Cabbage Rolls – Holubtsi

Cabbage Rolls – Holubtsi

These Cabbage Rolls – Holubtsi has its roots in the Ukrainian dishes of my family using traditional inexpensive ingredients.

This post was originally written after Thanksgiving in 2010. I am reposting as we are only 2 weeks away from Easter and Cabbage Rolls are a dish we enjoy with every holiday meal. The version using whipped cream would be the perfect accompaniment to your Easter Ham.

Well Thanksgiving has come and gone.

It blew in with some fierce west winds over the rockies and took out the power in my town for most of the day.

I tossed around the idea of BBQing the turkey.

Deep frying it was not really an option in 95 km an hour winds. Burning down the neighbourhood is not on my list of things to do, at least not for Thanksgiving. Thats more along the lines of Halloween night fun! Or an April Fools Day stunt gone bad.

Plus, I am a die hard stuffing fan so I made the executive decision…….we would eat out … postpone supper until the next day. Besides,  really for myself, one of  the best parts of the day is the wonderful aroma of roasted turkey filling the house!

I took advantage of the delay to get the holubtsi done early.

Being the good Ukrainian girl that I am, it is not a proper holiday meal without cabbage rolls. Nice tiny 2 bite ones, made with sour cabbage for that extra level of flavour!

Cabbage Rolls from Nutmeg Disrupted

Recently I have been baking them 2 ways, one the traditional way, with tomato soup but took the idea from the Nalysnyky I love so much and started cooking them with dill and cream.

Cabbage Rolls from Nutmeg Disrupted

They are so nice, and a great change from the traditional way I am used to them. They have a creamy texture and the dill flavour really comes through and the cream cuts the sourness of the cabbage.

Cabbage Rolls - Holubtsi
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: Ukrainian Traditional
  • 1 head of cabbage
  • 2-3 cups of vinegar
  • 3 cups of Minute rice or any long grain white rice you prefer
  • 1 lb. of bacon (chopped)
  • 1 large white onion (chopped)
  • ¼ cup of butter or margarine
  • Pepper to taste
  1. Remove the core from the cabbage using a sharp knife.
  2. Place the cabbage cored side down in a large pot, add the 2 cups of vinegar and enough water to cover the cabbage.
  3. Bring the water to a simmer over medium heat.
  4. Once the cabbage leaves start to separate from the head, carefully using tongs, remove the leaves. Once all the leave are separated from the head allow to cool.
  5. In a pot make the rice according to package directions.
  6. Once rice is done move it to a large mixing bowl and add the butter and pepper.
  7. Meanwhile in a skillet fry the bacon and onion until cooked through but not crunchy.
  8. Once the bacon and onions are cooked pour over the rice, drippings included. Stir well to combine thoroughly.
  9. Take a cabbage leaf and split it down the center removing the tough rib part.
  10. If the leaves are large, slice the half of the cabbage leaf in half again.
  11. Place a large teaspoon of the filling at one end of the leaf and roll up tucking in the sides.
  12. Repeat with the remaining leaves and filling.
  13. Layer the cabbage rolls in a greased casserole dish.
  14. You can dot with butter, cover with foil and bake in a 325*F over for 1 ½ hours.
  15. The way we make them is using 1 can of tomato soup mixed with a half can of water and poured over the casserole.
  16. Bake for the same amount of time but place foil under the dish as it will cook over!
  17. And most recently I have been baking them with 1½ cups of whipping cream, with a tsp of fresh chopped dill and 2 tablespoons of butter.
  18. Combine and pour over the cabbage rolls.
  19. Cover with foil. Bake for 1½ hours.

If you are freezing your cabbage rolls you can do it a few different ways :

#1:   line a cookie sheet with foil and spray lightly with Pam. Place a the cabbage rolls onto the cookie sheet and pop in the freezer. Once the rolls are frozen place in a ziplock freezer bag.

#2:   layer the cabbage rolls into a freezer safe container, preferably one that can go straight into the oven. Cover with plastic wrap then with foil.

Of course, that is just a small part of my Thanksgiving feast!


