Mennonite Girls Can Cook is a collection of recipes which were posted daily for a period of ten years from 2008 to 2018. We have over 3,000 delicious recipes that we invite you to try. The recipes can be accessed in our recipe file by category or you can use the search engine.

Recipe Search

Cabbage Rolls (Holubtsi)

This recipe takes me back to my Mom's kitchen and early years of marriage when I wanted to make something fancy. We called them Galopse ( a variation of the Polish name for them, while others call them by the Ukranian, Holuptsi). Although we don't have these that often any more, (mainly because we have so much to choose from today) I still do enjoy that "comfort food" flavor. It's a good make-ahead meal because they are always good re-heated. Cabbage rolls are great for pot-lucks and very economical. This recipe makes 12-18 rolls. Sometimes I form a few meatballs for those who don't care for the cabbage.


Rolls / Filling:
  • 1 head Savoy cabbage
  • 1- 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 grated onion
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups cooked rice
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • ½ chopped onion
  • ½ chopped pepper, any color
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 4 cups water (approx)
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube (or 2 teaspoons better than bouillon)
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste (according to taste)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 can tomato soup (optional) 
  • 1 bay leaf
  1. Place cabbage in a large pot of boiling water and peel off leaves as they become soft. Set aside. If you are using regular cabbage, cut around the core before placing it in the water.
  2. In a large frying pan, cook onion and pepper in a small amount of oil until tender. 
  3. Mix flour and half of the water in a sealed container until well blended and add to onion/peppers. While cooking, add the rest of the water and stir until smooth and bubbly. Add bouillon and tomato paste. For more sauce, mix more flour and water and add another bouillon cube for flavor. Adjust amounts according to desired consistency and add salt and pepper according to taste.
  4. Mix raw meat, salt, pepper, onion, sour cream and cooked rice. Place a few tablespoons of meat mixtureonto each leaf, fold ends and roll up. Place close together in roaster.
  5. Pour sauce over cabbage rolls, tuck in bay leaf and bake at 350° F for 1 1/2 hours. 
  6. Once cooked, remove rolls to serving plate. If there is not enough gravy, add a can of tomato soup to the liquids in the roaster and bring to boil. With the soup you can also adjust flavors by adding some milk or cream.


  1. Thank you thank you thank you thank you....I was so hoping someone would post this...Thanks Anneliese. I have never made it with Savoy cabbage before but it makes sense,....the cabbage leaves are MUCH more flexible and the colour is better too. Thanks again. My guys love this and it is such a family memory 'tugger'. What family has not had cabbage rolls and mashed potatoes awaiting them after a cool winter's day out and about, eh? Good Grief...Canadian 'eh' as well as German!

  2. Anneliese. .. this is one of my favorite dishes. Your meat part is almost exactly what I'd do but I'm interested to try your sauce. I usually do tomatoe soup and V8 juice and that's about it. .
    I do have a really good hint about the cabbage. I buy the cabbage several days before I'm making the cabbage rolls, stick it in the freezer overnight and then the next day take it out and let it thaw. . .voila. . the leaves are wilted and ready to make into the rolls. I learned this a few years ago and have never boiled them since.
    I'm so hungry for them now. . it's a must do next week. I love making them when the cabbbage is fresh.

  3. I love cabbage rolls and have always thought they were too complicated to attempt. But this recipe looks pretty simple! Now if I could only convince my family to love cabbage rolls. I wouldn't want to eat an entire batch of them myself!

  4. super...thanks Lovella for that great idea....hmmm...My mom used to put her sprinkled shirts in the freezer before ironing them but I never heard of the cabbage before rolling them...thanks for the tip!

  5. One of my families favorites. We call them Goluptzi. Your recipe is similar to my moms. Yum!

  6. Ellen, that's what my family called them (sort of like Goluptze')and I thought we must be the only ones! Maybe it is a German version as opposed to Ukranian?
    Lovella, My mil told me years ago about the cabbage in the freezer, but I guess I didn't trust it or didn't think about it in time. Good to be reminded.
    Most people do use tomato soup, but I think it wasn't available where my Mom learned to cook, so they had to make their own.

    1. Anneliese, yes, we call this dish " golubzy" But it is very ukraininan as dish and the name it is given. Golubzy mean "doves" (as birds) may be because this rolles are "snuggled" together in a dish as we say "Snuggled as loving doves".:-D My both parents were from Ukraine/Poland. My mom used to cook it, not very often, because this dish considered to be somewhat time consuming with all that cabbage boiling etc.(much faster is to stuff the pepper with the same filling, and sauce if you like) I would not freeze the cabbage though as it is, in my opinion, changes the flavour. As for the sauce, I guess the tomato soup is somewhat a shortcut to put dish together....We usually did sauce in the following way: sautee finely choped onion, when soft add grated carrot, then a small can of tomato paste (or 600-700 of fresh tomato when in season), add, salt and pepper, cook for 5 minuts. Sauce ready to be poured over the dish. Anneliese, I am very glad to find your blog, many interesting recipes and information here. Thank you for all the hard work you do to put blog together.

    2. Thank you for the translation! I like that!

  7. I am a bad Mennonite and could be shunned for this but I do not like cabbage rolls.
    When my mom made them when I was younger she would always made a few for me and my brother without the cabbage. Basically meat patties. We'd smother them with ketchup!

  8. Cabbage rolls..yummy! I also freeze the cabbage ahead of time, it works really well. I have never tried it with Savoy cabbage, I will next time.
    I also want to try your sauce!

  9. Thanks for this recipe. i need afdew casserole type meals for the next two weeks and this one will be doubled, and loved by all. Such a good comfort food. You are busy in your kitchen these days I see. Your pictures are wonderful. Kathy

  10. I can't believe how internet can make us all feel so close. Here I am in Indonesia looking at my Mom's food in her kitchen! Is there anyway that you ship these foods internationally?!?! :-)

  11. Thanks for the cabbage roll recipe!I have never used savoy cabbage but will do so the next time I make them. I have a cabbage in the freezer right now. I usually use V8 juice for the sauce and have never tried sour cream in the meat mixture. Sounds delicious! Thanks again. This is my first time as I just discovered this website.

  12. Very similar to mine and my family loves them! I've also done it as a lazy man's (woman's) cabbage rolls. In a large roaster put the shredded cabbage on the bottom, layer the meal balls (with or without rice) on top, the drizzle the sauce over everything. Same cooking temp. and time. Depends on how much you have made. Delish...

  13. I'm making these right now (with a few variations) but the sauce tastes just like I remember cabbage rolls tasting! Mmmm.... They are baking at the moment- can't wait to eat them!!

    Question- do they freeze well? Would you freeze them before or after baking them?

    I tried the frozen cabbage thing... worked great!

  14. I made these today. What a wonderful recipe. Savoy cabbage is so much easier to work with than regular cabbage. I also tried to freeze the cabbage-I liked that idea. I substituted plain joghurt for sour cream in the meat filing. For the sauce I used 3 cups of water and one cup of 10% cream. I also added shredded carrots to the sauce.