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Polish Golumpki (Golabki): Stuffed Cabbage Roll Recipe

I love making tasty dishes, and I enjoy sharing recipes with others.

Polish golumpki (golabki): stuffed cabbage rolls.

Polish golumpki (golabki): stuffed cabbage rolls.

My maternal family line goes back to the areas of Austria, Hungary, and Poland. In the years that I've been doing my family research, some of the recipes that I was brought up with began to make more sense and be much more appreciated! As an adult, I now enjoy making these recipes and sharing them with my family in the hopes that they continue passing them to their children.

As kids, we called this dish "pigs in a blanket," and it was a favorite that my Grandmom often made. In our Polish heritage, they're actually called Gołąbki (also known as Golumpki, Gwumpki, and Golabki), but the Slovak areas made the name Halupki a more recognizable name than Golumpki. Some people just call them "stuffed cabbage leaves" or even "cabbage casserole." We call them delicious!

Golumpkis are often served during the Christmas season among those of Polish heritage. Whether you make them during Christmas or throughout the year, you are sure to love these delicious stuffed cabbage rolls from the kitchen of my grandmother.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

45 min

1 hour

1 hour 45 min

Serves 6–8

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 onion, small, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups rice, uncooked
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, black
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, divided into 2 equal portions
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 1 head cabbage, cored as much as possible
  • chives (optional, for garnish)
  • sour cream (optional, for garnish)

Instructions

  1. Core the head of the cabbage. Place the cored head of cabbage in a steamer basket large enough to fit the head. Place the basket into a stock pot with about an inch of water. Steam the cabbage head until the outer leaves are easy to remove. Continue until all leaves are soft and can be removed easily. Set the leaves aside. (Alternately, you can bring salted water to a boil and boil the cabbage head until the leaves are softened.)
  2. In a large bowl, place the ground beef, pork, chopped onions, uncooked rice, salt, paprika, garlic, pepper, and 1/2 of the petite diced tomatoes. Mix together with your hands.
  3. In the bottom of a large pot, place any broken cabbage leaves that you may have.
  4. Holding one of the full leaves in one hand and using a large spoon, place a spoonful of the mixture near the stem end of the leaf. Fold in the sides of the leaf and roll from the stem end to the outer edge. Gently place the edge side down on top of the broken cabbage leaves. Continue until all leaves are rolled and placed in the pot. You will probably have to stack them; just fit them in on top of another with the edge side down.
  5. Take the two cans of tomato sauce and gently pour over all the wrapped cabbage rolls. (If you prefer, reserve about 1/2 cup to add over golumpkis when they're served.) Add in the other half of the petite diced tomatoes. Add in 1 cup of water or reserved water from steaming the cabbage.
  6. Sprinkle a little paprika on top of the sauce.
  7. Place a heat-safe plate upside-down on top of the cabbage rolls. This will prevent the cabbage rolls from falling apart when they are being cooked.
  8. Cover and boil slowly for about an hour or until cooked through and tender.
  9. Remove from heat and carefully remove the plate. Use a large spoon to serve.

Paleo Modification

If you're following a Paleo lifestyle of eating, this recipe is for you with one little modification!

Omit the rice and take several large florets of cauliflower and pulse in a food processor until the cauliflower resembles rice. Use this faux rice in the recipe instead of the rice!

© 2012 Keely Deuschle

Comments

Lee on June 04, 2020:

My grandmother was Hungarian and this recipe sounds very close to hers but she didn’t add tomatoes to the meat mixture. She chopped remaining cabbage and placed in bottom of huge pot, then the cabbage rolls on top. Between layers of rolls, she put thin layer of sauerkraut then crushed tomatoes. Then she poured tomato juice over all.

Greg Gacek on March 29, 2020:

Being Polish, I really looked forward to this recipe and it did not disappoint. The only problem I had was I substituted Brown rice for white rice and it did not cook. It took almost 2 1/2 hours before. Another thing, next time I make it I'm going to prepare 2 heads of cabbage so I can use up all the meat and get my rolls more consistent. Good job, brought back childhood smells, tastes and memories

Jeanne Klement on January 19, 2020:

Delicious recipe. I have 2 suggestions, carmelize a large onion and garlic for a little sweetness. Freeze the cabbage, once it is defrosted it's ready to trim and roll.

Robert Messenger on December 19, 2019:

Polish heritage here...I have made this recipe several times with great success. New challenge: vegetarian daughter joining us for Christmas. Can you recommend a non-meat based filling? Oh, and to make things even more difficult, she does not like mushrooms! I was thinking of a simple risotto with garden vegetables? Not Polish enough?

