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Vegetarian Polish cabbage rolls recipe

Vegetarian Polish cabbage rolls recipe

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  • Vegetarian meals

This is a vegetarian variation of Polish cabbage rolls, with a filling of buckwheat groats and mushrooms. Healthy and tasty! Serve with mushroom sauce.

3 people made this

IngredientsServes: 6

  • 1 head white cabbage
  • 120g buckwheat groats
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 300g mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon dried marjoram
  • 2 vegetable stock cubes
  • soy sauce to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste

MethodPrep:30min ›Cook:35min ›Ready in:1hr5min

  1. Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Remove the core from the cabbage and place the cabbage into the pot. Remove the outer leaves as they soften. Trim the thick part of the cabbage ribs. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, cook buckwheat groats according to packet directions. Add 1 tablespoon butter, drain and set aside.
  3. In a frying pan heat the oil and saute onion and garlic. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  4. In the same frying pan, melt 1 tablespoon butter and saute mushrooms. Mix in sauteed onion, buckwheat and egg. Season with marjoram, soy sauce, salt and pepper. Mix well.
  5. Line the bottom of a casserole dish with small or torn cabbage leaves. Select larger, whole leaves and spoon about 2 tablespoons stuffing in the centre of each leaf. Fold stem end of cabbage over filling, then fold in sides of cabbage over the stuffing. Roll the cabbage up to form a package, overlapping the ends to seal. Transfer each, seam side down into prepared casserole dish.
  6. Dissolve the stock cubes in 500ml water and pour over cabbage rolls. Add the remaining butter. Cover with remaining cabbage leaves.
  7. Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes over low heat.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(6)

Absolute Best Vegan Cabbage Rolls!

Vegan Cabbage rolls! My vegetarian take on traditional stuffed cabbage recipe made vegan! with impossible meat. Taste just like moms! Perfect easy weeknight comfort food for the whole family. No one will believe it&rsquos meatless!

Ok it&rsquos time for vegan stuffed cabbage rolls!! -YES! -I have been making cabbage rolls for 30+ years. These vegetarian cabbage rolls were adapted from my old school recipe (inspired from My Mother in law❤️)

An absolute breeze to make!! and the wonderful thing -you can freeze left overs for quick and easy meal prep ready in a Jiffy any night of the week!

This recipe is based on the classic Hungarian, ukranian and polish cabbage rolls with tomato sauce (Holubtsi, Golumpki or golabki)- popular in central & eastern European countries. All the recipes vary a bit in regions with ingredients and names, some also contain vegetables and grains

. So if you're looking for vegan cabbage recipes stop right here!! There are no lentils, chickpeas, mushrooms, bulgar needed..

This stuffed vegan cabbage roll recipe is a delicious filling of juicy meatless ground (impossible meat), rice, fried onions, garlic and spices stuffed and rolled in cabbage leaves and baked to perfection in a super flavourful tomato vegetable broth ( tomato sauce is amazing!)

So tasty and simple to make lazy day recipe

Any one who tries these will freak out they're so GOOD!! Yes meat eaters love them too!

For these homemade cabbage rolls I find the best option for vegan ground beef is impossible burger, you can&rsquot even tell the difference! Haven't tested with beyond meat.

I've already made two impossible recipes: vegan meatballs and meatloaf, both totally delicious with this wonderful plant based product! That tastes so real!

-ok read on for ingredient list and how to make stuffed meatless cabbage rolls!&hellip

And don&rsquot worry you won&rsquot miss the can of tomato soup either, vinegar and sugar takes care of that!

Why are Polish Stuffed Cabbage Rolls Called Gołąbki (Little Pigeons)?

First things first, where did the name of this dish come from? It was most likely borrowed from the Ukranian word “hołubci” (gołąbek – single) at the beginning of the XIXth century.

The actual story behind what was inside golabki at first varies. Some sources claim that there were actually stuffed pigeons wrapped in cabbage on royal courts in France. The Poles got jealous of them since for decades stuffed pigeons and other birds like swans were considered a fancy dish, and decided to name their peasant dish with the same name.

Other sources think it’s because in Slavic languages they liked to use names of birds and animals for dishes made of potatoes or bread.

