Try This Vegan Version of Russian Golubtsi

cabbage roll or Golubtsi
Image via Pixabay

Cabbage rolls are a very common Eastern European dish, especially in Russia. There, they’re called golubtsi, and they’re usually made with ground beef or turkey and tomato sauce. If you’re curious about trying out this dish but don’t want to eat animal products, here’s a recipe for a vegan version of golubtsi. Don’t worry; it’s just as yummy.


  • 2 cups uncooked rice
  • 1 cabbage
  • 1 package vegan beef crumbles, whatever brand you prefer
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 5 tablespoons water
  • 6 carrots
  • 1 jar tomato sauce
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Garlic powder
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar


  • Prepare 2 cups of uncooked rice according to the package instructions. Using a rice cooker is the easiest method if you have one.
  • Fill a large stock pot with water. Bring to a boil. Add 1/2 tablespoon salt and vinegar.
  • Put the cabbage in the boiling water and let cook. When the leaves turn soft and yellow, remove the cabbage and let cool.
  • In a large bowl, mix defrosted vegan beef with cooked rice.
  • Place a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add olive oil. Add 4 grated carrots. Saute for a few minutes. Add half the tomato sauce. Cook two more minutes.
  • Add the carrot and tomato mixture to the beef and rice mixture.
  • In a small bowl, mix flaxseed with 5 tablespoons water. Add to the filling. Combine everything.
  • One at a time, place a cabbage leaf on your working surface. Remove the rough stem portion with a knife.
  • Place filling inside each cabbage leaf and roll. Continue until you’ve used all the filling.
  • In the same medium saucepan from earlier, heat olive oil. Cook 2 grated carrots until soft. Season with salt, garlic powder, basil, and oregano. Add the rest of the tomato sauce. Saute one minute.
  • Place each of the cabbage rolls in a dutch oven or wide pan. Pour the carrot tomato sauce over top. Add enough water to almost cover the cabbage rolls.
  • Bring cabbage rolls to a boil. Turn down the heat, cover, and simmer for 40 minutes.