Cabbage Rolls (also known as Holubtsi, Holupzi, Krautwickel or Golompkies)

Holubtsi is a Ukrainian word meaning "little pigeons". In addition to being a popular family dish, Holubtsi are an essential part of the Ukrainian Christmas Eve meal. Filling for these cabbage rolls vary, but the most popular remains a meat and rice combination topped with tomato sauce and sour cream.


Cabbage Rolls Recipe #1

Sauerkraut Style Cabbage Rolls

(Courtesy GGD member Kathy Enders) " Because rice was the main ingredient, we called them RICE ROLLS, rather than cabbage rolls. We didn't measure the ingredients, but "winged it" when making them, using as much as needed at the time to fit the occasion. Therefore I haven't included any actual hard measurements. You'll have to just try it out, and adjust according to your tastes and needs!" -----

  • Take a medium head of cabbage and freeze it. When ready to make the cabbage rolls, take it out of the freezer about a day in advance. If not completely thawed, put it into a sinkful of lukewarm water to thaw the leaves and make them limp. Base the amounts needed for the rest of the recipe on how big your cabbage was, so that you will use up the leaves!
  • Chop some onions, as many as suits your taste, and fry them until almost clear.
  • Stir in a bunch of ham, chopped into tiny bits, and continue frying until the onions are clear.
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Combine with uncooked rice to make about a 80% rice, 10% onions and 10% ham mixture.
  • Add enough sauerkraut so that you see the threads spread thinly and evenly, but they should not be overwhelming... you want enough to give the taste, but not be the major ingredient.
  • Empty a can of sauerkraut on the bottom of a roasting pan.
  • Scoop some of the rice mix into a cabbage leaf and roll together. Lay the cabbage roll on the sauerkraut.
  • Repeat until all the cabbage rolls are in the roaster.
  • Cover all rolls with another can of sauerkraut. Add water to level of top of rolls and put the lid on the roaster.
  • Put the roaster in the oven and slow cook at about 325 degrees until the cabbage rolls are done. This could take two to three hours.
  • Pull away the sauerkraut, and serve the rolls.

Cabbage Rolls Recipe #2

(courtesy GGD member Murray Gauer)
"My family also "winged it" when we made "Holopchi" (sic) but for those of you who need a exact recipe here is a version of cabbage rolls from my collection. I didn't learn that there was anything "special" about Holubsti and Perogies until I was well into adulthood. I just thought everyone ate like we did. :-)"  

12    lg. cabbage leaves
1     lb. ground meat (1/3 lb. beef+1/3 lb. veal+1/3 lb. pork)
1     tsp. salt
1/2   tsp. pepper
1 1/2 cup cooked rice
1     egg
1     sm. onion, chopped fine
1/2   tsp. poultry seasoning or thyme
2     tbsp. cooking oil
2     (8 oz.) cans tomato sauce
1     tbsp. brown sugar
1     tbsp. lemon juice or vinegar

Cover cabbage leaves with boiling water and let stand 5 minutes or until limp; drain. Combine ground meat, salt, pepper, rice, egg, onion, and poultry seasoning. Place equal portions of meat mixture in center of each leaf. Fold sides of each leaf over meat, roll up and fasten with toothpicks. Brown in hot oil. Pour in tomato sauce, sugar, water, and lemon juice and stir. Simmer 1 hour or bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. May add 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs and 1/2 cup of milk in the meat mixture.

Cabbage Rolls Recipe #3

(Courtesy L. Mayer)
 Available in German at this link (an archived version of, with pictures!)