Holubtsi, or stuffed cabbage rolls, are a Ukrainian staple. This meal has a long history, and like many European recipes, every mom and grandma makes it her own way.
Serve them with a side of bread, mashed potatoes or enjoy them simply on their own. They're freezer-friendly, too!
- 1 large green cabbage head
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small red bell pepper, roughly chopped
- 2 medium carrots, roughly chopped
- 1 1/3 cup cooked lentils
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup cooked brown rice
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 cans (14.10 ounces) diced tomatoes
- 2 to 4 cups vegetable stock
- 2 dried bay leaves
- Salt (to taste)
- Remove core and outer leaves of the cabbage head.
- Fill a large pot with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Place the cabbage head inside and cover.
- Let it steam until the outer layer of leaves are translucent and pliable.
- Remove the cabbage and place in a large colander. Remove leaves carefully to prevent tearing. Let them dry while you make the filling.
- Place chopped onion, bell pepper and carrots in a food processor with the S blade. Pulse them until you have a finely chopped consistency.
- Sauté the vegetables in a large skillet on medium-high heat until liquid has evaporated.
- Add olive oil and sauté for a couple more minutes.
- Add in the rest of the filling ingredients to the skillet and mix well. Take off the heat and set aside.
- In a large pot on medium-high heat, sauté the onion in olive oil until translucent and fragrant.
- Add the diced tomatoes and tomato paste, stir well and let it simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Note: The vegetable broth and bay leaves will be added later.
Assemble the Rolls:
- With a pairing knife, cut and remove the center rib from a cabbage leaf.
- Rib side up, scoop ⅓-½ cup of the filling mixture onto the leaf. For easy rolling, place the filling about a couple of inches towards the middle. Then shape the filling into a compact form.
- Roll the leaf over the filling and gently pull it towards you to make a tight and neat roll. Bring in the sides of the leaf over the middle, then roll it tightly like a burrito.
- Repeat this process for each leaf.
Cook the rolls:
- Ladle 1 cup of tomato sauce into the bottom of a 13x9 casserole dish.
- Place the cabbage rolls side by side in the dish. Nest bay leaves under or between each roll.
- Pour enough vegetable stock to into the baking dish until it comes half-way up the sides of the the cabbage rolls.
- Cover with foil and bake on 350 for 1 hour.
- Remove the foil and bake for another 30 minutes. Check occasionally to make sure the liquid hasn’t completely evaporated. Add more if needed.
- Remove bay leaves, then serve!