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Cabbage Rolls

  • Serves: 8
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 1 hr
  • Calories: 473
Homemade beef and sausage cabbage rolls with bacon on a plate

Stuffed with pork sausage and ground beef, then wrapped in cabbage leaves and baked to perfection, Natalie’s grandma’s cabbage rolls recipe is as classic and perfect as can be.

Cabbage Rolls: A Beloved Family Recipe

Today we’re sharing a recipe that’s close to the heart. This particular stuffed cabbage roll recipe—called galumpkis in our family—comes straight from Natalie’s Polish grandma, who made these often and always, always had these cabbage rolls on the table on Easter Sunday. She and Natalie’s mom would double the recipe, which meant the family would be eating Polish cabbage rolls for days and no one ever complained (except when the cabbage rolls were finally gone.) Straight from her recipe card–unchanged, not modernized, upgraded or otherwise fussed with. Just the very best, classic cabbage rolls we’ve ever had. Yeah, there’s ketchup in that ingredients list, and yes, we absolutely stand by it. Why? Because you don’t mess with perfection. And, between us, ketchup is an underrated ingredient! Particularly if you buy a nicer brand, ketchup is a terrific “secret” ingredient. It’s loaded with spices, has a hint of sweetness and usually a good little zing to it, too. Major bang-for-buck. We call the galumpkis in our family.

bacon, cabbage, ground beef and ground sausage, onions, white rice, ketchup and garlic for homemade cabbage rolls
ground beef and pork sausage browned with onion in a dutch oven
ground beef and pork sausage browned with onion, white rice, tomato paste and ketchup in a dutch oven
ground beef and pork sausage browned with onion, white rice, tomato paste and ketchup mixed together in a dutch oven

Everything You’ll Need to Make the Best Polish Cabbage Rolls

Hearty, tomato cabbage rolls stuffed with a mix of pork sausage and beef are pure Polish comfort food. Like all of the best comfort food in the world, they’re not fancy and the ingredient list is as humble and familiar as the dish itself. Here’s what you’ll need to make it:

  • Green cabbage

  • Ground beef

  • Pork sausage

  • White onion

  • Garlic

  • White rice

  • Tomato paste

  • Ketchup

  • Bacon

a boiled head of cabbage in a strainer
1 leaf boiled cabbage with beef, sausage, rice and tomato filling
1 leaf boiled cabbage with beef, sausage, rice and tomato filling
homemade cabbage roll on a cutting board

How to Make Cabbage Rolls

Cabbage rolls aren’t the absolute simplest thing ever, but they’re not super hard to make and once you’ve got the hang of them, you’ll be cranking them out like a pro! It’s also easy to double this recipe if you’re feeding a big crowd or hoping for leftovers. Cabbage rolls are great leftover—their rich, savory, meaty goodness just intensifies as they sit. Here’s how to make the very best cabbage rolls of all:

  1. Boil the cabbage! Yep, boil it whole! You need the leaves to be nice and pliable.

  2. Make the pork and beef mixture that’ll fill stuffed cabbage rolls! Cook the meats until they’re done with onions and garlic, then add the rice and tomato paste.

  3. Prep the cabbage leaves by peeling them carefully off the head.

  4. Wrap the meat filling in the cabbage leaves! Nice and tight, and lay them in the baking dish.

  5. Brush each roll with ketchup and top them with bacon.

  6. Bake!

homemade cabbage rolls in a baking dish ready to be baked
homemade cabbage rolls in a baking dish brushed with ketchup ready to be baked
homemade cabbage rolls in a baking dish brushed with ketchup ready to be baked topped with bacon
homemade cabbage rolls with bacon and ketchup in a baking dish

Tools You’ll Need

homemade Polish cabbage rolls with bacon and ketchup in a baking dish
homemade cabbage rolls with bacon and ketchup on a plate with a fork and knife

More Cabbage Recipes To Try

homemade cabbage rolls with bacon and ketchup on a plate with a fork and knife

Just Like Grandma Used to Make

We hope this traditional Polish stuffed cabbage roll recipe finds its way into your heart. It’s greatly beloved in Natalie’s home, and we’re so excited to share it with you today. When you make it, let us know how you like it, OK? Share a photo and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so that we can see your stuff! Happy eating!

Cabbage Rolls

  • Serves: 8
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 1 hr
  • Calories: 473

Ingredients

  • 1 Large head of green cabbage, core removed (we used savoy)
  • 1 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lbs Ground beef, 80/20
  • 1/2 lb Ground pork sausage, mild
  • ¼ cup White onion, finely minced
  • 4 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp Sea salt
  • ½ tsp Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups Cooked white rice
  • 12 oz Tomato paste
  • 1 cup Ketchup
  • 6 Strips bacon

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. Add the cored head of cabbage, cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook cabbage until just tender, about 10 minutes. Using two large spatulas, remove the cabbage head from the pot and transfer to a large plate. Allow to cool completely.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add in ground beef, sausage and onions and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until meat is cooked through and onions are soft, about 8 minutes. Add in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes longer. Season meat mixture with salt and pepper and remove from heat.
  4. Add the cooked white rice along with tomato paste to the meat mixture and stir until combined.
  5. Carefully peel the leaves away from the cabbage head. Scoop 1/2 - 3/4 cup filling and place it in the center of one cabbage leaf. Fold the bottom half over the filling and then tuck the sides in. Carefully roll the cabbage over. Lay the cabbage roll seam side down in a 9x13 baking dish. Repeat with remaining cabbage leaves until the filling is all used, makes about 12 rolls.
  6. Brush the rolls with ketchup and lay strips of bacon on top of the ketchup. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 15 minutes until bacon is crisp.

Note: These can be prepped a day ahead. Just cover and refrigerate until ready to bake.