my mom and my aunts. I was thrilled when they shared some of that bounty with me. Getting a container of her homemade food (be it golabki or homemade soup) is a treat for sure. Plus, I love pulling something out of my freezer that was made by her specifically for my family. It’s a tradition I hope to pass on someday also. What a great way to make someone feel special and loved!

The golabki recipe I am sharing here is my own variation. Someday, I will have my grandma’s original recipe to share with you – as soon as I can remember to ask her to write it down for me. Until then, this tastes awfully close to the original to me. It’s definitely food of love, in taste and time devoted. But it is so worth it!

Golabki (Stuffed Cabbage)

  • 12 – 20 cabbage leaves (play it safe and make a few extra, just in case)
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 2 c. cooked rice
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 onion, grated or finely minced
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. pepper
  • 1/2 t. garlic powder
  • 1/4 t. allspice
  • 1 15 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1/3 c. milk
  • 2 T. sugar
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. pepper
  • 1/2 t. Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 t. allspice

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add cabbage leaves and cook just until tender, about 3-5 minutes. Drain and rinse immediately with cold water.

2. In a bowl, combine ground beef, rice, diced zucchini, carrots and onions, 1 t. salt, 1/2 t. pepper, 1/2 t. garlic powder and 1/4 t. allspice.

3. To assemble the rolls, cut out a triangular section of any remaining tough stem. Using your hands, form a log with some of the meat mixture. Place in the center of the cabbage leaf and roll up burrito style, tucking the sides in first then rolling the rest. Repeat until done.

4. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Pour 1/2 the sauce into the bottom of a baking dish. Place the cabbage rolls on top and cover with remaining sauce.

5. Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 10-15 minutes, until sauce thickens and meat is fully cooked.

Note: If you’d like your sauce thicker, pour into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir in 2 T. flour blended in 2 T. water and continue boiling until thickened.

This post is being linked to Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed With Grace.

9 thoughts on “Golabki aka. Stuffed Cabbage

  1. Do you have any suggestions on how to get the cabbage leaves off the head, and still in tact? Mine end up ripping apart as I’m trying to “peel” them off, and I end up making a cabbage casserole with chopped cabbage instead.


  2. Yum!

    Rebecca – Savoy cabbage comes off the head easier than regular cabbage. I always use savoy if I can find it. No taste difference that I can tell.

    Also, my recipe has small amount of egg in the rice/meat mixture, maybe that is a difference from your grandmother’s?

    I think you’ve inspired me to make cabbage rolls soon. My husband loves them, too.

  3. Can I come over next time you fix these??? My husband doesn’t like cooked cabbage. Perhaps I could make them and freeze them to eat on nights that he’s working late.

    Regardless, these look delicious!!

  4. I just watched a show where they made these. They cored out the cabbage and then boiled it whole. Then the leaves just ‘fell’ right off and were easy to use. They also lined the pan with cabbage leaves and covered the cabbage rolls with leaves instead of plastic/foil to bake off in the oven. I found it a very interesting way to get the cabbage leaves off in one piece as well as how to cook them.

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