These Beet Leaf Rolls (Holubtsi) are stuffed with a light and fluffy sourdough, baked, and then topped with a creamy garlic dill sauce. They’re Baba approved! The dough requires an overnight rise.
Ukrainian Beet Leaf Rolls
These stuffed beet greens have really only recently become a part of our family’s dinner table and now I can’t imagine life without them. Known by many other aliases; such as holubtsi (though many say this is for stuffed cabbage leaves only!), beetniks, and beet leaf buns they are all delicious baked treats. My Ukrainian aunt is a whiz at making these! We all look forward to the time of year when beet leaves are plenty and she whips up this special treat.
No Waste Cooking
Our garden has rich soil for growing vegetables and it provides nutritious food for our family. However, it is not very large so we must make use of as much of what is grown as we can. Beet leaves are often overlooked by many but they are delicious when used in place of spinach or Swiss Chard. These rolls are a great way to use up the part of a vegetable that usually ends up in the compost bin.
Are Beet Leaves Good For You?
If the green colour alone hasn’t convinced you, beet leaves are essentially a superfood. Compared to the root part of the beet, they contain more minerals, vitamins, and fiber, yet they are lower in calories, fat, and sugar. These leafy greens have some amazing health benefits:
- rich in minerals such as: magnesium, copper, calcium, sodium, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.
- beet greens are low fat, have no cholesterol yet still provide decent amounts of protein (4% RDA) and fibre (1o% RDA).
- excellent source of Vitamins including Vitamin A (211% RDA), Vitamin K (333% RDA), Vitamin C (50%) just to name a few.
How to Choose and Prepare Beet Leaves
Look for dark green leaves with few blemishes. The leaf should be firm, yet tender. For this recipe, I chose medium sized leaves from my garden beets and trimmed them about an inch above the beet root. Carefully wash them under running tap water and keep an eye out for any insect eggs.
If the leaves are older and not very pliable, you will need to blanch them before rolling them around the dough. Immerse five or six leaves into a pot of boiling water for 30 seconds, then quickly remove and plunge into a sink of ice cold water. Finally, place them on a clean tea towel and pat dry with another towel. Repeat until you have enough leaves for this recipe. Keep a few leaves to use as a pan liner and to cover the beet leaf rolls as they are cooking.
How to Make Beetniks
Many beetnik recipes call for a yeasted dough, but I love to experiment with sourdough. I used the same sourdough method in my Red Plum Sourdough Rolls and omitted the sugar. Then, after you roll the dough out, cut it 24 equal pieces. Using a light touch, shape each piece into a cylinder about 2 inches long. Place the dough at the base of the leaf, then roll upwards.
Place the uncooked leaves in the bottom of the pan and then arrange the beet rolls over top. Once you have a full pan, cover with remaining raw leaves, then cover the entire pan with Aluminum foil and bake as noted in the recipe.
Helpful Hints for Making Beet Leaf Rolls
- The best way to ensure that you get beautifully rolled beet leaf holubtsi is to have pliable beet leaves. Use young leaves or blanch them.
- Use extra leaves to line the pan and cover the rolls during baking. They keep the rolls from drying out.
- Place the rolls seam side down in the pan. Snuggle them up tight lengthwise but leave space between the rows so the dough can expand.
- Feeding a crowd? Double the recipe and add another layer of rolls to the baking pan.
- Add the sauce during the last ten minutes of baking time or have it ready to pour over the beet rolls just before eating.
- Beet Leaf Rolls do not reheat well. They are best eaten right out of the oven.
Beet Leaf Rolls With Garlic Dill Cream Sauce
This wouldn’t be a cherished Ukrainian dish without the addition of copious amounts of garlic! Since the rolls have very little in the way of seasoning, this dish must be finished with a sauce. My garlic dill cream sauce contains more than a few minced garlic cloves, a lot of fresh dill and super sweet cream. It’s basically a Béchamel Sauce as it is made with a roux featuring butter, flour, and cream.
Can I Make Stuffed Beet Leaves Ahead of Time?
Sure you can. The best way to do this is to follow the recipe until you reach the point of baking. Instead, wrap the baking dish well and place in the freezer. To bake, simply remove from the freezer and allow it to thaw slowly in the refrigerator. Bake as per the recipe.
Please join our UKRAINIAN FEAST…These bloggers have been working hard to bring you some very delicious Ukrainian dishes for this month’s Eat The World trip to the Ukraine. Check out these other amazing recipes and click here to find out how explore the world’s cuisine each month.
Making Miracles: Mazuricks
Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Nalysnyky (Ukranian Crêpes)
Sugarlovespices: Ukrainian Poppy Seed Roll, Makivnyk
Pandemonium Noshery: Ukrainian Pickled Tomatoes
A Day in the Life on the Farm: Galushki Soup
Literature and Limes: Oladi
Kitchen Frau: Buckwheat Kasha with Beef
Sneha’s Recipe: Chicken Kiev-Serves Two#EattheWorld
Amy’s Cooking Adventures: Ukrainian Scuffles (Rohalyky)