Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, European Food for the Soul

Whether it's Eastern European Cabbage Rolls, Middle Eastern stuffed zucchini or Greek stuffed vine leaves, it seems most cuisines have a dish that involves stuffing vegetables with cooked rice and some type of ground meat. It makes sense, particularly in Europe and the Middle East as the trade routes through these countries may have led to recipes being adopted and adapted.

Any which way, we are so glad for this explosion of "stuffed" recipes as they have created some of the most cherished, most delicious home cooking recipes in history. Today we're going to wrap up everything we know about the humble Cabbage Roll; a dish that can be found across tables in over 50 countries including Hungary, Ukraine, France, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Russia and Sweden.


Cabbage Rolls are usually filled with a mix of rice and ground meat

The Many Types of Cabbage Rolls

Cabbage rolls, like all delicious homemade meals, have the power to evoke strong childhood memories. Each country and region, and even family have their own variations that have been cooked a certain way through generations.

From recipes that include different types of meats such as chicken, beef and pork, to all vegetarian recipes, recipes that include a sauce, recipes that don't. It's safe to say that stuffed cabbage rolls have a permanent seat at tables across Europe, and these little parcels of goodness are not going anywhere soon.

Hungarian Cabbage Rolls on the Menu at FoodSt

At FoodSt, we take pride in showcasing traditional and authentic recipes that have been made to our cooks' cherished family recipes, just like Amalia's Hungarian Cabbage Rolls which have been made just the way her Grandmother taught her, and how she makes them for her own family.

Amalia's Hungarian Cabbage Rolls

In Amalia's recipe a fresh head of cabbage is used, the cabbage leaves are boiled, cooled and then filled with a meat mixture of chicken and ground beef, arborio rice, and dill before being rolled and slow-cooked with diced tomatoes and sauerkraut. Amalia proudly makes her own fermented sauerkraut which adds both a tangy flavour and bucketloads of prebiotic goodness.

Amalia's recipe is healthy, completely made from scratch and utterly delicious. It's a delicate flavour offset by the tanginess of sauerkraut and is one of the variations that does not include a lot of sauce.

Amalia, FoodSt Home Cook

Polish Cabbage Rolls, Gołąbki

In Polish cuisine the stuffed cabbage roll recipe, known as Gołąbki is a traditional food that includes ground meat, onion, rice and mushroom cooked in a rich and tangy tomato sauce. According to an article by the Tasting Table, Gołąbki, which translates to "pigeon", is said to have been named after pigeons because its shape resembles that of a pigeon or dove breast. Another theory is that the name comes from the filling variation the dish once contained.

Originally Gołąbki were made with buckwheat groats and a mushroom sauce, but are now traditionally served with a lot of tomato sauce instead.

Gołąbki are served with a rich tomato sauce

Croatian Sarma, Cabbage Rolls Recipe

In Croatia, cabbage rolls are called Sarma and are so popular they can be called the national dish of Croatia. In this variation, the cabbage leaves are pickled before being rolled. The pickled cabbage leaves provide a vinegary, salty taste to compliment the filling of ground beef, pork and rice. Sarma are traditionally served with potatoes and don't come with a sauce.

Croatian Sarma

Recipes for Cabbage Rolls in Bulgarian, Romanian and French Cuisine

Of course there are many more variations of recipes for cabbage rolls, so many of them that it's difficult to list them all! Wouldn't it be great to go on a recipe tasting journey for cabbage rolls across all the countries that serve them!

Here's a little summary of other variations for stuffed cabbage rolls:

In France 'Sou Fassam' is a Provencál version of the stuffed cabbage rolls recipe however in this version, a filling of meat, rice, chard and milk soaked bread is wrapped in cabbage leaves in the shape of a dome and sliced for dramatic effect.

In the Ukraine, these wonderful little parcels are called Holubtsi and contain dried barberries in the filling which adds a tangy, sour taste. Holubtsi are cooked in a tomato sauce and typically served with sour cream. Yum!

Ukrainian Holubtsi


In Iraq, different types of vegetables are stuffed in the classic Iraqi Dolma dish. A head of cabbage is pulled apart and the cabbage leaf is used to wrap a mixture of diced meat, rice, herbs and vegetables before being cooked with molasses, tamarind baharat spice.

So there you have it, a deep dive into many types of stuffed cabbage dishes that have played a huge roles in the lives of many first and second generation Australian's.

If you would like to experience the authentic taste of Cabbage Rolls yourself, you can order Amalia's Bestselling Hungarian Cabbage Rolls here. And if you know anyone that would like to share their amazing Cabbage Rolls with the world by cooking with us, make sure you point them to our Join as a Cook page here.

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