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4 from 8 votes
A white plate with 3 sarmale, sour cream and polenta
Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (Romanian Sarmale)
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
1 hr

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, our Romanian Sarmale, a healthy dinner dish made with ground meat and rice, herbs, paprika and seasoning, rolled in cabbage leaves or sauerkraut, and cooked in a light tomato sauce until tender. It's a traditional dish in Romania, which is a classic recipe at Christmas, but also all year round. Quick and easy to make, these cabbage rolls are best served with polenta and sour cream.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Romanian
Keyword: cabbage rolls
Servings: 30 rolls
Calories: 76 kcal
Author: Daniela Apostol
  • 500 g ground pork
  • 250 g ground chicken
  • 1/2 cup rice
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried mixed herbs
  • 1 small onion
  • 30 pickled cabbage leaves sauerkraut
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 3 cups water
  1. Cut the onion really finely and mix it with the minced chicken and pork.

  2. Rinse the rice under running cold water, then mix it with the chicken and onion.
  3. Season with salt, ground black pepper, herbs and sweet paprika.

  4. This mixture was enough for 30 rolls, but depending on how big your rolls are, you may need more or less pickled cabbage leaves.

  5. Take a tablespoon of the mixture and place it on the pickled cabbage leaf. Fold it tightly into a roll. Repeat with the remaining mince.
  6. Shred a few pickled cabbage leaves and place them on the bottom of a large pan.
  7. Place the rolls around the pan leaving a well in the middle. Do make sure they are no gaps between the rolls, otherwise they might unfold during cooking.
  8. Add the tomato purée and pour in the water, making sure all the rolls are completely covered. Add more water if necessarily.

  9. Cover with a lid and cook on a small to medium heat until the rolls are cooked through.
  10. You can also add them to the oven once the are cooked, for 10-15 minutes, so the cabbage leaves can be extra tender.

  11. To reheat, simply pop the rolls in the oven until hot.
Recipe Notes
  • Click on the US Customary link to see the measurements displayed in cups and ounces.
  • The servings can be adjusted by clicking the number next to Servings.
Nutrition Facts
Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (Romanian Sarmale)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 76 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Fat 4g6%
Saturated Fat 2g10%
Cholesterol 19mg6%
Sodium 62mg3%
Potassium 162mg5%
Carbohydrates 4g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 278IU6%
Vitamin C 8mg10%
Calcium 15mg2%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.