PHILIP SPALDING on August 17, 2019:

Have not tried yet, but have ingredients. Looks similar to our family recipe minus ground pork( I did not want to look for our recipe). I will be using fresh riced caulifower in place of rice and I could not find ground pork so I am using meijer brand polish sausage taken out of the casing.

Dan on May 13, 2019:

I wanted to surprise my wife and make these so it was a first for me. They were amazing and reminded me of my mother's and grandmother. For me I give a 5 out of 5.

Patricia DeCurtis on February 27, 2019:

My husband's family were Ukrainian and made stuffed cabbage without tomatoes or tomato sauce. Always used salt pork cut little and sauteed then added to uncooked beef and pork and uncooked rice and onion. Rolled the steamed cabbage rolls in tall pot with leftover cabbage leaf's in bottom added a few inches of water and steamed all the rolls about an hour then served with vinegar or sour cream on the sude.

Audrey. M on January 09, 2019:

Looking for mini schnauzer female puppy,around $650

Joshua Crowder from SE United States on December 27, 2018:

My Polish/Croatian side is really going to like this one. Hopefully It will only take me one try.

Keith on April 14, 2018:

I'm a native Pittsburgher and this is pretty much the way my grandmother made it. Although I think she used tomato sauce with a little sugar in it for the sauce. But other then that, it's pretty much the same. I've been to Italian Weddings, German Weddings, and Polish Weddings in the 'Burgh. All of them were awesome, but I think the Polish Weddings were the best, Lots of food like this to eat ... all made by grandmothers!

Gail LeDuc on January 09, 2018:

I never used tomatoe sauce on its own, You need to Doctor it up a lot. You want to try something that tastes wonderful? Use Sweet Baby Rays bbq sauce instead of tomatoes . People around me were surprised how a 100 percent Polish gal makes them taste so good :)

Yankeeflame on November 13, 2017:

I’ve got leftover cooked rice & only ground beef, but I’m going to try this anyway.

PAJ Culture Edito on October 22, 2017:

Like your healthy cauliflower variation! ✔

the correct Polish spelling is: GOŁĄBKI - Gołąbki

(pronounced goh-WOHB-kee)

...unless yours are lumpy, it's never "golumpki" ☺

"gołąbek" is the singular form; "gołąbki" is plural, so no "s" is necessary. Otherwise, it's a double plural of confused Polish with English

Brenda on October 05, 2017:

I haven't noticed anyone of Russian decent speak of Protkis, our version of stuffed cabbage. I remember it being savory and sweet in my grandmother's kitchen, layering tomato sauce and a few white raisins between layers of the cabbage rolls to add just enough sweetness. Using the pork is genius and I've tried using cooked barley instead of the rice. Came out mouth watering, tender, and delicious! Thanks for this perfectly scrumptious basic recipe....I know it helped so many like me perfect our own versions!!

joyce Belford on September 26, 2017:

Love the recipe but it is so frustrating to see good recipes that don't have a print option.

Lizzy Tish on July 12, 2017:

Your recipe sounds just like my moms'... there were a few differences, which I don't know if she invented or it was the recipe she got from someone. She was German/English/+? but I never heard her mention any recipes from her mothers side of the family. Wish that I asked her where she got it from! She married my dad, who was 100% Italian from the old country, & had to learn how to cook "like his mother" & she was renowned as the best Italian chef, & everyone thought that SHE was the Italian, not dad! At any rate, the difference from yours was that she added sauerkraut with fennel seeds, & tomato soup instead of tomato sauce.

Margaret F on May 14, 2017:

Thank you for sharing... I'm not a good cook but this the trick; I love it and so did my husband!

S Sullivan on February 03, 2017:

So glad I found this recipe, used to make this a lot for my family as a kid. My sauce consisted of equal parts tomatoe sauce and tomatoe soup though. Also, I put bacon on top and cooked in the oven. I think I need to get back yo my roots. Half Polish (Dads side) and one quarter German and one quarter Irish, so I have some delishish ways to go for dinner time, nice variety.

Keely Deuschle (author) from Florida on January 08, 2017:

@michelle from PA, it's hidden in there in step #5 :) Enjoy it! It's on my list to make this week, too!

Michelle from PA on January 08, 2017:

I have a question about this recipe. In the ingredients it mentions to mix 1/2 can of diced tomatoes to the ground beef-pork mix. I cannot find where the other 1/2 can of diced tomatoes is added to recipie. Thank you for posting this recipe. I cannot wait to make it :)

Donusha on September 01, 2016:

Finally, someone else that cooks then in a pot rather than baked in the oven. This recipe is so similar to my mom and babci, true old fashioned polish style.

