This one pot meal, rustic and easy to make, Lazy Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls (Ленивые Голубцы) is perfect to make when you’re in a hurry. If you love eating traditional Cabbage Rolls, but are too busy with life to spend 3 hours making them, then I’m talking to you!
Don’t get me wrong, traditional Cabbage Rolls are so delicious, but soooo time consuming, that we don’t eat it as often as we would like. They are a staple of the Eastern European kitchen, a form of comfort food. If you are wanting a more traditional style Golubtsi Cabbage Roll recipe, then click here.
I had the best intention to make proper cabbage rolls. Ok, honestly, I bought on impulse, a beautiful Savoy cabbage, which I thought would make great looking cabbage rolls. But life happened. Between physio and Dr. appointments and gym, I was running out of time. So lazy cabbage rolls it is, or called Lazy Golutbsi. It’s not so much lazy, but as a time saver, saving you from boiling and individual wrapping of cabbage leaves.
I have a large 8 Quart Martha Stewart Cast Iron Round Casserole which works great as a one pot meal. It’s a large recipe, so if you don’t want leftovers, maybe just halve the recipe.
The cabbage can be roughly chopped, bigger pieces are ok, as they shrink and shrivel considerably during the cooking process. I chop out the white thick stems in the larger pieces. Adding the fried meat mixture and tomato sauces, make this one pot wonder tastes just like the same cabbage rolls we all know and love, just without the mess and boiling of the cabbage head.
There is of course some creative license… I can’t help myself and add bacon to my original style Cabbage Rolls. This just gives it some depth and deliciousness. So go forth and make Lazy Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls with bacon, take the easier route without compromising on taste. Bon Appetit! Приятного аппетита!
Lazy Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls (Ленивые Голубцы)
- 1 large cabbage - roughly chopped into 3" to 4" pieces
- 2 large onions finely chopped
- 2 carrots grated
- 6 cloves garlic crushed
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 kg lean ground beef
- 1 tablespoon each fresh chopped dill & thyme
- 2 cups uncooked medium grain rice
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 250 grams back bacon sliced
- 2 bottles of 700 grams Mutti Passata*
- 1 cup sour cream
- 3 teaspoons Vegeta beef stock powder
- handful fresh chopped dill chopped
- 2-3 tablespoons of Maggi seasoning to taste optional
- * Using Passata gives a fresher tomato taste instead of cooking in tomato sauce and water, this gives a better flavour because it’s pure tomatoes! Passata is an uncooked tomato purée that’s been strained of seeds and skins. If your supermarket doesn’t carry Passata, it can be found in Italian delis. Any brand of Passata will do, but the Mutti brand is beautifully thick and rich. If unavailable, substitute with 4 cans of diced tomatoes.
Wash and cook the rice as per package instructions and set aside to cool. TIP: Cook the rice in beef stock instead of water for a richer flavour. While rice is cooking, start prepping your vegetables and start step #2.
In a large cast iron dutch oven, (I used a 8 quart size) heat the oil on high heat and add the onions and fry for a few minutes until the onion softens. Add the carrots, bacon and 3 cloves garlic and continue to cook until carrot is tender.
Add the ground beef and continue to cook for about 15 minutes, stirring and breaking up the pieces occasionally. Add the dill, thyme, salt and pepper.
If you haven't done so yet, roughly chop up the cabbage pieces into chunky large pieces, about 3" to 4" square. You can shred the cabbage into chunkier pieces if you wish, but I like the larger pieces, as they remind me of real cabbage rolls.
When the meat is cooked, add the cabbage leaves into the dutch oven. If there is too much cabbage, put the lid on for a few minutes, and the cabbage will reduce, as it's mostly water, and then add the rest of the cabbage. Stir with the meat mixture until combined.
Add the Passata, cooked rice, 3 cloves garlic, beef stock powder, chopped dill and sour cream. Mix thoroughly and taste. Add Maggi seasoning (optional - but adds great flavour) and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce and simmer for about 20 minutes. Serve with sour cream and dill.