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Sarmale Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

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Adjust Servings:
200 gram (7 oz) Minced Beef
400 gram (14 oz) Minced Pork
1 large cabbage Sour Cabbage Leaves See note *
250 gram (8 oz) Wholegrain rice White rice can be used, but wholegrain is more nutritious
6 or 7 Sprigs of Thyme Chopped
4 or 5 Sprigs of parsley Chopped
2 or 3 Sprigs of Dill Chopped
2 medium Onions
3 Garlic clove, crushed Worth including for their health benefits
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
3 sticks Celery Slice finely
¼ teaspoon Sea Salt
¼ teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
2 teaspoons Smoked Paprika
60 millilitres (4 tablespoons) Tomato Puree
60 millilitres (4 tablespoons) Water or stock Add a little more if the meat mixture is dry
1 Tin of Chopped Tomatoes You could use skinned chopped tomatoes instead
500 millilitres (17 fl ounces) Water or stock To cook the assembled cabbage rolls

Sarmale Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

    • Serves 8
    • Medium




    The Artisan Diabetic is sending best wishes to everyone attending DIA fest 2018 in Chisinau, Moldova. To celebrate I am adding a traditional recipe from Moldova, called Sarmale, which can be made from sour or fresh cabbage leaves. I have read that grape leaves are sometimes used too, which sounds delicious. This recipe takes some time to make and is often made for special celebrations.

    I hope the attendees will get some inspiration from the video I recorded for them on World Diabetes Day 2018.







    Prepare the filling

    Peel and dice the onion.

    Pour the oil into a large frying pan and place over medium heat.

    Add the diced onion to the pan and cook until soft.

    Add the sliced celery, garlic, salt, pepper, paprika, parsley leaves, salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

    3. Add the ground pork, beef, rice and tomato puree. Mix together and add half cup water, and mix well. This is the meat filling.


    Prepare the cabbage leaves

    Handle the cabbage leaves gently, so that they don't break. You will only need the large leaves to make the rolls. The middle part will be chopped and added between cabbage rolls layers. Cut each large leaf in half and remove the tough vein. This makes it easier to roll the leaves.

    Chop the small cabbage leaves, add the thyme and dill leaves and set aside.


    Assemble the rolls

    1. Take a cabbage leave and gently flatten it. Place 1 tablespoon of the meat filling in the center and pat the mixture into a roll.
    2. Fold the side of the cabbage that is nearest to you over the filling. Then fold in the left hand side and roll away from you, towards the end of the cabbage leaf. Very gently tuck the left hand side of leaf into the cabbage roll using your index finer. Hopefully you will end up with a neat roll, but it takes a little practice.



    1. Place half the chopped cabbage and herb mixture into the saucepan or casserole.

    2. Carefully arranged the filled cabbage leaves on top.

    3. Sprinkle the remainder of the chopped cabbage and herbs on top.

    4. Pour the stock and the chopped tomatoes on top, being careful not to damage the delicate rolls.

    5. Place a lid on the saucepan or casserole. Bring to the boil very slowly and simmer for approximately 1 hour.



    Serve the rolls on a warm plate with a little of the liquid poured over. Sprinkle with a little chopped parsley. Enjoy!


    * To use fresh cabbage instead of sour cabbage

    1. Wash the whole head of cabbage.
    2. Remove the core (often called heart) of the cabbage without cutting into the leaves. The head should stay whole.
    3. Boil a large pot of water, add 1 teaspoon of salt and the full head of cabbage.
    4. Keep the water at a fast simmer for about 6 minutes, until the leaves have started to soften.
    5. Remove the pot from the heat. While the cabbage is still in the hot water, plunge a fork into the centre of the cabbage to hold it in place. Carefully peel the outside leaves, without tearing them. Set them aside to cool on a plate. Continue until the larger leaves are removed.
    6. Chop the smaller leaves and place them in the bottom of the saucepan that you are going to cook the cabbage rolls in.



    I checked https://www.homecookingadventure.com/recipes/romanian-cabbage-rolls for inspiration for this recipe.

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