Laurette j. Dembinskihave on July 10, 2016:

Have always made my cabbage rolls the traditional Ukrainian way but today have had the best golumpki ever!! Will be making some using your very interesting recipe.. one is never too old to try something new.

BuffaloGuy on June 08, 2016:

My favorite food. Mom had a way of boiling the cabbage leaves so they turned white and got softer.

Served it with mashed potatoes, carrots, rye bread. Then she used undiluted tomato soup and when the Golumpki came out of the oven, you could pour the soup over the stuffed cabbage.

Tucker on February 21, 2016:

Made this tonight for my 100% Polish hubby. He was delighted. Did substitute tomato soup for the tomatoes and sauce to match his Mother's version (not my choice, alas. ) This will now be a standard in our home.

Michele on November 12, 2015:

This is my second time making these cabbage rolls. They're cooking on the stove right now. (Woo-hoo!) The first time, the cabbage rolls couldn't have tasted any better! Five stars and two thumbs way up! I used cauliflower instead of rice, and ground turkey instead of beef and pork. Turned out amazing, and made great leftovers for about 4 days. This time I'm using rice instead of cauliflower. No doubt it will be yummy too. (Oh -- maybe I'm super slow, but it takes me about 2 hours to prep, including steaming the cabbage head and separating the leaves. Hopefully others will be faster.)

Martha on October 13, 2014:

I love cabbage rolls aka Pigs in a Blanket. An old friend, who was Polish taught me her family's recipe. The only difference they browned salt pork and use it to drizzle over the top before covering with extra cabbage leaves.

sukkran trichy from Trichy/Tamil Nadu on September 08, 2014:

sounds delicious. thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe. gonna try this one soon.

Susie Lehto from Minnesota on September 05, 2014:

Your recipe looks great. I love the idea of using faux rice for those who are on a special diet. My mouth is watering for some of this comfort food.

Ilona from Ohio on May 01, 2014:

This is comfort food for me! I always like to see how other people make this favorite.

Keely Deuschle (author) from Florida on December 27, 2013:

Colleen, I'm so glad you came across this recipe! I hope it is similar to what you remember. I find it so fascinating from so many of the comments here how many memories a recipe can bring back! Thank you for trying this recipe. I hope you enjoy it!

Colleen Swan from County Durham on December 27, 2013:

Brilliant, My mum used to make these, but I never kept the recipe. nice historical notes and I will use your recipe this weekend. Voted up

Keely Deuschle (author) from Florida on December 26, 2013:

WriteJanis, You're welcome! I make it with pork sometimes and other times just with ground beef or even ground turkey, omitting the pork. It depends on what I remembered to get at the store! I hope you enjoy it! Thank you for taking the time to read through this recipe!

Janis from California on December 26, 2013:

I've never thought of adding ground pork. Thanks for the suggestion.

Keely Deuschle (author) from Florida on December 22, 2013:

PegCole17, thank you so much for sharing this recipe! It brings me much joy to bring wonderful memories back for quite a few through this recipe!

Keely Deuschle (author) from Florida on December 22, 2013:

Glimmer, I hope you enjoy this as much as I do! It is one of my favorite meals that brings a lot of family memories to me!

Keely Deuschle (author) from Florida on December 22, 2013:

AudreyHowitt, I have noticed that many of the heritages have some minor differences in their recipe. Is there much of a difference for Goluptsi? I'm glad this took you back to some wonderful memories!

Peg Cole from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on November 02, 2013:

This is one of the first dishes I ever made before discovering my heritage is much like yours. My "German" grandmother was actually of Polish descent arriving in this country as a young teen in 1902. Your recipe looks so delicious and your pictures are mouthwatering. I pinned this recipe and shared it on Twitter. Thanks so much for the memories.

Claudia Mitchell on November 02, 2013:

This looks awesome and I will definitely be giving it a try. Maybe tonight since I'm not sure what to make for dinner. Thanks!

Audrey Howitt from California on July 22, 2013:

We are Russian and for us this is Goluptsi--so many wonderful memories around this dish!

Keely Deuschle (author) from Florida on July 08, 2013:

Hi Marsha! Thank you! I hadn't made these in a really long time, until I came across my Grandmom's recipe again while going through an old cookbook. I don't think I've had 7-layer casserole, but I will look forward to reading your hub when you post it! Thank you so much for voting it up and for pinning!

Marsha Musselman from Michigan, USA on July 06, 2013:

Yum, brings back many memories. I like how you did your thumbnails, maybe that is what I need to do so the album feature doesn't show up on every photo I posted in one of my hubs.

