Golumpki, Golabki or Gwumpki - A Delicious Recipe for Cabbage Rolls

Jessie Loves Her Some Golumpkis
Jessie Loves Her Some Golumpkis

My Boyfriend Likes This Recipe More Than Sex!

Seriously, this stuffed cabbage recipe has been perfected over the years. I am Irish, my boyfriend is Polish and he swore that nobody could beat his golumpki recipe. I took up his challenge and he was not a sore loser. He will not even make golumpkis anymore, I have to cook them by the dozens for him. He tells me that he has sweet dreams about my golumpkis and that given the choice between sex and my golumpkis that he would choose the golumpki most of the time.

What is my secret? A standard recipe perfected over time. This stuffed cabbage recipe easily takes a good part of the day to make. The sauce must simmer, the cabbage must be steamed, the meat mix must be prepared, the golumpkis must be rolled and then the golumpkis must be baked. The sauce is one of the key elements for this recipe. Starting with caramelized onions and a lengthy simmer, this sauce is ideal for stuffed cabbage. Unlike a pasta sauce, this sauce is enhanced with flavors that compliment the meat and cabbage in this recipe. Many traditional gwumpki, golumpki or golabki recipes use tomato soup as a base for the sauce. I feel that my sauce tops a tomato soup sauce hands down. Tomato soup goes great with grilled cheese for a quick lunch but perfect golumpkis need a sauce that is more than just soup. This recipe feeds a crowd and is perfect for a holiday meal, church supper or dinner for a crowd.

Preparation is key. I buy disposable aluminum pans ahead of time to bake the stuffed cabbage rolls in. A half size aluminum pan (half the size of a chafing dish) will hold 10 to 12 rolled golumpkis. Cabbage rolls freeze well and the aluminum pans save a little bit of time since the finished recipe can go from the oven to the freezer. Do not let the preparation time put you off. Once you prepare this you will have plenty left to freeze for a future meal. If you like golumkis, you will love this recipe! This recipe will make 5 dozen golumpkis.

Golumpki Making Supplies Checklist

This list is a checklist of essential supplies that will help you create this delicious stuffed cabbage recipe. The ingredients for the golumpki recipe are not included in this checklist. Those will come later in this hub. It helps speed your preparation time to have the following items:

  • Heavy duty aluminum foil
  • Aluminum baking pans
  • 2 large stock pots
  • Covered pan
  • Sharp paring knife
  • Sharp chefs knife
  • Several large mixing bowls
  • Several smaller bowls
  • Colander
  • Tongs
  • A slotted spoon
  • A ladle
  • Wooden spoons
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • A large cutting board
  • Pot holders
  • Paper towels


White Vidalia Onions
White Vidalia Onions
Caramelized Vidalia Onions
Caramelized Vidalia Onions

Ready, Set, Golumpki...At Least the Sauce Anyway

Okay, here we go. If you start the sauce first then the golumpkis can be prepared while the sauce simmers.

Sauce Ingredients:

1 - 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes

2 - 28 oz. cans tomato sauce

1- 6 oz. can tomato paste

2 large Vidalia onions chopped

3 cloves of garlic mashed and diced (mash the garlic by using the flat side of a chef's knife and then dice.)

3 cups of sliced fresh mushrooms

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup of Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup sugar

1 - 12 oz. can or bottle of beer (a pilsner style is best)

salt, pepper and water

Heat the oil in a large stock or sauce pot to medium-high heat. When the oil is hot add the Vidalia onions and the sugar. You are starting the caramelization process. The sugar needs to boil in order to caramelize the onions. Stir frequently to avoid burning. I like to use wooden spoons when stirring sauce. You get a better feel for ingredients stuck to the bottom of the pan while cooking when you use a wooden spoon and a wooden spoon will not scrape your pots and pans like metal ones do. This process will take approximately 20 to 30 minutes. The onions go from the color white to a caramel color as seen in the picture above.

Once the onions are caramelized reduce the heat to medium and add the sliced mushrooms and garlic. Cook for about 3 minutes stirring frequently. Do not let the garlic burn. Once the mushrooms are soft add the 12 oz. bottle or can of beer. Cook until this mixture is hot and bubbling. About 5 minutes.

Add to the stock pot all of the tomato ingredients: tomato paste, crushed tomato and tomato sauce. Fill one of the empty tomato sauce cans all the way with water and add to the stock pot. Add the Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until simmering and small bubbles appear. Reduce heat to low. Stir occasionally while allowing to simmer while you prepare other ingredients like the cabbage for the golumpkis.

Cooked Long Grain and Wild Rice Mix
Cooked Long Grain and Wild Rice Mix | Source

I Will Eat Golumpkis Anywhere!

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Cabbage and Rice - So Nice!

