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Polish Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (Golabki) Recipe

This is our personal favorite Polish Recipe!  The key to this version of Stuffed Cabbage Rolls is that you combine both Pork and Beef meat, don't use just ground beef.  You can also substitute the meat for mushrooms to make vegetarian stuffed cabbage rolls, commonly served as part of the Polish Christmas Eve feast.  Also, you can adjust the cayenne to make it more spicy too.  And, the other key ingredient is the cooked buckwheat.  Even though you can substitute rice, the buckwheat adds a rich roasted flavor that truly adds to this dish -- and it is better for you too!  Serve with Potato Cheese Pierogi and Cauliflower Gratinee.


Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (Golabki) Ingredients

Spicy Sweet Tomato Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tsp freshly chopped parsley
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2-4 garlic cloves, mincedPolish Cabbage Rolls Recipe
  • 1 medium red pepper sliced
  • 3 cups tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Dash of cayenne pepper (chili pepper or paprika works for those who want less spice)
  • 2 cups Mushrooms (optional)
  • Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cabbage Roll Stuffing:

  • 1 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 chopped celery stalks
  • 1/2 cup bell pepper chopped
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • Dash of Worcester Sauce
  • 1 tsp Thyme
  • 1 pound ground beef (organic, grass-fed beef preferred)
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked buckwheat 
  • Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large heads green cabbage, about 3 pounds each


Cabbage Rolls Directions

Golabki Tomato Sauce:

Add oil to a saucepan and place over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and heat on low, until the sauce thickens, about 5-10 minutes (may need more if adding mushrooms to sauce).  Season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.

Prepare Meat Filling:

Place a skillet over medium heat and coat with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Sauté the onion and garlic for about 5 minutes, until soft. Stir in the tomato paste, celery, wine, parsley, bell pepper, Worcester sauce, Thyme, and 1/2 cup of the prepared spicy tomato sauce, mix to incorporate and then take it off the heat. Combine the ground beef and pork meat in a large mixing bowl. Add the egg, the cooked buckwheat, and the sauteed onion mixture. Toss the filling together with your hands to combine, season with a generous amount of salt and pepper.

Prepare Cabbage Leaves:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Remove the large, damaged outer leaves from the cabbages and set aside.   Put one cabbage head into water, boil till outer leaves soften (3-4 minutes), take the head out of water, remove the outer leaves,  lay them on the side to dry.  Repeat this process until all leaves can be carefully removed on both heads of cabbage.

Assemble Cabbage Rolls:

Take the reserved big outer leaves and lay them out.  Use all the good looking leaves to make the cabbage rolls, layer the rest on the bottom of a casserole pan(s) for a tasty side dish.  Put about 1/2 cup of the meat filling in the center of a cabbage leaf and starting at what was the stem-end, fold the sides in and roll up the cabbage to enclose the filling. Place the cabbage rolls side by side in rows, seam-side down, in casserole pan (or pans).

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Pour the remaining sweet and sour tomato sauce over the cabbage rolls.  Drizzle the top with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Cover the dish with a lid or foil.  Bake for 1 to 1.5 hours or until the meat is cooked.

**This dish is great frozen and reheated.  And depending on the size of the cabbages and the size of your casserole dish, you can easily make to dishes with this, eat one and freeze the other for another great meal!  This dish can easily serve 6-8 people.


*Click "Add New Comment" below to leave a cooking suggestion about this Polish Recipe or Polish Recipes in general.  We want your feedback!


Thank you!

I have celiac disease and am also allergic to rice. My Babka & the rest of the family always used rice in their meat filling. I have been using quinoa but I'm going to try the buckwheat. I never thought about it and it sounds great! thank you! Cindy

Polish Foods

Thank you for sharing this recipe. I just made it, it is in the oven and oh my! My husbands mother is 100% polish and his grandparents. He was raised on Polish foods and as his wife I want to attempt to make some of the fabulous dishes his mother and grandmother made. This recipe comes very close he said!

Thanks for letting us know

Thanks for letting us know Terrie!

Golubki gets easier when you remove the leaves like this

Here's a hint I received from my husband's aunt that makes removing the boiled cabbage leaves easy and preserves them as large full leaves ready for filling. Let the cabbage cool after boiling. With a pointed knife, cut out the center core/stem area. You can then very easily remove the leaves and keep them relatively intack.

Like my mother and grandmother made!

Only recipe I have found online that so closely reproduces the golombki from my 100% Polish relatives. The cayenne is different, but I love hot foods from other countries, particularly Mexico, so was just fine with me!!! I have always said that my people came from a small southern Polish town on the border with Mexico! :-) Thank you!

Thank You!

Hi Jacek,

Thank you for the feedback!  I agree, Polish food does not need to be bland like everyone thinks.  Not spicy either, but I do think there is a happy medium.  You can also use paprika or a mild chili pepper for those who are sensitive.  So glad you are enjoying the recipe!  

Thanks for this article

Excellent post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed! Very helpful information particularly the last part :) I care for such information much. I was seeking this certain information for a long time.  Thank you and good luck.


This is what i was looking for, awsome article

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