Easy golumpki stuffed cabbage rolls. This classic Polish dish (traditionally known as gołąbki) cases minced pork and beef filling in cabbage leaves before baking to perfection.
Golumpki is a delightful Polish dish that stuffs cooked cabbage with various ingredients and seasonings. Many Polish families have unique family recipes that get passed down to each new generation.
From the Polish word gołąbki, the name can be literally translated to ‘pigeon’. It’s thought that the dish is named after the bird because the dish resembles the shape of a pigeon’s chest. However, some dispute this, and it is believed to share roots in Persian and Eastern European cuisine.
Whatever the origins of the dish, there’s no doubting the cultural importance and deliciousness of the classic dish! Along with pierogi, it’s one of Poland’s most iconic dishes, and for good reason: Featuring minced meat and rice rolled in cabbage, this hearty side dish is a staple at holiday meals and family get-togethers.
Discover how to make golumpki today with our easy cabbage roll recipe.
What is Golumpki?
Golumpki generally consists of a cooked cabbage leaf rolled up and filled with a mixture of ground meat (usually pork or beef), rice, and garlic. The cabbage rolls are then covered in a tomato-based sauce and baked.
The combination of flavors and textures in golumpki is delicious. The soft, cooked cabbage leaf pairs perfectly with the savory ground meat mixture, and the tomato-based sauce adds a touch of sweetness and acidity.
The cabbage is tender, and most of the texture comes from the meat filling. After being baked in the oven, the dish resembles stuffed pasta due to the tomato sauce.
What to Serve with Golumpki
Not sure what to serve your golumpki with? Whether you’re planning the perfect Polish feast or simply want to match the dish’s hearty flavors, here’s what to serve with cabbage rolls.
- Mashed Potatoes & Sliced Bread: The mashed potatoes help to soak up the delicious tomato sauce, and the bread is perfect for dipping.
- Roasted Vegetables: Common vegetables to pair with the dish include carrots, green beans, and zucchini.
- Kielbasa Sausage: For a heartier side, try pairing cabbage rolls with Polish kielbasa. Our kielbasa recipe combines the classic sausage with beer and mustard for a flavor kick that’ll cut through golumpki’s deep seasoning.
- Leafy Salad: The lightness of the salad is the perfect accompaniment to the golumpki’s rich meat filling.
Golumpki [Polish Cabbage Rolls]
- baking tray
- 1 head cabbage stalk removed
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1 lb ground beef chuck
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 large egg
- 2 cups cooked rice
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 ½ lb chopped tomatoes
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C)
- In a large pot, boil water and reduce to simmer
- Place cabbage in water ensuring it is submerged. Simmer in water for 5 minutes. Remove from water and let cool.
- In a large bowl, combine the filling ingredients: Ground pork, ground beef, diced onion, crushed garlic, egg, and cooked rice. Combine thoroughly until evenly mixed. Wrap and keep in the refrigerator until ready.
- In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add diced onion and sauté until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
- Add crushed garlic and cook for a further minute. Add chopped tomatoes and simmer for 15 minutes
- While tomato sauce simmers, remove the cabbage leaves from the head. Remove the leaves and place on a cooling rack or paper towels. Once cool enough to handle, use a knife to gently shave down the thick central vein running down the middle of each leaf. Be careful not to cut through the leaf.
- Scoop 2 tablespoons of filling into the center of each cabbage leaf, towards the base end. Roll up the leaf by folding each side over the filling before rolling away from the base. Place the rolled cabbage leaf in the baking tray. Repeat for the remaining leaves.
- When all leaves are rolled and arranged on baking tray, pour the tomato sauce over them
- Transfer tray to preheated oven and bake for 50 minutes
- When ready, remove the tray from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving