Rice Stuffed Cabbage

Since this is the lent season I thought I would post an old-time Eastern European classic meat recipe, without meat – Rice Stuffed Cabbage.


  • 1 large sour cabbage (if you don’t have sour cabbage you can buy a regular cabbage, freeze it for 24 h and then let it at room temperature to unfreeze; another option is to boil the leaves so that they can be easily wrapped)
  • 1 large onion
  • Half a celery bunch
  • 2 cups tomato paste
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 3 cups rice
  • 1 cup mushrooms
  • 1 TSP salt
  • 1 TSP pepper
  • 4TBS oil
  • (Optional: raisins, grated carrots)


  • Chop the onion and celery
  • Heat a pan, add the 4 TBS oil and cook the onions, celery and mushrooms until the onions turn golden
  • Add salt, pepper, rice, 1 cup of tomato paste, 1 cup tomato sauce and cook for 5-7 minutes
  • Let it cool for about 20 minutes while you are preparing the cabbage

  • The cabbage leaves need to be a little larger than your palm so if needed cut and stack them. You can also remove the thick stem so that the leaves are flat. Any cutting leftovers you can place on the bottom of the pot you will use to cook the rolls. You can either cook the rolls in the oven or on top of the stove.
  • Add 1 cup of tomato paste on top of the cabbage leaves leftovers
  • Start rolling the cabbage; usually I use one large TBS of mixture for each leaf. The composition should be enough for about 30 rolls but it depends on how big you end up wrapping the roll.

  • To create the roll you place the mixture at one end of the roll, cover the bottom side, roll it and tuck the top side in. Another rolling technique is to place the mixture in the middle of the leaf, roll it and tuck in both ends. Don’t roll the cabbage to tight as the rice will expand during cooking.
  • Place rolls closely together standing up in the pan
  • If you have any leftover leaves you can use to cover the rolls
  • Cover with water and boil or bake at medium heat since you won’t be able to stir the rolls. From time to time you can shake the pot to make sure the cabbage will not stick to the bottom.

  • Rice stuffed cabbage rolls take longer to cook than the meat stuffed cabbage rolls, usually I take one out when it looks cooked to test and make sure the rice is fully cooked in the middle

Serve Warm! ENJOY!

Here is also an image of Stuffed Grape Leaves – this stuffing mixture includes meat.


Meat and Potato Dish

Here is a really easy and quick meat and potato dish that my Hungarian friend cooked; she calls it Jénai tálban sült csirkemell párolt zöldségekkel. Basically you put potatoes, seasoned chicken breast, tomatoes, onions, seasoning herbs, olive oil, lemon juice in a pan and put it in the oven.

The result is delicious as you can see it yourselves. Enjoy!

Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed Peppers (Ardei Umpluti)

Here is a really easy and delicious recipe. The same ingredients go well for stuffed tomatoes or stuffed zucchini.


  • 7-8 peppers
  • 1 pounds ground pork
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 3 eggs
  • 1.5 cups uncooked rice
  • Half chopped onion
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch pepper
  • 1 bunch chopped dill
  • 1 bunch chopped parsley
  • 1 can tomato paste


  • Clean peppers – remove tops, seeds, and membranes
  • Arrange peppers in a dish standing upright – you can either bake it or cook it on top of the stove
  • Mix the meat, eggs, rice, onion, dill, salt and pepper

  • Stuff the peppers
  • Cover with water mixes with the tomato paste
  • Add parsley on top and cook until the peppers are tender
  • Serve with sour cream



Polenta (Mamaliga)


I grew up eating polenta and I never had enough of it. Part of our family tradition was that every Sunday morning we would eat polenta with feta cheese, eggs, country fries, and a tomato sausage sauce. I know it doesn’t sound like breakfast but I would eat this every morning.

In Romania polenta (mamaliga) is often used as a substitute for bread. I personally like it warm and mixed with cheese, but many people also eat it cold.

  • Boil 4 cups of water
  • Add 1 teaspoons of salt
  • Add 1.5 cups of corn meal
  • Keep stirring
  • Cooking time will depend on the type of corn meal you use; however, once it looks more compact it means it is cooked
  • Once it’s cooked, you mix it with cheese, butter and sour cream or eat it with a meat/sausage dish

 Just as a side note … in the US, you can even find instant corn meal which is much easier to cook than the traditional one, however it doesn’t taste that good.