Golabki; Cabbage Rolls

William Newman
August 7, 2023

Golabki; Cabbage Rolls

Golabki, also known as Polish Cabbage Rolls, have a history deeply rooted in Polish and Eastern European cuisine. The word "golabki" translates to "little pigeons" in Polish, referring to the shape of the cabbage rolls resembling small birds. The origins of this dish can be traced back to the 18th century, and it has since become a beloved part of Polish culinary tradition, especially during festive occasions and family gatherings. The dish was originally prepared using cabbage leaves stuffed with a mixture of meat, rice, and spices. Over time, variations emerged with different fillings, including vegetarian options. Today, Golabki continues to be cherished for its comforting and hearty flavors, symbolizing the essence of Polish home-cooked meals and cultural heritage.

Ingredients for Golabki:

  • 1 large head of cabbage
  • 1 lb ground beef or pork (or a combination)
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (14 oz) tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup beef or vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chopped fresh parsley for garnish


  1. Start by boiling a large pot of water. Remove the core from the cabbage and carefully place the whole cabbage head into the boiling water. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the outer leaves become pliable and easy to remove. Carefully peel off the cabbage leaves one by one and set them aside.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic, and sauté until softened and fragrant.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine the ground meat, cooked rice, sautéed onions, garlic, dried thyme, dried oregano, salt, and pepper. Mix well to create the filling.
  4. Take a cabbage leaf and place a small amount of the filling in the center. Roll the leaf around the filling, tucking in the sides, to form a neat cabbage roll. Repeat with the remaining cabbage leaves and filling.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and beef or vegetable broth to create the sauce.
  6. In a large pot or Dutch oven, layer the bottom with any leftover cabbage leaves. Place the prepared Golabki on top in a single layer.
  7. Pour the tomato sauce mixture over the Golabki, covering them evenly.
  8. Cover the pot and simmer on low heat for about 1 to 1.5 hours, or until the Golabki are tender and fully cooked.
  9. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley before serving.

Enjoy the heartwarming flavors of Golabki, a classic Polish dish that brings together the comfort of cabbage and a flavorful meat and rice filling.