Stuffed cabbage leaves or Golubtsy

European one-pot meal. Be aware – it’s labor-intensive but totally worth it! It is a wonderfully flavored, rich, nutritious, and well-balanced meal – all in one pot. While this recipe takes time, it will yield 15-20 good-sized portions to be eaten immediately or frozen for later. You can think of it as making dumplings. The difference is that instead of wrapping the meat in dough, you wrap it in cabbage leaves. So much better for us!

Health Benefits Of Cabbage

Cabbage belongs to the Brassica family, along with broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, and cauliflower. Like its relatives, cabbage is high in anti-cancer and detoxifying sulfur-containing compounds. It is also very high in vitamins K and C and a good source of beta-carotene.
People traditionally used raw cabbage leaves to reduce swelling, for example, engorged breasts in breastfeeding mothers! In addition, raw cabbage juice is an excellent folk remedy to heal stomach ulcers. Contemporary research backs up these old healing claims, confirming the effectiveness of raw cabbage juice for healing ulcers.

stuffed cabbage leaves

Golubtsy – Stuffed cabbage leaves


2lb ground beef, grass fed
1lb ground lamb
1 head white cabbage
4 lamb shoulders blades, lamb chops bone in
1 ½ cup quinoa or rice
1 big onion, sliced
5-6 garlic cloves, minced
1 big bunch dill, parsley, cilantro or a combination of each, minced
1 big tomato, sliced or 1 cup Second Chance Tomatoes
Olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


For the cabbage:

  1. Boil the head of cabbage in a pot of water for about 10 minutes to separate the cabbage leaves and make them soft and pliable. Then, take the cabbage out and let it cool off for 10 minutes, reserving the water.
  2. Turn the cabbage over and cut the individual cabbage leaves at the stem. You can do this one leaf at a time, starting with the outer-most leaf, or all at once as if cutting the core out of a tomato.
  3. After taking 10-15 leaves off, you might find that the inside of the cabbage is undercooked, and the leaves are not soft enough to come off the cabbage stem easily. In that case, place the under-cooked part of the cabbage back into the water and boil for another 5 minutes. Repeat the steps above.

For the stuffing:

  1. In a big skillet, sauté onions in olive oil for about 5 minutes, until golden.
  2. Rinse the quinoa or rice and add it to the onions, mixing together. Add enough cabbage water to cover the mixture, reduce the heat, and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  3. In a big bowl, combine ground meat, garlic, half of the bunch of herbs, and the onion/quinoa or onion/rice mixture. Add salt (2 tsp) and pepper and mix well. Use your hand at the end to ensure even distribution.
Putting it all together:
  1. Warm up some oil in a big pot and slightly brown the lamb chops on high heat, 3-4 minutes on each side. Turn off the heat.
  2. Take a cabbage leaf and place some stuffing in the middle, ensuring you have enough cabbage on all sides to tuck in. Roll up, starting with the end of the leaf where it was attached to the stem.
  3. Place each cabbage roll in the pot on top of the lamb chops.
  4. Continue rolling cabbage leaves and packing them tightly into the pot until you use up all the stuffing and leaves. You might have 2 or 3 layers of cabbage rolls.
  5. Pour the leftover cabbage water into the pot with the stuffed cabbage leaves, just to cover them, and bring to a boil; make sure to skim off the impurities if they rise to the top of the pot. Lower the heat, add the tomatoes and simmer for about 45 minutes.
  6. Taste the broth and adjust the seasoning. Sprinkle the rest of the fresh herbs and take off the heat. Serve with sour cream or crème fraÎche. Enjoy with Pickled Carrots with Ginger or Crunchy Dill Pickles.
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