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Flashback Friday - Goluptsi

We grew up enjoying Golubtsi, Голубцы, a Russian version of cabbage rolls. I didn’t develop a taste for cabbage until my adult years so I’d peel off the cabbage and just enjoy the filling. Today I really enjoy cabbage in all it’s cooked or uncooked forms! Once you get the cabbage leaves ready to go this is a simple recipe to make. This is my mother's version. There are many other recipes that differ from hers. This was first posted in 2011 here.

  • 1 head of cabbage
  • 2 pounds ground beef, 15% fat or higher
  • 1-1/2 cups cooked rice cooled
  • 1/2 onion, grated
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 can condensed tomato soup, (approx. 10-3/4 ounces)
  • 1- 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups sour cream
  • 2 cups water

  1. Core the cabbage leaving it whole.
  2. Boil the head of cabbage in a pot of water until leaves separate easily.
  3. Drain leaves and let them cool while you prepare the filling.
  4. Combine the ground beef, rice, onion, salt, pepper, and parsley.
  5. Once the leaves are cool enough to handle you can trim some of the thick vein of the cabbage leaf to make it easier to fold.
  6. Place about 1/3 cup of ground beef mixture onto a cabbage leaf and fold edges over and roll up.
  7. Place in baking dish with folded seams down.
  8. Continue until you use up the ground beef mixture and cabbage leaves.
  9. Saute the chopped onion in a little oil until it is translucent.
  10. Add soup, tomato sauce, ketchup, and water, mix well and bring to a boil.
  11. Add a little of this sauce to the sour cream to temper it and then add the sour cream mixture to the sauce and mix well.
  12. Pour the sauce over the cabbage rolls.
  13. Bake in a 350 degree oven for an hour or longer, till hamburger is fully cooked.
  14. Yield: 12-18 Cabbage Rolls depending on size of your meat balls.
Serve with your favorite green side dish and some good bread to soak up the sauce!
You may need two baking dishes to accommodate more than 12 rolls.
While the whole head of cabbage is cooking in the pot I use tongs to remove the leaves gradually as they start to release from the head of cabbage and put them on a kitchen towel to cool. I keep checking as I prepare the other steps in the recipe.
I use a sharp paring knife to trim the vein starting in the center of the thick vein away from me to the outer thicker part of the vein.
One of our sons doesn’t tolerate milk products so I made a small batch of the Golubtsi and covered them with the sauce before I added the sour cream to the rest of the sauce. We find that using hamburger that is 15% fat or more is better for these as the meat that has less fat in it can be dry.


  1. I have not made this for a very long time. I am going to have to do it! For smaller families (I am a widow and for most of the year I am a family of 1), freeze the cabbage rolls individually and the sauce in small portions. Then take out what you need when you need it. My mom did this all the time after all us kids left home. She would also throw in some carrots and potatoes with the rolls and bake it all together. Only one thing to wash at the end of a meal.

  2. My beloved Aunt gave me this recipe for "shredded" goluptsi...eliminates all the rolling and
    the combining ingredients with one another gives a more even and tasty dish....

  3. I like how you call them Goluptsi - that is what they were called in our home (with the "i" and the end sounding like "say"), when I did not know it was Russian. I like the addition of sour cream.

  4. This looks so good. The sauce sounds delicious and creamy. Cabbage rolls or Goluptsi is always a favourite for taking to pot-lucks too.

  5. My mother-in-law used to make these a lot! I've made cabbage rolls before, but I find that it just takes so much time. So, I found a wonderful recipe for cabbage casserole. It is the same ingredients, but I bake it in a 9" square pan instead of rolling up leaves. I think I am going to try them again, your recipe sounds delicious! Thanks!


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