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Best Polish Foods With Cabbage (+ Recipes)

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Person slicing green cabbage on a cutting board for the best Polish foods.

You can’t talk about classic Polish cooking without mentioning cabbage! This humble veggie has been a kitchen staple in Polish homes for generations. And it’s no wonder why – cabbage is affordable, long-lasting, versatile, and jam-packed with nutrients.

For poor Polish families living off the land years ago, cabbage was an absolute must-have. Not only was it easy to grow and store through long winters, but it stretched modest ingredients into filling meals. Plus, cabbage is packed with nutrients – high in fiber, vitamins A, C and K, folate, potassium and magnesium. 

Even today when ingredients are more accessible and there’s much more to choose from, Polish cabbage dishes remain warm family traditions. Maybe it’s the flavours of fresh or fermented cabbage that keep people craving more. Or maybe it’s the nostalgic aromas that take people back to grandmother’s kitchen.

Affordable, nutritious, and tasty – no wonder this versatile superfood has stuck around in Polish kitchens for so long! 

So, today let me share some delicious Polish cabbage classics with you!

Gołąbki Recipe – Stuffed Cabbage Rolls 

Authentic Polish golumpki recipe served on a plate.

Stuffed cabbage rolls are a classic Polish dish, along with pierogi. If you’re into traditional Polish cuisine, I’m sure you’ve heard of these rolls!

In Polish, they are called “gołąbki” which literally means “little pigeons” or “little doves.” The name comes from the fact that long ago, rich Polish people ate pigeons stuffed inside cabbage leaves. Poor people couldn’t afford pigeons, so they stuffed the cabbage with grains and potatoes instead of meat. This is similar to the vegetarian cabbage rolls made today.

The meatless stuffed cabbage is sometimes served for Christmas Eve dinner, often stuffed with buckwheat groats.

Here is a traditional Polish stuffed cabbage recipe that families have used for generations.

This dish takes some time to make but I guarantee it’s worth it!

Bigos 

A woman holding a bowl of authentic Polish bigos.

Bigos is an authentic Polish stew that is popular not just in Poland but around the world. This sauerkraut and meat stew is delicious and very filling – perfect for a winter meal!

Traditionally, bigos was made with game meats like venison from elk, deer, or wild boar. Today, people usually add pork and kielbasa sausage. The stew is quite heavy, so you can be sure you won’t stay hungry after eating a bowl.

Bigos stew was traditionally served at Christmas celebrations and weddings during the winter months. Winter is the ideal time for bigos because the main ingredients – sauerkraut, onions, and meat – were readily available foods that kept well without refrigeration back then. 

Because bigos takes days to slowly cook down, it was made in large batches that could feed the whole family for days. The hearty, fatty stew was perfect for keeping everyone warm and full through the cold winter weather when not much else was available.

If you want to try making traditional Polish bigos at home, go and check out my bigos recipe!

Łazanki – Polish Cabbage And Noodles

Lazanki in a black bowl.
Lazanki is made from sauerkraut, bacon and sqaure pasta

Lazanki is a popular Polish dish made with small square noodles, cabbage, and bacon. It’s a meal that’s perfect for a quick, filling dinner. Lazanki is super easy to make by mixing cabbage (either fresh or sauerkraut) with pasta and fatty pork or bacon.

The name “lazanki” is believed to come from the Italian word “lasagna” because the noodles are square-shaped, though much smaller than lasagna noodles. The word also refers to the specific type of tiny square pasta you can buy at grocery stores.

For me, lazanki brings back childhood memories. I remember eating this dish in kindergarten and primary school. I loved it then and still love it now!

Want to make classic Polish lazanki? Here’s my lazanki recipe!

Polish Cabbage Meatballs – Mielone Z Kapustą

Polish meatballs in tomato sauce on a wooden table.

Polish cuisine includes all kinds of meats like duck, veal, pork, pigeon, chicken, and turkey. But when it comes to vegetables, cabbage, and potatoes are the most popular ingredients you’ll find in Polish kitchens.

This recipe combines both cabbage and meat. Polish cabbage meatballs are easy to make, delicious, and have fewer calories than regular meatball soup without cabbage. It’s a great alternative to fried Polish meatballs (kotlety mielone) or klopsy meatballs.

Polish Fresh Cabbage Soup

Polish Fresh Cabbage Soup Recipe zupa z kapusty i kiełbasy.
Polish fresh cabbage soup is called zupa z kapusty i kiełbasy

This soup is made with kielbasa sausage and fresh cabbage. In Polish, it’s called “zupa z kapusty i kiełbasy” which means “soup with cabbage and kielbasa.”

The fresh cabbage gives the soup a naturally sweet flavor that kids enjoy. Although the recipe calls for fresh cabbage, many Poles use sauerkraut when fresh cabbage is out of season. But using fresh cabbage is best when you can get it.

While not as common as kapuśniak (sauerkraut soup) or kwaśnica (sauerkraut soup from Tatra Mountains), this Polish sausage and cabbage soup is still delicious! 

You too can make this cabbage soup at home using my simple recipe!

Kapusta Zasmażana Polish Fried Cabbage

Kapusta zasmazana.
Kapusta made with cabbage or sauerkraut

Fried cabbage is very common Polish dish, especially during winter months. It makes a perfect side dish to accompany many other Polish meals.

This Polish braised cabbage dish is called “kapusta zasmażana” in Polish. It can be made with either sauerkraut or fresh cabbage.

Trust me, you have to try this recipe and thank me later! 

Polish Red Cabbage Salad

A Polish-inspired red cabbage salad recipe displayed on a white table.

This Polish red cabbage salad makes a perfect side dish to serve with meat for dinner. The salad is simple but delicious.

It only takes 15 minutes to prepare, but the salad needs to be refrigerated overnight so the cabbage can soften up. So make sure to prepare it the day before you plan to serve it. This allows time for the flavors to meld and the cabbage to achieve that perfectly tender texture.

Here’s the recipe!

Fresh Cabbage Pierogi

pierogi Ruskie.
Pierogi Ruskie with carmelized onions

Although sauerkraut pierogi (dumplings) are more popular, pierogi filled with fresh cabbage are also worth trying! 

My recipe shows you the traditional way to make classic Polish pierogi stuffed with a fresh cabbage filling. While the sauerkraut version may be more well-known, these fresh cabbage pierogi have a delicious, subtle flavor of their own that cabbage lovers will especially enjoy during the summer months.

Fresh quality cabbage is usually only available seasonally, so it’s best to make this version in the summertime.

Baby Cabbage 

Easy sauerkraut and meatballs recipe with young cabbage, tasting like summer.

I want to share one more easy recipe for baby cabbage that you’ll love!

Summer is the best time of year for food lovers – fresh vegetables and fruits are so abundant and easy to find. In Poland, young cabbage can be purchased from May through August.

Young cabbage has a delicate, tender texture and mildly sweet flavor when it’s in season during the summer months. 

This recipe allows you to enjoy young cabbage’s fresh taste at its peak. It’s a light, simple way to prepare this seasonal vegetable while it’s at its best.

 

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