Golubtsy is a traditional Russian dish made with cabbage (капуста – “kapoosta”), rice (рис – “rees”), usually meat (мяса – “myasa”) although for this recipe I’ve subbed lentils (чечевица – “chechevitsa”), herbs and a tomato sauce (томатный соус – “tomatny saoose”) on top. I first tried it when a friend of mine invited me over for some Russian food… she was in her 4th year so she’d already been to Russia (she actually went to St Petersburg!). In any case, they were so delicious… we stuffed our faces and there was still enough for leftovers!!
My recipe has a couple of different parts to it. It’s still simple ingredients and fairly easy, but more fiddly than most recipes I post on here. Seriously though, don’t let that put you off – if you can, give it a try. It’s amazing!
1 cabbage. Can be red or green. I haven’t tried using savoy cabbage yet but I think it can work too.
For the filling:
1 stick celery, chopped into small chunks.
1 carrot, (medium) chopped into small chunks.
1 cup red lentils, washed.
1/4 tin chopped tomatoes
1/4 carton of pasata (or just use another 1/4 tin chopped tomatoes)
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 onion (I used red)
2-3 garlic cloves
~ 1 tbsp each Italian herbs, basil, oregano, ground coriander
4-5 mushrooms, chopped small (optional but I used them).
generous splash red wine vinegar
1 cup cooked brown rice (can use white).
For the topping:
4 tbsp. Tomato Puree.
8 tbsp natural unsweetened soy yogurt (I used a brand called Sojade from my local health food shop)
2 tbsp olive oil. (Optional)
- Put the rice on – I rinse it first then add one cup of rice and 2 cups of water and let it cook until there’s hardly any water in the pan when you stir it, then turn it off and let the rest steam off.
- Meanwhile, saute onion and garlic in a pan (I used some water to do this but you can use oil if you want).
- When these have browned, add the lentils and chopped veggies (carrots, mushrooms, celery.
- Add the tomatoes and the puree and stir in well. Leave to simmer until the veggies are soft and the lentils are cooked. Should take 15-20 mins.
- Last of all add the red wine vinegar (generous splash!) and the herbs. Turn off and remove from the heat.
- Before step 5 – bring a large saucepan full of water to the boil. Chop the heart out of the cabbage – this is the stem. Cut around it but angle the knife so you cut the whole stem bit out. Then put it (carefully) into the boiling water.
- After about 5 mins, carefully remove the cabbage and peel the first few leaves off. They should be really flexible but not fully cooked/soggy. Put the cabbage back into the water and repeat this step until you have most of the bigger outer leaves done. Run them under cold water to stop the cooking process and keep to one side.
- Once the rice and the lentils have cooled a bit, mix the lentil mix with half of the rice together in one pan. You might not need all of the rice – you’re aiming to disperse the lentil mix evenly but not make it too sparse with the rice.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180c / 350f.
- Take your first cabbage leaf and lay it out in front of you.
- Spoon about 1 tbsp of the rice-lentil mix into the bowl part of the leaf. Bend the stalk bit over it as tightly as you can, and then fold both sides of the cabbage leaf in tightly on top of that. Then roll the rounded package bit forwards to the end of the leaf. It should form a little package.
- Repeat this until the mix is gone / you run out of cabbage leaves. Place the finished rolls on grease proof paper on a baking tray and put to one side.
- For the sauce: Mix the tomato puree and the oil in a pan on a low heat until smooth. Add the yogurt and stir until smooth and warm. Remove from heat and pour generously over the cabbage rolls on the baking sheet.
- Bake in the oven for 25-35 mins until the sauce has set and the cabbage leaves have browned evenly. They should be really soft and easy to cut into. If they aren’t then put them in the oven for another 5-10 mins. If you’re worried they’ll get too brown or burn, try cooking them in the microwave for a few minutes instead to finish them off.
- Remove and eat! You can serve these with buckwheat too 🙂