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  • Dairy Free
  • Gluten Free
  • Nut Free

Easy Russian Chicken and Cabbage Rolls with Fresh Veggies (Golubtsi)

These Russian cabbage rolls combine savory rice and chicken with fresh vegetables for the ultimate meal.


What are you planning to do this weekend? Making incredibly delicious Russian cabbage rolls is on my to-do list. I’m rarely this excited to be in the kitchen. They require patience and a little bit of technique when it comes to wrapping the cabbage leaves. But they’re so worth it.

These are not like any other cabbage rolls you’ve had. Nope. They’re packed with so much flavor and are several stones throw away from those boring ones we’re all too familiar with. Every bite gets better and better. Just a fair warning though. If you’re serving these to guests, they’ll request these cabbage rolls over and over again. They’re so uniquely good.

And don’t even get me started on the sauce. I can sip it by the jug. 


What goes in these cabbage rolls?

Ground chicken. I like to use ground chicken thighs because thighs are full of flavor that will enhance any dish. Some people use different meats, such as ground beef or turkey are also popular choices but I love the taste of chicken in this recipe. 

Boiled white rice. It’s the perfect texture that complements the ground chicken. It brings the whole dish together.

Onions. You can’t skip this. It gives the dish a unique flavor profile.

Tomato paste. You know, for that perfectly acidic taste that you don’t get from the other ingredients.

What goes in the Stuffed Cabbage Chicken Sauce?

Chopped/grated veggies. I’ve used chopped onions, chopped bell peppers, and grated carrots. The perfect combination.

Tomato paste. Remember when we talked about acidity? The tomato paste brings acidity here too but its thickness also helps transform the ingredients from bland water to sauce.

Add your cabbage rolls to the sauce and then cook on low for an hour. Voila! You just made deliciously perfect Russian cabbage rolls. 

More stuffing than cabbage leaves? No problem. Use up every bit of your stuffing by rolling them into meatballs and plopping them into the sauce sans the cabbage leaves. No wastes here.

Other authentic Russian recipes:

Russian Vinaigrette Recipe with Sauerkraut and Beets

Honey Peppermint Pryaniki with a Simple Glaze

Best One Pot Chicken and Rice Plov Recipe


Easy Russian Chicken and Cabbage Rolls with Fresh Veggies (Golubtsi)

Classic Russian Golubtsi can be made right in your kitchen. It's a colorful dish which includes chicken, carrots, and bell peppers wrapped in cabbage and cooked with a sauce.
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Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course, Meals
Cuisine: Meat Dishes, Russian
Allergy: Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Nut Free
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Calories: 253kcal
Author: Marina Rizhkov



  • 2 lb chicken, ground
  • ¼ cup white rice, cooked
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste, plus 2 tsp
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large head cabbage


  • In a mixing bowl, add ground chicken thighs.
    2 lb chicken,
  • Grate 1 onion into the bowl with chicken. Add 1 tsp sea salt, 1 tsp black pepper, 2 tsp tomato paste, and boiled rice to the bowl. Mix well together.
    ¼ cup white rice,, 2 onions,, 2 Tbsp tomato paste,, salt,, pepper,
  • In a pot filled with water, boil a head of cabbage for 1 hour (make sure to carve the core out before boiling). The cabbage will be soft.
    1 large head cabbage
  • Carefully take each leaf from the cabbage. (If a leaf is too big, you can cut it in half.) Also, cut the harder part off.
  • In the center of each leaf add 1 Tablespoon of the meat mixture. Fold the sides and then roll the long way. Like an egg roll. Stack in a Dutch oven-pot or a regular pot. If you don’t have enough cabbage leaves, you could just make meat into meatballs and add to the pot.

For the sauce:

  • Boil water in a kettle.
  • Chop up 1 onion, grate 2 carrots, and chop 1 red bell pepper.
    2 carrots,, 2 onions,, 1 red bell pepper,
  • In a pan, heat up 2 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
    2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • First sauté the onions for 2 minutes.
    2 onions,
  • Add to the onions chopped carrots, then sauté for another 2 minutes.
    2 carrots,
  • Add to the onions and carrots the red bell pepper and 2 Tablespoons of tomato paste. Sauté for another 3-4 minutes.
    2 Tbsp tomato paste,
  • Pour over the cabbage rolls and add boiled water from the kettle, just enough to cover everything. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to the lowest and cook for 1 hour. Serve hot!


Calories: 253kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 97mg | Potassium: 567mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 4274IU | Vitamin C: 86mg | Calcium: 87mg | Iron: 2mg
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