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Jan 19, 2012 07:50 PM

What do you serve with cabbage rolls?

This is always a puzzle for me. In my version, the stuffing is sausage, rice, and the inner part of the cabbage, so there's already a protein, starch, and vegetable. And yet, it doesn't seem filling enough to be a one dish meal. Based on what I already have, tonight I'll serve them with a green salad and either the rest of the bread from last night (unless I save it for a Saturday morning strata) or roasted potatoes. For next time, in your ideal world, what goes with cabbage rolls?

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    1. re: CindyJ

      I had to google this, but it looks like something I would really like. I will definitely make this with my next batch of cabbage rolls!

      1. re: Abby0105

        You should really try it. It's a great side dish with stuffed cabbage. It's easy to make and it'll be great with the gravy from the cabbage.

      2. re: CindyJ

        Kasha is buckwheat, right? But what are varnishkes? And how do both go together to make a dish? Please excuse my ignorance!

          1. re: herby

            Kasha varnishkes = kasha and bowtie pasta. It's an old Eastern European dish. How do they go together? They just do. Try it... you'll see.

            1. re: CindyJ

              Thanks CindyJ! I had it before but didn't know the name. Great simple recipe - I'll make it soon:)

              1. re: CindyJ

                How do you get the horrible smell of the cooked groats out of your home?

                1. re: mucho gordo

                  I've never noticed a "horrible smell" when cooking kasha. It's certainly no worse than the smell from cooking oatmeal -- or cooking cabbage, for that matter.

                  1. re: mucho gordo

                    Oh you mean that delicious toasted Buckwheat smell?

            2. The Polish Delis around my parts always serve them with mashed potatoes or Pierogies and Bigos

              1. Growing up we always ate them with boiled potatoes with a bit of salt and pepper on them (although I've heard of serving mashed potatoes with them, as well). Rye bread and butter on the side, too.

                4 Replies
                1. re: kubasd

                  I had sensational cabbage rolls with lamb filling recently at a Hungarian restaurant. I was given a choice of mashed potatoes, rice or tiny dumplings. I went with the dumplings and they were great,

                  Kashe varnishkes sounds awesome too, but in my house, it tends to be the star, not a side dish.

                  I think it would be perfectly acceptable to serve a meal in a few courses: simple beet borscht, green salad, cabbage rolls. With a nice crusty bread on the side, it should be ample.

                  1. re: 1sweetpea

                    >>>Kashe varnishkes sounds awesome too, but in my house, it tends to be the star, not a side dish.<<<

                    Funny you should say that, because when I was a kid, kasha varnishkes were served as an entree.

                    1. re: CindyJ

                      me too re Kasha
                      I like mashed potatoes with stuffed cabbage.

                      1. re: magiesmom

                        My grandmother made kasha varnishkes as an entree as well. I hated the way it made her apartment smell!

                2. I am always looking for a new recipe for cabbage rolls. I haven't found any as good as my grandma's, and she passed away in 1987.

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: jeanmarieok

                    Here's my Grandma Tillie's recipe for cabbage balls. I have adapted it from my grandma's original. It contains a "secret ingredient" that sets off from most. See if you can figure out what that is.

                    1½ lbs ground beef and/or turkey
                    ¼ C brown rice
                    ½ t salt
                    1 cabbage, leaves separated
                    ½ C white raisins
                    1 large can diced tomatoes
                    2 celery stalks, chopped
                    3 small dried chilies
                    Juice of one lemon
                    ½ C plus 2 T brown sugar
                    2 pieces or 1 t sour salts (citric acid)
                    4 peppercorns
                    1 bay leaf

                    Core the cabbage and carefully break the leaves off the head of cabbage. Cut the woody triangular core out of each of the cabbage leaves and then cut the biggest cabbage leaves in half.

                    The cabbage leaves will be firm and brittle so you have to scald them with boiling water to make them pliable. My mother used to put them in a colander and pour boiling water over them. I used a bowl so that they spent more time in the hot water.

                    I mixed a pound of ground beef with a half-pound of ground turkey and then, with my hands, mixed in the brown rice, salt and ¼ cup white raisins. Using wet hands, form the mixture into walnut-sized balls. Remember that you have just gotten up close and personal with raw beef and/or poultry so wash your hands any time you touch something else.

                    Wrap meatballs in cabbage leaves so that the meatballs are completely covered on all four sides. Fasten them with toothpicks (you will want them strategically placed to hold the cabbage in place). If you need more than one toothpick, that's ok.

                    Put the cabbage-covered meatballs in a large soup pot and cover with water. Bring to boil. Reduce to simmer for 45 minutes. Carefully remove any “scum” that has risen to the top of the broth.

                    Add tomatoes, celery, chilies, lemon juice, brown sugar, sour salts, peppercorns, bay leaf and the remainder of raisins.

                    Cover and bake in 325-degree oven for 2½ –3 hours. Correct sweet-to-sour seasoning to taste.

                    Photos and more info on I hope this fits the rules for posting.

                    1. re: chicgail

                      I know! I know! It's the sour salt -- isn't it? What do I win?

                      1. re: CindyJ

                        It is. Just don't tell my Aunt Esther I gave the secret away.

                        1. re: chicgail

                          Actually, I think my Buby was the one who passed the secret to your Aunt Esther. :)

                          1. re: CindyJ

                            Any chance your buby is my Aunt Esther?

                            1. re: chicgail

                              Any chance you're my long-lost cousin?????

                      2. re: chicgail

                        Sugar? Chiles? My grandmother would not approve. She made her cabbage rolls with ground beef, rice, and onions wrapped in cabbage leaves, then baked in a tomato sauce. I substitute minced mushrooms for the ground beef, add a little garlic and a bit of the tomato sauce to keep them from drying out. If you use large savoy cabbage leaves that have been blanched just before stuffing you can fold them so you don't need the toothpicks.

                        The cabbage rolls I had in Austria recently were a spiced ground pork wrapped in cabbage, then wrapped in bacon, cooked in a broth, and served with a side of cabbage They were much larger than the ones I've seen before, and it looked like they overlapped several leaves to make a large roll which they served in slices.

                      3. re: jeanmarieok

                        My grandma uses short grain rice and never ground meat. She adds sautéed onions some bacon and dill, lots of fresh dill. Totally different flavour than the meaty ones and the texture is a bit softer due to short grain rice. She has this big process where she bakes the rice to cook it first but I could never be asked, I just use a low simmer but her rice is slightly nicer but my husband never notices so... I made them yesterday and my whole house smells like one big cabbage roll right now - and I love it! Reminds me of my grandma. Might need to make some kasha too....

                      4. I serve cabbage rolls with mashed potatoes and small green peas. Good balance of color and flavor.

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