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Lithuanian Stuffed Cabbage Recipe - Balandeliai

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Lithuanian Stuffed Cabbage or Balandeliai

Lithuanian Stuffed Cabbage or Balandeliai

© Flickr by Penelope_CA
This recipe for Lithuanian stuffed cabbage is known as balandeliai or "little doves." This dish is common throughout Eastern Europe and the recipe varies from country to country, region to region, and family to family. Here are more stuffed cabbage recipes.

Makes about 18 Lithuanian Stuffed Cabbages or Balandeliai

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes


  • 1 whole head cabbage, about 4 pounds
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef or lamb or pork (or a combination)
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1 large beaten egg
  • Pinch marjoram
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream


  1. Remove core from cabbage. Place whole head in a large pot filled with boiling, salted water. Cover and cook 3 minutes, or until softened enough to pull off individual leaves. You will need about 18 leaves.

  2. When leaves are cool enough to handle, use a paring knife to cut away the thick center stem from each leaf, without cutting all the way through. Chop the remaining cabbage and place it in the bottom of a Dutch oven or large saucepan.

  3. Saute chopped onion, celery and bell pepper in butter in a large skillet until tender, and let cool.

  4. In a large bowl, mix cooked rice, cooled onion mixture, meat, garlic, egg, marjoram, and salt and pepper until well combined. Don't overmix or the meat will become tough.

  5. Place about 1/2 cup of meat on each cabbage leaf. Roll away from you to encase the meat. Flip the right side of the leaf to the middle, then flip the left side. You will have something that looks like an envelope. Once again, roll away from you to create a neat little roll.

  6. Place the cabbage rolls on top of the chopped cabbage in the Dutch oven, seasoning each layer with salt and pepper. Combine tomato puree with beef stock and pour over rolls. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer on the stovetop for 1 hour.

  7. Serve with pan juices and a drizzle of sour cream, or mix the pan juices with sour cream and ladle it over the cabbage rolls.

  8. Cabbage rolls freeze well before or after cooking, and can be made in a slow cooker (see your manufacturer's instructions).

Note: Since they can be eaten hot or at room temperature, mini cabbage rolls make great appetizers. Just spear them with a frilled toothpick and you're good to go!

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