Published by Redawna

Cannabis, Garden & Food Writer/Educator/Photographer. SMM in the Cannabis space. Management Professional. Community Builder. Entrepreneurial spirit.

23 Replies on “Cabbage Rolls – Holubtsi

  1. Do you have a cabbage borscht recipe? About the cabbage rolls: although I know how to make them and have done so in years past, I now cop out and making Lazy Cabbage Rolls, and I do not use canned soup because of the salt content. I make a no salt canned tomatoes sauce, with dill. Then bake. I really can’t taste the difference. Lazy Cabbage Rolls? Layer cabbage leaves with rice (and ground meat if you wish). Pour sauce over and serve hot or cold. How I love cold cabbage rolls and cold borscht. With the latter I do bring out the Smetana.

  2. Depending on the size of the cabbage it usually get 3-4 of those 6×4 foil freezer containers.
    Often when making cabbage rolls I like to do a big batch and make a days project so I have many to go into the freezer.
    It can be a messy job, I like to make it worth while!

  3. Good morning!

    You freeze them without the cream.

    I’d love to hear what you think about them when you get the chance to enjoy them. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. I am making and freezing them today. Do you add the cream before freezing or on the day you are going to cooked them in the oven? Thanks! They look great.

  5. Hey Shalane,

    They are rolled, put into containers and then frozen. I do not cook them until they are needed. I think if you were to cook then freeze them they would be very mushy when you reheat them.

    If you have any more questions let me know!

  6. Hey there, I was going to make a whole bunch and freeze them do you cook them first and then freeze them ore freeze them after assembling them?

  7. Teresa,

    Thank you for your comments! I may have to give your
    method for handling the cabbage as well. It sounds a bit
    easier but my concern is getting enough vinegar into them
    through the sauce.
    After a bit of convincing I got my family to
    try cabbage rolls with cream & dill in place of the tomato and it has become a favourite way
    of eating them now.

    I look forward to giving it a try.

    Thank you for stopping by.

  8. This is how my mother-in-law taught me to make cabbage rolls, with just a few differences. I remove the core of the cabbage, rinse well under running water and then pop in a plastic bag and freeze. when it thaws, the leaves are all limp, just like sour cabbage. To give it that ‘sour’ taste I add some vinegar and a bit of dry mustard to the tomato soup mixture. I also sometimes add dill to the rice mixture for something a bit different.

    Will have to try your method for handling the cabbage though – sounds interesting.

  9. Mine weren’t nearly as beautiful looking, but the taste….wow! I froze three casserole dishes full of them for the holidays. We cooked the fourth…. delish! Thanks for this recipe. Love love love them…

  10. Irka!

    Thanks for stopping by!!!
    I am just outside of Grande Prairie Alberta, moved here from near Edmonton!

    I hear you about being beat after doing a round of cabbage rolls! I know when I make then I will do 100’s.
    Because you already have the mess, why not, plus, its not a job one wants to do all the time!
    Its good they freeze so well!

    I will head over and check your blog out next!!
    Please do stop in anytime!
    So nice to meet fellow Canadian bloggers!

  11. Hi Redawna……..Funny I should come across your web site. I was just sitting here on the computer waiting for my Holubtsi to finish baking. I still make them the traditional good old Ukie way that Baba taught me…………I made them with 3 huge cabbages, now I’m dead tired. This way I give some to my brothers to take home and my neighbour….and of course I will freeze some.
    Love your photo’s……..I’m from Toronto, where are you from?

    irka 😉

  12. Hi Naomi!

    They are really good if you are a fan of cabbage.
    They are a bit of work but it is worth it.
    They freeze well which is nice, espically if you make a large amount.

    I hope you give them a try!

    Thanks for stopping by!

  13. Dave!!!!!

    Its great seeing you!

    I don’t make them too often but do enjoy them when I do!
    Sometimes is good to get back to ones roots!
    I tend to do that through my cooking!
    Always the foodie!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  14. Thanks Sally!

    I agree, cabbage is wonderful, no matter how it is prepared!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

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