Either way, the middle-class made the dish famous by stuffing cabbage with what they had – kasza (buckwheat) and potatoes. There was no meat or rice in this dish before, like it’s eaten today.

Gołąbki (Polish Stuffed Cabbage)

Polish stuffed cabbage rolls are a classic comfort dish that has been passed from one generation to the next. Called gołąbki (gaw-WOHMP-kee), the term for "little pigeons," the rolls are also known as golumpki and gwumpki. Under any name, they are considered a national dish and are a cherished staple in every home. Many Polish families have a favorite recipe.

The recipe features a filling of ground pork, beef, and rice, nestled in a cabbage leaf. Cooked in the oven until tender, the rolls are fantastic served with mashed potatoes, rye bread with butter, and sweet applesauce—a contrast to the savory filling. Since this dish can be eaten hot or at room temperature, mini cabbage rolls speared with a toothpick are amazing appetizers.

Many Central and Eastern European countries have a version of the dish. Czechs and Slovaks call them holubky, while Serbs and Croatians refer to them as sarma. Some use different grains, some opt for other meats, but all are alike in how they're shaped, and most of these versions use cabbage leaves as a wrapper. Most often, it's the sauce that sets them apart.

Many recipes use tomato sauce to cover the rolls, but this one garnishes them with tangy sour cream instead. This recipe is naturally gluten free—simply check the beef stock's label (unless it's homemade) to be sure there's no added wheat. (Also, if you skip the rice in the filling you've got a keto- and paleo-friendly dish.)

Recipe Summary

  • ⅓ cup uncooked brown rice
  • ⅔ cup water
  • 2 cups textured vegetable protein
  • ¾ cup boiling water
  • 2 (10.75 ounce) cans tomato soup
  • 10 ¾ fluid ounces water
  • 1 large head cabbage, cored
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • ½ carrot, finely chopped
  • ½ red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon white wine
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained, juice reserved
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • 2 pinches cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • 3 drops hot red pepper sauce
  • toothpicks
  • salt and pepper to taste

Place the rice and 2/3 cup water in a pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 40 minutes, until tender. Mix the textured vegetable protein and 3/4 cup boiling water in a medium bowl. Soak 15 minutes, until rehydrated. Mix in the cooked rice.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a bowl, mix the tomato soup and 10 3/4 fluid ounces (1 soup can) water.

Place the cabbage in a pot with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook 15 minutes, until leaves are easily removed. Drain, cool, and separate leaves.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion, carrot, red bell pepper, and garlic. Cook until tender. Mix in wine, and continue cooking until almost all liquid has evaporated. Stir in rice and textured vegetable protein, reserved juice from the tomatoes, egg, and peas. Season with cayenne pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, basil, and hot pepper sauce. Cook and stir until heated through.

On 1 cabbage leaf, place about 2 tablespoons skillet mixture and 1 tomato. Roll tightly, and seal with a toothpick. Repeat with remaining filling. Arrange in a casserole dish. Pour the soup and water over cabbage rolls. Season with salt and pepper.

Cover, and bake 35 minutes in the preheated oven, basting occasionally with the tomato sauce. Remove cover, and continue baking 10 minutes.

I thought the cabbage roll was of Polish origin (called golabki). However after further research, I learned differently. In fact, most European countries, parts of Asia, North Africa and the Americas, all share similar versions of this dish. Wikipedia has an interesting history of each country that definitely worth the read.

The Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (Vegan) recipe is actually very simple. The ingredients are cheap and easy to find. However, the preparation and cooking are time-consuming. It takes about 30 minutes to prepped and another 60-90 minutes to cook. You've been warned.

I usually make this recipe with lean ground beef (90% lean) or ground lamb. We had some vegetarian friends over for dinner one night and I decided to see how Trader Joe's Beef-less ground beef would hold up as a substitute. It's about $2.99 per pound, which is less than 1/2 of what we pay for kosher ground beef.

There are 3 things to note when making this recipe. 1) I already mentioned the recipe is time-consuming (but worth it). 2) Gauging how many servings a head of cabbage can make is a little tricky because the leaves tear if you're not careful. I was able to get 14 usable cabbage leaves from one head of cabbage. This made for 14 rolls, using 1 lb of ground beef, mixed with a cup of rice. 3) Making the cabbage leaves pliable takes patience.

There are two ways to make cabbage leaves tender enough to roll. Start by coring out the hard stem from the cabbage head. Next, either freeze the head overnight or boil it for 10 minutes. Either technique will soften the leaves.

Carefully separate the each layer of leaves. I find it easiest to start with the thicker part near the core and run my fingers under each leaf, slowly pulling it away.

Vegan Cabbage Rolls

Last week two people wrote to me on the same day asking for a recipe for vegan cabbage rolls, and since I’d never made them before, I decided to take that as a sign. I’m always on the lookout for dishes that I haven’t yet cooked, and besides, cabbage is one of the few green vegetables in season this time of year. It seemed like cabbage rolls and I were meant to be.

Of course, I didn’t know at the beginning just how much work was involved in stuffing cabbage. I decided right away that the filling would be lentil-based traditional stuffed cabbage recipes require some kind of ground meat, usually cow or lamb, and I find that a combination of lentils and grain is a good vegetarian replacement. So on Sunday, I cooked my lentils (1 1/4 cup lentils, 3 1/2 cups water, 2 cloves minced garlic, salt and pepper to taste and boil uncovered until tender) and soaked my bulgur wheat (1/3 cup bulgar, 2/3 cup boiling vegetable broth).

Then I noticed that the “whole” cabbage I thought I had in my fridge had, in fact, been partially sacrificed to make last week’s Cabbage Noodle Soup. Since it was too close to dinnertime to run to the store for cabbage and still have time to get dinner on the table, I put the lentils and bulgur into the fridge, asked my Facebook followers to tell me what to make with the contents of my fridge, and threw together a modified Aloo Gobi. Buying and stuffing a cabbage would have to wait until Monday.

When I got home from the grocery store on Monday, with the cabbage and 142 other things my family needs in the average week, I was glad I’d already cooked the lentils and grain. Rolling up the filling in the cabbage leaves turned out to be easier than I expected–cabbage leaves just seem to want to wrap themselves around stuff–but the whole process of making the tomato sauce, boiling the cabbage to get the leaves to come free, and trimming the leaves before stuffing them took longer than I expected.

I could have made the whole process much easier by using canned lentils and jarred tomato sauce, but I think the recipe would have suffered. Of course, if you’re not up for an afternoon of cabbage stuffing adventures, do whatever you can to make this recipe quicker and easier.

Some things are easier to show rather than tell, so in the spirit of “a picture’s worth a thousand words,” here’s 8000 words’ worth of instruction. I’ve made it printable, so just click on the link above it if you’d like to have a copy to keep with the recipe.

Since it was my first time making cabbage rolls, I decided to be conservative and stick to the seasonings in the non-vegetarian recipes I found in cookbooks and online–meaning very little seasoning. As a result, these vegan cabbage rolls are an excellent showcase for the earthiness of the lentils, the sweetness of the roasted tomatoes and raisins, and the, um, cabbaginess of the cabbage. I thought they were delicious as-is, but I’ve added a few seasoning suggestions to the recipe for those of you who like things highly seasoned.


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)

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.

How To Make Stuffed Cabbage Rolls From Scratch

Making traditional Polish Cabbage Rolls is a labor of love, but is so worth every bit of effort. The result is a warm, comforting, zesty and savory dish that is rich with spice and deep earthy flavors.

Try this recipe for Sunday dinner or anytime the family is gathering around the table together for a hearty casual meal.

Of course, the best stuffed cabbage recipe starts with… Cabbage!

Step #1: Prep the Cabbage

Firstly, set a large pot of salted water over high heat, and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, use a paring knife to remove the core from the cabbage. Once the water is boiling, gently lower the cabbage into the boiling water. Boil for 2-3 minutes to soften the leaves. Then use tongs to carefully pull the cabbage out of the boiling water. Set the cabbage on a cutting board and let it cool for a minute. Gently pull the leaves off the cabbage, being careful to not tear them, and lay each leaf flat on the cutting board.

Step #2: Make the Filling

Next, set out a large mixing bowl. Add the pork sausage, ground beef, chopped onion, cooked rice, egg, Worcestershire sauce, and Italian seasoning.

Use your hands to mix the ingredients together until very smooth.

Step #3: Make the Sauce

In another medium bowl, mix together the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, garlic, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, red wine vinegar, hot sauce, and Italian seasoning.

Step #4: Assemble the Crockpot Cabbage Rolls

Now, set our your slow cooker and coat the bottom of the crock with 1 cup of the tomato sauce.

Then, follow these easy steps for stuffing and rolling the perfect Cabbage Rolls every time:

  1. Working one at a time, scoop ¼ cup of the meat filling and place it on a cabbage leaf.
  2. Roll the cabbage leaf like a burrito, tucking the sides inward to enclose the filling.
  3. Place in the slow cooker, seam-side down

Repeat with the remaining leaves and meat filling. Stack the cabbage rolls if needed.

Stuffed Vegan Cabbage Rolls

Stuffed Vegan Cabbage Rolls | Brand New Vegan

Since these are Cabbage Rolls, obviously you are going to need a head of cabbage. I chose a smallish head of green cabbage. You want to remove the stem and as much of that hard, fibrous core as you can. A sharp paring knive and 45 degree cuts do the job. See the video for a visual if you need help.

Then we simply drop the cabbage into a large pot of salted, boiling water and cover. Reduce the heat and let that steam for at least 5 -10 minutes. We’re not looking to cook the cabbage here, just soften the leaves so they fall apart.

Before we move on to the filling, let’s take a minute to talk about the sauce.

The first time I made this recipe, I used my own homemade, oil-free Marinara Sauce. Since I forgot the rice, I had to make it again the next day, and feeling too lazy to make more Marinara, I simply used a 28oz can of Organic Diced Tomatoes.

My advice? Make the Marinara. The tomatoes are good, but man that Marinara is the bomb and really makes these rolls an incredible dish. More work yes, but it really makes this dish.

The Filling

Start the filling with about a cup of diced onions sauteed in a little broth until softened. I then add a little shredded carrot, some mushrooms, and some riced cauliflower, followed by a couple of heaping teaspoons of minced garlic.

For flavoring I added a tablespoon each of low sodium soy sauce and vegan worcestershire sauce.

After everything has cooked down and softened nicely, remove from heat and allow to cool.

Once the filling has cooled to about room temp, add a cup of rice (I used brown), 2 tablespoons of tomato paste (it comes in a tube now), a little seasoning (see recipe box below), a big handful of freshly chopped parsley, 1/4 cup of panko bread crumbs (yes, you can find oil-free panko), and a flax egg.

Tip: To make a flax egg, mix 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed meal with 2 tablespoons of hot water and allow to sit for 1-2 minutes. It will start to turn gelatinous, like an egg white.

Mix well using your utensil of choice, or if you’re feeling frisky – get your hands in there and go to town.

The Assemble

The first outer leaves of the cabbage should be nice and soft by now, so we’ll use these to line the bottom of a 9吉 lasagna dish. Then you can spread a thin, even layer of either the tomatoes or Marinara on top. I also added some sliced white onion for even more flavor – yum.

Before you start rolling your cabbage, you’ll notice at the bottom (stem) end of every leaf is this thick, white, fibrous vein. I cut this out, making a V shape in the bottom of the leaf. They roll better without it. Or you could just shave down the thickness a little bit too.

Then we simply add 2 tablespoons of filling to the bottom of each leaf and roll it up like a burrito, tucking in the sides as we go. Place your cabbage roll, seam side down, in your lasagna dish and repeat.

My dish held 12 cabbage rolls, with just enough cabbage left over to layer over the top, followed by more marinara sauce. I did have a bit of filling left over, but it does taste amazing just the way it is s o don’t waste it.

Cover the whole dish with aluminum foil and bake in a 350° F oven for about 45 minutes.

Serve with fresh parsley for garnish, and/or a dollop of either some Vegan Sour Cream or fresh sauerkraut (love my Bubbies).

So there you have it. My version of Stuffed Vegan Cabbage Rolls. Hope you like it and be sure and let me know how badly I butchered this in the comments below lol. I think it tastes good? But like I said – I have no reference to the original. So…..

Looks like SOS is on the menu for next week, so have an awesome plant-based week and we’ll see you back here next weekend.