Beet leaf cabbage rolls may not make a lot of sense but they’re delicious and completely unlike cabbage holubtsi (holubchi, golubchi, golubtsi, whatever). Replacing the cabbage with beet leaves is a summer time treat.
Like many awesome Ukrainian recipes, this one finishes with being baked in cream. So, it needs to be finished in a regular oven because that cream totally curdles in the Instant Pot. A little extra time but totally worth it.
After some research, there are plenty of recipes around called beet leaf holubchi but with bread dough wrapped in beet leaves. My family always makes beet leaves filled with rice and plenty of dill. If you’re used to the bread dough version, try this one out!
Jump straight to the recipe
All of the preparation can be done with the Instant Pot, and you’re still saving time.
- Cooking onions: 1 hour on the stove now 15 minutes in the Instant Pot
- Rice: 30 minutes on the stove now 5 minutes in the Instant Pot
- Bake: 60-90 minutes
* Instant Pot times are estimates but include pressurization, cooking and depressurization on the Instant Pot.
It’s not easy to find beet leaves. You can tell the freshness of the beets by the leaves – just many grocers sell beets by themselves. If you can find them at a farmer’s market or in prime summertime, they’re just amazing.
Beet leaves are just beautiful things with red veins running through the green leaves. If the beet leaves have a few small holes, that’s fine. The actual rolling process creates a lot of overlap.
To keep those great colours, steam the leaves first to make them easier to work with.
Arrange the beet leaves so that they’re sitting vertically (as much as possible) in the Instant Pot. This helps avoid the bottom leaves getting over cooked at the bottom of the pot.
As soon as the leaves start to collapse, transfer the leaves to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process and to preserve those beautiful colours.
Unlike cabbage rolls, you’ll use one leaf for each roll. If there are some smaller leaves remaining, you can combine them to make one roll – a little like a sandwich. But the basic rolling technique is the same.
For each leaf, it’s easier to roll the leaves if you trim away some of the thicker part of the stem. I lay the leaf flat on a cutting board, trim the dangly bit of the stem, insert a small knife halfway into the stem and run along the stem. Repeat.
Press the balls of rice, onions and wonderful fresh dill into nigiri-sized balls.
Fold the edges in then
Roll away from you.
Squeeze out the air. Arrange them in a casserole dish.
After combining the remaining onions, dill, green onions with the cream in a saucepan, heat until just boiling and pour over the rolls.
Serves: 4-6 servings
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 1 stick or ½ cup unsalted butter (or vegetable oil)
- 2 cups sushi rice
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup of dill, chopped
- 2 bunches of beet leaves
- 2 cups whipping cream or heavy cream (10% MF)
- 2 green onions, chopped
- Add the chopped onions and butter to the Instant Pot. Use the Saute function on Low to melt the butter. It heats up quickly so turn the heat off (Cancel) to avoid browning.
- Set the Instant Pot to Manual on High Pressure for 10 minutes. Do a quick release.
- Remove the cooked onions and drain in a sieve. Save the melted butter.
- Divide the onions into 2 portions.
- Rinse the sushi rice in cold water until the water runs clear. This should require about 10 minutes of agitation and draining.
- Add the completely drained sushi rice to the Instant Pot with 2 cups of water.
- Set the Instant Pot to Manual on High Pressure for 5 minutes. After it's finished, release the pressure after an additional 5 minutes.
- Combine the rice, half of the chopped dill, half of the cooked onions with salt and pepper to taste.
- Trim the stems off of each leaf
- Combine about 2 tablespoons of the rice filling and form a tight ball (like nigiri)
- Use one leaf to make each roll as shown above
- Arrange rolls in a casserole dish with a lid
- Heat the cream with the remaining cooked onions, and green onions on the stove on medium heat stirring constantly. When it comes to a boil, add the remaining dill and pour the entire mixture over the rolls.
- Cover the casserole with a lid or foil.
- Bake at 300°F for about an hour.