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Ukrainian Meatballs with Cabbage – Eastern European Recipe

Eastern European Meatballs - servingMost of us here in the US are used to preparing meatballs in tomato sauce, however, Eastern Europeans customized this dish to their own taste and ingredients.

I already shared a post on Meatballs with Mushroom Sauce, but today I will post my recipe for Meatballs with Cabbage.

If you like Cabbage Rolls (Holubtsi – in Ukrainian, or Golabki – in Polish), you will enjoy this dish.

The taste resembles Cabbage Rolls, but this recipe is much simpler to prepare.

Ukrainian Meatballs with Cabbage – Eastern European Recipe

Yield: 6-8 servings

Ukrainian Meatballs with Cabbage – Eastern European Recipe


  • 1 1/2 lbs. ground meat (I prefer meatloaf mix – pork/beef/veal)
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 Tbs. Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 Tbs. olive or canola oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Cabbage and Veggies:
  • 1 white cabbage, medium size, cored and chopped
  • 1 Leek, cleaned well and chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 large carrot, shredded on large eye shredder
  • 1/2 Granny Smith apple, cored, peeled and shredded
  • 2 Tbs. olive or canola oil
  • 1/2 cup water mixed with 1 chicken or beef bullion (or use broth)
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1 Tbs. Tomato Paste
  • 1 Tbs. Dill weed
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  1. In a medium size bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, egg, milk, seasoning, salt, pepper and Parmesan Cheese. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a saucepan, and saute the onions, until translucent.
  3. Add the chopped garlic, and saute for 1 minute longer.
  4. Add onion to the seasoned mixture.
  5. Mix in the meat, to incorporate all ingredients into uniform paste.
  6. From 1.5 inch size meatballs, and place on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil, greased with cooking spray.
  7. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake 10 minutes on each side, turning once.
  8. Remove from oven, and transfer meatballs into a medium pot. Set aside for now.
  9. Cabbage and Veggies:
  10. Heat 2 Tbs. of oil in a 6 quarts pot, and saute the onions until translucent.
  11. Add carrots and leeks and saute 2 minutes longer.
  12. Add minced garlic and saute 1 minute.
  13. Add chopped cabbage, water/bullion or broth, apple,and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, mixing gently, but frequently.
  14. Add meatballs and bay leaf.
  15. Cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  16. Mix tomato paste with 1 Tbs. of water, and fold into cabbage/meatball mixture.
  17. Season to taste with salt, pepper and dill.


Serve hot, with pasta, mashed potatoes, or even a fresh piece of rye bread....aahh just like in Europe. Tastes even better the next day, as flavors have time to blend together. The meatballs can be made ahead, or even previously frozen. These meatballs freeze very well.

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