Whole Grain Weekends – Ollopses

Welcome back to Whole Grain Weekends, a space to share and explore cooking with whole grains!  Whole Grain Weekends will be happening in this space the first and third weekends of the month.  I’m going to post a recipe and photos, and at the end you can add a link to your recipes, too!  The basic rule to play is: post a recipe on your blog using whole grains.  Soup with grains, sprouted grain bread, salad with whole grains added, etc . . . Whole grain flour recipes are welcome, but we prefer using these beautiful grains in their whole form.  If you want to join us but don’t have a blog, you can leave it in the comments, or email me your recipe (wheatberryma (a) gmail.com), and I will post it for you at the end of the weekend.


This week, I’m sharing an updated old family favorite, Ollopses. These delicious cabbage rolls in tomato sauce are also known as Holishkes or galumpkis. I used Ben’s grandmother’s recipe for years, but it has slowly evolved to reflect our family’s eating habits, including the use of whole wheat berries or spelt berries instead of rice. For the vegetarian version, simply omit the ground meat, or substitute tofu or mushrooms. It’s the perfect hearty supper for this time of year, and I hope your family enjoys it as much as we do.


4 cups canned tomatoes
2 onions, diced
2 tbsp butter or fat
3 tbsp lemon juice or cider vinegar
2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
1 bay leaf

1/2 tsp powdered ginger
1/2 cup raisins


1 large head cabbage
1 pound ground beef or lamb

1 onion, diced

1/2 cup whole grains (wheat berries, spelt berries, oat groats, etc)

2 eggs

1 1/2 tsp salt

To begin the sauce, saute half the diced onion in the butter, in either a wide casserole pot or a Crock pot. Once the onion is golden, add the tomatoes, lemon juice, honey, ginger, bay leaf, and raisins, and bring to a simmer.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, and cut the core (stem) out of the bottom of your cabbage. Drop the cabbage into the boiling water, cover, and cook 2-3 minutes. Carefully move the cabbage to the sink, let cool a bit, and then peel off the leaves, trying not to break them.  If needed, you can plunge the cabbage back into the boiling water to soften the inner leaves.  When you get to leaves that are too small to stuff, chop them finely and add them to the sauce.

In a small pot, bring 1 cup of water to a boil, then add your whole grains and cook for 15 minutes.  They will not be completely softened, as they will finish cooking inside the rolls.  Drain off the water, and place grains in a mixing bowl.

In your mixing bowl, add the 2 eggs, diced onion, and salt.  You can also add diced carrot, parsley, or other vegetables and herbs to the filling as desired.  Mix together well.

Next, make a ball out of a handful of the filling and roll it up in a cabbage leaf, rolling from the soft end to the spiny end.  Tuck the end under and place in the sauce (carefully, since your sauce is hot!).  Repeat until you’ve used up all your filling (this should make about ten rolls).  Spoon some of the sauce over the rolls and cover.

Simmer at least 30 minutes – the longer the better.  One of the great virtues of this dish is that it improves with age, so it’s perfect to make a day ahead and reheat!  Leftovers are fabulous (have you noticed this is a theme with my recipes?  We love leftovers).

Bon Appetit everyone, and enjoy your whole grain goodness!

4 Responses to “Whole Grain Weekends – Ollopses”

  1. 1

    That looks SO GOOD. I’m hungry.

  2. 2

    OK – that is so weird. Have you been peeking in my kitchen? Actually, it is more like you have been inside my head! Ever since the last whole grain weekend, I’ve been actively looking for things to do with whole rye berries (help!) Sass didn’t have many recipes, but suggested pairing with cabbage – eastern european style. My first thought was galumpki! I called my mother for her recipe (which would need some tweaking to make it old-world again!) :)

    A few differences in our recipe. My mother suggests a blend of ground beef and pork (1.5# total). The more pork in the ratio, the softer the cooked filling. She thinks all beef is too dry. Our diced onions get sauteed before adding to the mixture. Eggs, salt, pepper, and I added the cooked rye berries. I thought they were finished when I tasted them, but next time will cook them a bit more. Maybe they don’t get as soft as other cooked grains? My mother’s sauce is canned tomato soup (think campbells) and she adds it cold with some water to come up the sides of the rolls. I used some homemade and frozen tomato-carrot soup. We bake ours for about 1.5 hrs. And I agree, even better the next day.

    I’m still shaking my head that this is your latest installment! Great minds, I guess…

  3. 3
    Karen Miller

    This looks delicious, but I am actually writing with a pressing unrelated whole grain question. From the wonderful grain CSA, I have a lot of unhulled buckwheat. How to hull? I have ground it whole and filtered/sifted out the hulls– sort of. But to cook whole? I tried soaking, then cooking for hours– the hulls never came off or became truly edible. I googled it but didn’t find anything useful.
    Any help welcome! Thanks, Karen

  4. 4

    One of my favorite quick ‘n easy whole grain recipes is to soak and boil whole grains, then use them to make “fried rice.” We’ve used some of our emmer this way, and it’s delicious! It’s also quick, and an easy way to use up all of the local root veggies we’ve got hanging around.

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