Romanian Cabbage Rolls (Sarmale)


Here’s my mom’s recipe for traditional Romanian Cabbage Rolls (Sarmale) which I’ve been making for decades. They’re stuffed with pork and rice and baked with lots of bacon in between. They’re the best cabbage rolls you will ever have!


6 Quart Dutch Oven


2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 large onion chopped

½ cup long grain rice uncooked

2 pounds ground pork

¼ cup parsley chopped

¼ cup fresh dill chopped

salt and pepper to taste

1 head sour cabbage about 1 large cabbage

15 slices bacon chopped

4 cups tomato juice

water as needed


Soak the sour cabbage in cold water overnight or at least an hour before making these. If you don’t have time, rinse the cabbage well under cold water. Then take each leaf and cut the core from then cut it in half if the leaves are too big.

Heat the oil in a skillet, add the onions and cook until softened and translucent. Add the rice and cook for another minute.

In a large bowl, add the ground pork, salt, pepper, parsley, dill and the onion and rice mixture. Be careful with the salt, not too much is needed because the sour cabbage is already salty. Mix well using your clean hands.

Preheat the oven to 375°F (191°C).

Fill each leaf with about a ¼ cup of the meat mixture and roll tucking in the ends as you see in the video. Repeat with all the remaining meat and cabbage leaves.

If you have any leftover cabbage leaves you’ll want to chop that up and spread some on the bottom of a large Dutch oven. Then place the cabbage rolls on the chopped cabbage in a single layer. Next, you’ll want to top with bacon, and be generous.

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