Your sauce is simmering, Now you can prepare your cabbages and rice. One medium to large head of cabbage will yield approximately 12 large leaves to roll your golumpkis in. You will need 5 heads of cabbage. You will have left over cabbage but we will use some of it in the sauce. You can sauté the leftovers or use it to make kapusta. Kapusta is basically a recipe of sauteed onions and cabbage mixed with kielbasa or smoked sausage. Again, kapusta freezes well for a future supper.

I use a a long grain and wild rice mix. Follow the instructions on the box and cook the rice mix according to manufacturer's instructions. You will need 4 boxes of 5-6 oz. long grain and wild rice mix. Near East, Uncle Ben's, Mahatma and several others make a nice long grain and wild rice mix. Prepare all four boxes in a large covered pan. You can prepare the cabbage while the rice mix cooks. Turn off the rice when it is cooked and allow it to cool.

Prepare the cabbage golumpki leaves. Add water to a large stock pot about a third full. Start to boil the water. Using a paring knife remove the core from the bottoms of the 5 cabbages. Place one cabbage at a time, core side down, into the stock pot of boiling water. Allow the outer leaves of the cabbage to steam until soft. Basically, you are blanching the outer leaves. Wearing oven mitts or using a towel, use a large slotted spoon to remove the cabbage from the stock pot. Place the cabbage on a large cutting board and use tongs to remove the leaves. Be careful not to tear the leaves. Rinse the leaves in a colander under cool water, pat dry with a paper towel and set aside on a plate or cutting board. You may have to place the cabbage back into the pot several times in order to blanch and peel off twelve leaves from the head. Do this until all 5 cabbages have been blanched and you have 60 large cabbage leaves. Caution: you are working with boiling water and steam. Take every precaution so that you do not burn yourself while removing cabbage leaves.

You will have a small inner core head of cabbage left over after removing the leaves. Take two of these small cabbage heads and chop finely. Add this chopped cabbage to your sauce. Use the other three heads in other recipes or chop and freeze for future use.

Finished Golumpkis
Finished Golumpkis

How to Roll Stuffed Cabbage

Holy Moly It is Golumpki Time!

Now that all of the main ingredients are cooked, we need to mix up our meat filling for the stuffed cabbage. In a large bowl combine the following ingredients:

4 pounds lean ground beef

4 pounds ground pork

The 4 cooked boxes of long grain and wild rice mix

6 large eggs

4 peeled, cored and diced Gala apples

2 tsps. sage

2 tsps. savory

1/2 tsp. allspice

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. white pepper

You will also need 2 pounds of uncooked bacon strips. Cut the strips in thirds and set aside. They are not to be added to the sauce.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Using about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of filling, fill and roll the cabbage rolls. Place a cabbage leaf on the cutting board with coarse, cut end facing you. The leaf should be cup side or curled side up. Add the filling. Fold the two sides in over the meat and roll tightly. Golumpkis should be about the size of the top of your fist when rolled. See the video for a clear instruction on rolling stuffed cabbage.

Using a ladle, ladle some of the tomato sauce on the bottom of the pan. Place the rolled golumpki evenly and tightly together in the aluminum pans. About 12 golumpkis will fit into each pan. Ladle sauce on top of the golabki until they are covered. Cut the bacon strips into thirds. Place a cut piece of bacon on top of each stuffed cabbage roll. Once filled, cover the tray with heavy duty aluminum foil and bake for 1 1/2 hours. Remove and serve. Sour cream is a good addition to the stuffed cabbage when serving. You can easily freeze the remaining trays just remember to hide them from your husband or boyfriend or you won't get any nookie until they are all gone! Maybe it is a better idea to get some nookie first by offering to make these infamous golumpkis! And now for dessert....

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Comments 6 comments

Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 4 years ago from East Coast, United States

Voted up and aewsome - not just because this brings back memories of my Polish uncle,who taught my mother how to make gwumpkis, but because you presented this so well. And with a real homemade sauce. I can practically smell them!


cabmgmnt profile image

cabmgmnt 4 years ago from Northfield, MA Author

Thanks Dolores,

These come from the heart, really! I have made these for years and ten years of fine tuning has gone in to them. Bon Appetit!


Jillian 2 years ago

This recipe sounds awesome but I kind of wish there was a scaled down version of it, for a family meal. I'm never at pot lucks or gatherings or the like but it'd be nice to make this for my family


marci 24 months ago

Looking for a recipe for Christmas Eve like my Polish Grandma used to make. Have read through dozens of recipes and this is the one that caught my eye. Gonna try! Wish me luck!!!


cabmgmnt profile image

cabmgmnt 23 months ago from Northfield, MA Author

How did it go with the golumpkis?


mike 24 hours ago

thank you, you have a gift for story telling.

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