Turkey Gołąbki (Polish Stuffed Cabbage Rolls) with Tomato Sauce

Golabki, or stuffed cabbage rolls, is a traditional Polish dish that is comforting, delicious, and healthy. The ingredients are common and readily-available, and the dish takes a while to cook, but is very easy to prepare. 

For me, this is an ideal meal to prepare for the family on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Golabki is one of those meals that smells amazing as it cooks, so you’ll be looking forward to eating it when it comes out of the oven. I might be a bit odd, but I love smelling a good meal cooking long before it is finished. It gets me excited to eat. 

While the traditional version of golbaki usually contains ground beef and/or pork, this version is made with ground turkey just to lighten it up a bit. None of the deliciousness of the original version is missing, and since I don’t feel as guilty eating this version I can definitely eat an extra roll or two. Right?


1.33 lb package of ground turkey 

1 large head of cabbage

¾ c. uncooked rice

1 ½ c. water (for the rice)

1 Tbsp. olive oil 

1 yellow onion, finely chopped

1 egg, beaten

3 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled (optional, but yummy)

Salt and pepper


2 15 oz. cans of diced tomatoes, undrained

1 15 oz. can of tomato sauce

2 bay leaves

Salt and pepper

Cook rice according to package directions and cool. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Remove 10-12 large leaves from the outside of the cabbage. Chop the remaining cabbage roughly. Set chopped cabbage aside. 

Boil the large leaves for about 5 minutes, or until they are pliable.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat and cook about half of the chopped onions until they are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped bacon (if using) and cook until crispy. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, and bay leaves. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

While the sauce is cooking , combine the ground turkey, the other half of the chopped onions, cooked rice, egg,  salt and pepper in a large bowl. Mix together thoroughly with your hands until all of the ingredients are equally dispersed. 

Place about ¼ c of the turkey/rice mixture into the center of each cabbage leaf and roll like a burrito, tucking in the leaves toward the middle and then rolling. 

Place the chopped cabbage on the button of a large casserole dish. Then, lay the cabbage rolls on top of them, seam side down. Pour the sauce over the top and bake for 60-75 minutes. Enjoy!

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