Glorious Golumpki

A recipe to make you say smacznego
Golumpke recipe by Mary Howing. Photo by Stacy Feyer-Salo.

Gołąbki (aka golombki, golumpki, golabki, golumpkies, golumpkis, gluntkes, or gwumpki) are Polish cabbage rolls, stuffed with a mixture of beef, pork, rice, and seasoning. In America, we call them Golmpki and it’s pronounced just like it’s spelled. There’s a lot of questions as to why they are called that. Some say it’s because they’re shaped like a dove or a pigeon. Whatever the reason, they are considered a main course, but also can be served along with other traditional Polish fare– and are a staple at just about any Polish hall throughout Grand Rapids  during Pulaski days.  Smacznego!


Utensils you’ll need:

  •         cutting board
  •         paring knife
  •         large pot
  •         Medium bowl
  •         wooden spoon
  •         Medium pot
  •         Wire baking racks

The ingredients

  •         1 large green cabbage

Golumpki filling:

  •         1-pound lean ground beef
  •         ½ pound ground pork
  •         ½ small yellow onion grated
  •         4 large garlic cloves grated
  •         1 teaspoon grated lemon peel from 1 lemon
  •         1 large egg beaten
  •         2 cups of cooked rice

Tomato sauce:

  •         1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  •         ½ small yellow onion grated
  •         3 large garlic cloves grated
  •         28 ounces crushed tomatoes
  •         ½ cup water
  •         1 teaspoon salt
  •         ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  •         Chopped fresh dill (optional)



Boil cabbage:

  1.             Remove the stalk from the bottom of the cabbage head.
  2.             Place the cabbage in a large pot filled with 12 cups of water. Cover and place over high heat.
  3.             Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium. Continue to cook until the cabbage leaves become bright green and pliable, about 3-5 minutes. The leaves should not be limp, they should hold their shape.
  4.             Remove cabbage from water and place on a cutting board until it’s cool enough to handle.

To prepare the filling:

  1.             Combine ground beef, pork, onion, garlic, grated lemon peel, egg, and rice in a large bowl. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Make tomato sauce:

  1.             In a medium pot over medium heat add oil. Once simmering, stir in grated onion and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Then, add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30-60 seconds. Pour in crushed tomatoes, water, salt, and pepper and increase heat to high. Once bubbling, reduce heat to low and simmer tomatoes for 15 minutes.

Prepare cabbage leaves:

  1.             Give the cabbage a chance to cool, then remove the leaves.
  2.             Using a paring knife, cut the thick stem or membrane from the back of each leaf. Be careful not to cut through the leaf.

Prepare the oven and baking dishes

  1.             Move oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2.             A 9×13-inch baking dish and a smaller, 2-quart baking dish for this recipe. Spread ¾ cup of sauce in the bottom of a 9×13-inch dish and ½ cup sauce in the bottom of the 2-quart baking dish.

Stuff & Roll

  1.             Place 2 tablespoons of filling on the bottom half of a cabbage leaf.
  2.             Fold up the bottom part of the cabbage leaf.
  3.             Then, fold in the sides.
  4.             Next, roll forward until the cabbage leaf completely covers the filling. Repeat with remaining cabbage leaves and filling.
  5.             Place the stuffed cabbage leaves into prepared pans in neat rows. Pour the remaining sauce evenly over the cabbage rolls.


  1.             Bake for 50-60 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking.
  2.             Place pans on a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh, chopped dill (optional) and serve.

Recipe by Mary Howing.



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