FoodBorderland cabbage rolls: A delightful twist on the classic

Borderland cabbage rolls: A delightful twist on the classic

Stuffed cabbage rolls different from the usual ones? Worth a try.
Stuffed cabbage rolls different from the usual ones? Worth a try.
Images source: © Adobe Stock | Olha Afanasieva

24 June 2024 16:27

I felt a bit anxious when I first had to make these stuffed cabbage rolls. My family loves the classic version of this dish. After all, what is good and tasty should not be changed. However, these cabbage rolls were received very kindly in this version, even though they taste entirely different. It's about the filling.

Borderland stuffed cabbage rolls are very similar to the ones you know well. However, you don’t need either meat or rice to prepare the filling. Is it a vegetarian dish? No, bacon will also be required. Such cabbage rolls are also traditionally served with sour cream and bacon bits. Of course, you can skip the latter.

Potatoes in the leading role

Cabbage rolls are one of the dishes without which we cannot imagine cuisine and homemade dinners. And although the most well-known and commonly used recipe is with a meat or meat-rice filling, it’s worth occasionally delving deeper and seeking exciting alternatives. One of them is borderland stuffed cabbage rolls. In the Borderlands, grated potatoes with onions and bacon bits were wrapped in cabbage leaves. After baking, they were served with sour cream.

Meat not for everyone

Although it doesn’t sound light, it’s worth trying. Stuffed cabbage rolls in this version are highly flavourful, and the filling is almost creamy. It’s not anything special. Cabbage rolls came to us from Ukraine in the 19th century, and this dish has always had two versions. Those who could afford it ate them with meat. The poorer ones wrapped groats or potatoes in cabbage leaves. Borderland cabbage rolls can be called an intermediate version.

Borderland stuffed cabbage rolls


  • 1 medium head of cabbage
  • 1.5 kg of starchy potatoes
  • 0.5 kilograms of smoked bacon
  • 250 ml of broth
  • 1 onion
  • 1 egg
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of dried marjoram
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation method:

  1. Dice the bacon and render it into bacon bits. Set aside.
  2. Remove the core from the cabbage, separate the leaves, trim their thick veins, and blanch them in boiling water.
  3. Peel and grate the potatoes or use a food processor. Salt them and place them in a sieve over a bowl to drain excess water. Do not pour out the liquid.
  4. Add finely chopped onion and egg to the drained potatoes.
  5. Mix the mass and season with marjoram, salt, and pepper. Add half of the bacon bits (without the fat).
  6. Drain the liquid from the potatoes, add the starch to the mixture, and mix well.
  7. Place filling portions on prepared cabbage leaves and roll them tightly to form cabbage rolls.
  8. Grease the bottom of a roasting pan or casserole dish with the bacon fat from the pan and line with cabbage leaves.
  9. Place the cabbage rolls on them, pour in the broth, and cover. Place the dish in the oven on the lower rack, preheated to 180°C (355°F).
  10. Bake the cabbage rolls for 40 minutes, slightly uncovering the lid towards the end to brown the top.
  11. Pour the rendered bacon fat over the ready cabbage rolls and sprinkle the remaining bacon bits. Serve with sour cream.
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