Hungarian cabbage rolls are probably the most representative dish in Hungarian cuisine.
While normally filled with meat, garlic, and onions, the truth is there is also a vegetarian alternative based on rice or mushrooms.
However, the classic recipe implies using different types of meat.
Now, while you can have these alone, chances are you wonder what to serve with Hungarian cabbage rolls.
At the end of the day, you have meat, cabbage, and a few extras.
What works with such a unique combo? Here is everything you need to know to impress your guests.
Why Consider Serving Side Dishes with Hungarian Cabbage Rolls?
In theory, eating Hungarian cabbage rolls alone is not that bad, but the meaty content can make it nauseous.
Sure, when hungry, you can probably have half a dozen rolls without feeling any discomfort – but then, something to ameliorate the nauseous profile is mandatory.
The situation is even more obvious when expecting some guests.
They will most likely wait for a side dish once you put the cabbage rolls out.
Unless you are trying to impress, plain bread or perhaps some sauce on top will get the job done.
But then, there are certain side dishes that can make the difference.
What to Serve with Hungarian Cabbage Rolls? 7 BEST Side Dishes
Here are a few good options when not sure what to serve with Hungarian cabbage rolls.
1. Crispy Cucumber Salad
While most salads are crunchy and crispy, cucumber is your primary choice for some clear reasons.
Most importantly, it is similar to cabbage in texture and taste, so it will work wonders.
Cucumber will make the meal feel more refreshing.
If the meat you use for rolls is a bit spicy, this combo is even better.
As if all these were not enough, it takes minutes to prepare such a salad – top it up with a bit of sour cream.
2. Soft German Spaetzle
While not insanely popular around the world, the German spaetzle is a great side dish for Hungarian cabbage rolls – quite common in Hungary as well.
The side dish consists of nothing but egg noodles.
Not only do they look unique, but they are also available in all shapes and sizes – plus, you can make your own too.
Egg noodles may not have a very strong flavor, but the mix with Hungarian cabbage rolls will bring in a distinct aroma that will impress your audience.
Such a dish takes minutes to prepare, despite sounding posh and sophisticated.
3. Crispy Potato Pancakes
When not trying to impress, most people will simply stick to bread.
Otherwise, how about some potato pancakes?
The effect is the same, but they look and taste better.
Such potato pancakes are crispy on the outside and quite soft on the inside – different cuisines have different names for them.
The hearty aroma complements the slightly sour cabbage rolls.
Furthermore, there are all kinds of twists you can bring in.
For example, you can use sweet potatoes instead of classic potatoes – slightly unusual, but quite unique in this combo.
4. Crispy Rye Bread
If bread is your way to go with Hungarian cabbage rolls, try to give it a twist and opt for rye bread instead.
Moreover, you can cook it without too much hassle – a bit of roast here, and there will make the bread slightly crispy, which works great with the soft and sour cabbage rolls.
The hearty aroma is given in bite size pieces.
You can also add a bit of olive oil on top or perhaps some green leaves for design and aroma.
Seeds are just as good, especially since they are crispy – caraway seeds are excellent from this point of view.
Make sure you get more rye bread than what you need – your guests will devour it.
5. Soft Pierogi Dumplings
Pierogi is the name given to dumplings in different cuisines – slight differences apply in the cooking process, of course.
Such things are so easy to bring in that they do not even need a recipe – sure, you can make them yourself, but you will usually find them in the frozen section of your local grocery store.
Different fillings bring in different aromas.
They are also soft and go along well with the cabbage rolls.
Since they are based on dough, they provide the same effect as bread.
They are hearty, good looking, and excellent for the meat in your cabbage rolls.
6. Garlic Roasted Carrots
Carrots make a good side dish for Hungarian cabbage rolls, but roast them first – otherwise, they will look like a plain side salad.
When roasting them, add some crushed garlic, as it works well with the meat in cabbage rolls and the sour cabbage.
Although they turn a bit soft when roasted, carrots will still maintain a slight crispiness when eaten.
They provide a refreshing and slightly sweet flavor, turning your Hungarian cabbage rolls into a unique sweet and sour dish.
7. Roasted Red Potatoes
This side dish will make Hungarian cabbage rolls look a bit too heavy.
After all, the rolls are heavy, as well as the potatoes.
Opt for sweet potatoes to surprise your guests.
Plus, whether sweet or classic, potatoes can always be paired with meaty dishes.
Leave the skin to give your potatoes a hearty aroma – besides, the skin adds to the taste a little.
As for preparing this dish, it should take less than half an hour, so it makes a good choice when you run out of ideas.
On a side note, a bit of crushed garlic will be great for the cabbage rolls as well.
As a short final conclusion, you do not have to be a professional chef to figure out what to serve with Hungarian cabbage rolls.
Any of the above-mentioned dishes will be ready in no time and can complement the rolls in a unique manner.
If you are interested in something else, just find a middle choice to work for the sour cabbage rolls and the meat in their composition at the same time – simple as that.