I grew up with pigs in the blanket and have even made it for my family some. I've not made it in a long time though.

Voted up and awesome, cuz it's an awesome food choice. Did you ever have 7 layer casserole? I haven't made that in a while, but I'm thinking of doing a hub on it, although I'd need to make it again to have some pictures of my own. Pinning this also.

Keely Deuschle (author) from Florida on July 01, 2013:

Hi Brian, Thank you! I just made this again tonight because we all love it so very much! I would have never thought about the plate, but my grandmother used to use one, so I just follow what she did! Thanks for the vote, too!

Keely Deuschle (author) from Florida on July 01, 2013:

Hi Marion, Your grandmother's dish sounds delicious, too! I have no restraint when it comes to cream cheese...and bacon, well, that's another weakness. Thanks for leaving a note!

Brian Dooling from Connecticut on June 30, 2013:

This recipe looks delicious! Once again i like the photo guide you give and good idea using the plate to keep the stuffed cabbage from unraveling. This looks like a great healthy meal! Voted up! #happy2years

marion langley from The Study on June 29, 2013:

Replace the tomato sauce and paprika with cream cheese and bacon and you've got my favorite dish at the hands of my grandmother in the holiday seaon. Comfort food is the best! I get lazy and throw in spicy sausage in place of the other meats. YUM!!! Thanks for writing.

Keely Deuschle (author) from Florida on June 16, 2013:

Thank you, csgibson! I hope you will try them! Drop me a line after you do and let me know what you think!

Craig Gibson from Traverse City Michigan on February 12, 2013:

They sound delicious. I love to cook so I think that I will try your recipe.

Keely Deuschle (author) from Florida on January 15, 2013:

@vibesites, thank you for checking out this recipe and for taking the time to comment! I hope that you get the chance to try this delicious recipe!

@KA Penderson, it would be a perfect way to use that cabbage! I have fond memories of my grandmother making this and it's comforting to know that she made it because her mom made it! Gives me a little taste of Poland, too! My family originated in the Lopuszna area! One day I'll get there to visit! Thanks for your comments!

Kim Anne from Texas on January 12, 2013:

So this is what I can do with all the cabbage we bought on sale last week! My family also originally from poland! Thanks for sharing!

vibesites from United States on January 07, 2013:

I didn't know any Polish food/drink/delicacy other than kielbasa and vodka (it's of Polish origin), but thanks to you, you give me a glimpse of your Polish heritage through your delicious-looking stuffed cabbage. And I was surprised to discover that rice (obviously a non-Polish foodstuff) is incorporated there. So many delightful discoveries! I like that recipe, it's a meal in itself.

Voted up and shared. :)

Keely Deuschle (author) from Florida on January 06, 2013:

Andrew, thanks for the votes! :) It has such wonderful flavors and brings me back to my grandmom's kitchen! Enjoy it!

Keely Deuschle (author) from Florida on January 06, 2013:

Hi Tammy! I have a little Irish in me, too, from my Dad's side! Yes, I sure would know what you meant! Thanks for the comments!

Andrew Spacey from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK on January 06, 2013:

A wonderful use of the humble cabbage! It has finally found its place! What a fascinating recipe, straightforward enough for even a galumpa like me to try. I love the idea of meat and seasoning within the green leaf - there's a certain primitive magic about that.

Votes for this fine food hub.

Tammy from North Carolina on January 06, 2013:

Wow, that is one of my favorite foods! Great recipe. I have Polish and Austrian roots too, with a little irish. I hope these wonderful recipes will be preserved and passed on. I can say Halupki and you would know what I was talking about. Great hub!

Keely Deuschle (author) from Florida on December 27, 2012:

RTalloni, awww...thank you! I hope you like this one, too!

RTalloni on December 27, 2012:

Well, I am definitely going to be looking over all your recipes now--this is another I'm looking forward to trying. :)

Keely Deuschle (author) from Florida on December 17, 2012:

Thank you toknowinfo! I hope you enjoy them! Many different nationalities have slightly different variations. I've seen some others, myself, that I want to try, too! Thanks for taking the time to comment!

toknowinfo on December 17, 2012:

Thanks for sharing this recipe. I only knew them as stuffed cabbage, but it is delicious just the same. This is a dish I certainly will make.

Keely Deuschle (author) from Florida on December 16, 2012:

Thank you, rjsadowski, for checking out this recipe! It is delicious and tastes especially good as leftovers, too! If you try it some time, let me know what you think!

rjsadowski on December 16, 2012:

Your recipe sounds tasty and your pictures make your instructions easy to follow.