Ukrainian Beet Leaf Rolls Stuffed With Bread

Common beet on slate over table

Heinrich Herwig/EyeEm/Getty Images

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 60 mins
Rising time: 3 hrs
Total: 4 hrs 30 mins
Servings: 8 to 12 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
255 Calories
16g Fat
21g Carbs
7g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 12
Amount per serving
Calories 255
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 16g 21%
Saturated Fat 8g 40%
Cholesterol 106mg 35%
Sodium 1073mg 47%
Total Carbohydrate 21g 8%
Dietary Fiber 2g 9%
Protein 7g
Calcium 120mg 9%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This recipe for beet leaves stuffed with bread dough, or holubtsi z khlibnoho testu zapovnennya, is an interesting variation on Ukrainian holubtsi literally meaning "little pigeons" but better known as stuffed cabbage rolls. (Some people say holopchi.) Fillings vary—meat, vegetables, grains like buckwheat—but so do the wrappers.

In the summer, beet, lettuce, and spinach leaves can take the place of cabbage, and, in the grape-growing regions of Ukraine, grape leaves often are used.

This will work with any good bread recipe, thawed frozen bread dough, or the one provided below. If beet leaves aren't available, fill cabbage leaves with the bread dough. 


  • For the Bread Dough:​
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 1/4 cups water (warm, divided)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup milk (warm)
  • 1-ounce butter (melted)
  • 7 1/4 cups ​flour (all-purpose, divided)
  • 2 large eggs (beaten)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter (melted, or oil)
  • For the Rolls:
  • 2 bunches beet leaves
  • 3 tablespoons butter (melted)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • For the Creamy Dill Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour (all-purpose)
  • 1 cup vegetable (or meat broth)
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons dill (chopped, fresh)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this beet dish is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.

Make the Bread Dough

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a glass measuring cup or small bowl, use a fork to combine yeast with 1/4 cup warm water and 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Let stand for 10 minutes.

  3. In a medium bowl, mix together milk, 2 cups warm water, 1 ounce melted butter, and yeast mixture.

  4. Add 4 cups flour and mix just until well combined.

  5. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled (about 1 hour).

  6. Punch dough down and transfer to a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, if desired.

  7. Add beaten eggs, 1 tablespoon salt, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 3 1/4 cups flour.

  8. Knead until dough is smooth.

  9. Smear top with melted butter or oil.

  10. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise again until doubled (about 1 to 2 hours).

Prepare the Beet Leaves

  1. Meanwhile, wash the beet leaves.

  2. Blanch in boiling water for 30 seconds or until pliable (especially if using mature leaves).

  3. Remove from water and shock with cold water to stop the cooking process. Let drain.

Assemble and Bake the Rolls

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. When the dough has doubled, punch it down.

  3. Take a walnut-sized piece of dough, elongating it to a rectangular shape.

  4. Place it on a beet leaf.

  5. Roll up loosely, as you would for cabbage rolls, except leave the sides open to allow for the dough to expand as it rises and then bakes. If you like larger rolls, use more bread dough but, remember, it will grow.

  6. Line the bottom and sides of a Dutch oven or other large pot with beet leaves.

  7. Place a layer of beet rolls in the bottom.

  8. Brush with melted butter or other fat and salt.

  9. Repeat layering, ending with melted butter or fat and salt on top.

  10. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled (about 1 to 2 hours).

  11. Heat oven to 350 F. When holubtsi have risen, remove the plastic wrap and cover with a layer of beet leaves and a tight-fitting lid whose inside has been brushed with butter or fat.

  12. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour and serve hot with creamy dill sauce.

Make the Creamy Dill Sauce

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. While the rolls are baking, make the sauce by melting 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan.

  3. Stir in 2 tablespoons flour and cook until mixture bubbles.

  4. Add broth and, whisking constantly, bring to a slow boil. Cook until thickened, whisking frequently. 

  5. Place sour cream in a heatproof bowl and temper by whisking 1 or 2 small ladles of thickened broth mixture.

  6. Then add tempered sour cream back into the sauce, whisking until smooth.

  7. Add 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, and adjust seasonings. Keep warm until ready to serve.


  • If you have leftover dough, form it into a loaf and bake it after allowing it to rise.