Nothing Says Love Like Cabbage

I come from an area with a centuries-old mash-up of different cultures. With so many different nationalities in one location for so many years, it’s not entirely surprising that foods from all of those cultures become part of the normal repertoire. For me, that’s the case with Polish food.

Pierogis and kielbasa (better known in that region as keilbasi) are a common treat. But a favorite and easy dish that my family has been making for years is golumpkis.

There are plenty of recipes out there for how to make them, but here’s my family’s multigenerational go-to version fit for a crockpot.



Golumpkis with cheese pierogis



  • 1 lb (or more) ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced
  • kosher salt
  • pepper
  • garlic
  • head of cabbage with large leaves
  • crushed tomatoes (large can)
  • cooked rice or quinoa

First is an option. If you feel like messing with it and want your golumpkis to be beautifully rolled, boil the cabbage for a few minutes until the leaves are tender. Otherwise, no one’s going to notice how beautifully rolled they are because they’ll fall apart anyways.

In either case, next brown the meat with the onions, garlic, kosher salt, and pepper to taste. Make sure it’s fully browned before removing from heat.

Next, if you want to add cooked rice or (the newly discovered option) quinoa, mix it in with the meat in a separate bowl so that the ingredients will be even in each golumpki. You can also just stuff it with meat and eat rice or quinoa (or pierogis) as a side. It’s good both ways.

Now it’s time to roll a golumpki. Lay out a (cooked or uncooked) cabbage leaf. If the leaves are uncooked, peel them off of the head as gently as you can, attempting to avoid tears. If it does tear, no biggie. It can still be easily wrapped. Spoon the meat mixture into the leaf. Two or three tablespoons is usually a good amount. Then fold the leaves towards the base (where the leaf met the cabbage head). Lay in the crockpot, fold side down.


If the leaves tear or become too small, they can be sandwiched together and tucked between other golumpkis.

Once all of the golumpkis are rolled, cover with the crushed tomatoes and add a little more kosher salt for more flavor.

Cook on low in the crockpot for 5+ hours and enjoy!

Do you have any multigenerational family recipes that you love or use often?


2 responses to “Nothing Says Love Like Cabbage

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