Not Your Grandmother’s Golumpkis (stuffed cabbage Rolls)

I love to encourage clients to reconnect with their roots and enjoy their experience with food. I love to revamp many old family favorites to make them a little healthier, using fresh, whole food ingredients and carefully chosen pasture-raised meats. A few weeks ago I recruited my mom to help me reinvent a recipe passed down for generations. I grew up eating golumpkis (or galumpkis) at my grandmother’s house. My mother’s side is Polish and my father’s side is Italian so each family gathering had an abundance of traditional foods. I always loved these and haven’t had them in many years, so it was time to get cooking!

When I had told our Freevivers in our private forum that we had made these they went crazy! We started an interesting conversation about how different cultural backgrounds call these by many different names!

If you had a Polish grandmother, like me, one of these were most-likely on your table at Christmas:

golumpkigolabkigolumpkiesgolumpkis or gwumpki 

Slovakians call them “holubky,” Hungarian : holubtsi, Ukrainian: golubtsy, in Yiddish holipshes, goleptzigolumpki and holishkes or holep are all similar dishes (source).

Other names people mentioned in our forum were: “polish pigeons” (golapki means little pigeon), and a few others recalled them being “pigs in blanket.”

Moral of the story? It seems that stuffed cabbage rolls have a place in EVERYONE’s kitchen! Let’s get cooking! This is a great Sunday meal, just saying …


Not Your Grandmother’s Golumpkis {Stuffed Cabbage Rolls}

grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free and Paleo-friendly



  • 1 head green cabbage (sturdy with big leaves)
  • 1.5 lb. grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 large head of cauliflower, (to make this recipe) or steamed
  • 2-3 large Japanese sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and roughly chopped to liking
  • 1 small onion, optional
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon parsley
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder


For the sauce:

  • 1 jar diced tomatoes (about 18.3 ounces)
  • 1 jar whole peeled tomatoes (about 18.3 ounces)
  • 2 Japanese sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and roughly cut
  • 1 small onion, diced (optional)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil



Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Preheat oven to 375.

Rice cauliflower in a food processor. Make one recipe for cauliflower rice minus the parsley and 2 cloves garlic (you can also skip using that recipe and just steam and season the cauliflower rice, the galumpkis will be less rich).  Add “rice” to ground meat and add seasonings and mix well. Set aside. Core cabbage head and place the whole head into the boiling water.  Approximately every 3 minutes take 2-3 leaves out. You want the leaves to be pliable and sturdy, not too thin. Let the leaves cool (they cool quickly) then cut a “V” out of the bottom of each leaf (the thickest part) and cut larger leaves in half. Add enough of the ground meat mixture so that you can roll it up like a burrito. Set them aside seam side down.


Take a roasting pan and pour 1/2 of one jar of tomatoes on the bottom (you want glass jars or cans that are BPA free) and pour on bottom of pan. I use diced tomatoes, if you use whole crush them in your hand first. Start adding rolled cabbage leaves to the pot on top of the sauce. Once the entire head is rolled and placed in your roasting pan top with carrots, potatoes, basil, more salt and pepper, then add the whole peeled tomatoes, but crush in your hand before adding. Roast with lid on pan at 375 for 1 hour and 30 minutes, checking it about ¾ of the way through.



golumpki ingredients





  • core the cabbage stem so that when you start to cook it each leaf comes off one at a time

cabbage head

steaming cabbage


  • each leaf has to cook about 3 minutes (until you reach the middle, those will be cooked more through)

steamed cabbage

  • Cut the bigger leaves in half and cut a “V” at the top where the stem was (save those pieces for the sauce)

cabbage V

  • Place meat in the cabbage and fold up sides and roll like a burrito

cabbage roll


rolling cabbage


Stuffed Cabbage Roll


  • you can make them small with a half leaf or bigger with a whole leaf (these will roll up easier)

Here is what it looks like before putting in the oven:


the first layer goes on top of 1/2 jar of sauce:


stuffed cabbage rolls


golumpki prep


Japanese sweet potatoes are really nice in this recipe. They’re purple on the outside and white on the inside and have a really great flavor!


japanese sweet potato


after you cut up the potatoes add the rest of the sauce, some parsley, more salt and pepper, and it is ready to roast!






After an hour and a half of roasting your galumpkis will be ready to serve! Be sure to check them 3/4 of the way through. You want the cabbage soft and sweet and all the veggies and meat to be cooked through.






Grain-Free Paleo Galumpkis

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