Sarmale Recipe - Romania

Recipe for Sarmale (Stuffed cabage rolls)


  • 800g of minced pork and beef (mixed well together)
  • 3 big onions
  • 2 tablespoons of oil (vegetable or sunflower)
  • 100g of rice
  • 150g of smoked meat (preferable pig but beef is also fine)
  • 100ml of tomato juice
  • 2 tablespoons of dill
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • Thyme, salt and pepper
  • Pickled cabbage leaves

How to prepare:

  1. Finely chop the onions and cook them until see trough with 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the tomato paste and cook for another 2-3 minutes, while stirring. Now add the onion and tomato paste mix to the minced meats, then add salt, pepper, thyme, the washed rice and the very fine chopped dill.


  1. Remove the leaves from the cabbage very carefully, now divide the leaf in two parts. Fill the leaves with the meat component and roll them until completely closed. Now fold the sides, of the roll, in so the sarmale is done. Now continue until all of the sarmale are rolled. Now moving to the pan you will cook the sarmale in, before putting in all the delicious rolls you just prepared we will have to make a bed for the rolls. We will do this by laying pickled cabbage leaves on the bottom of the pan or even chopped pickled cabbage can be used instead.


  1. Now lay your sarmale in the pan, do this by following a spiral form and make sure the sarmale are put together with not too much space in between them. After you finished one spiral row you can lay another bed of pickled cabbage on top before continuing with sarmale. When all the cabbage rolls are laying in the pan, Fill the pan with the tomato juice until it reaches the upper sarmale. You can ad additional pickled cabbage on top and put the smoked meat also dispersed in the pan. Now its time to turn on the fire and let your sarmale simmer for about 3 to 4 hours. Make sure to keep the lit


  • Optionally you can decide to make the sarmale in the oven in a cooking pot if you own one.
  • To be sure that the sarmale are cooked well you can taste some of the pickled cabbage.
  • You can use more rice and less meat if you desire, or you could even go for fully rice with chopped paprika and mushrooms to make the dish fully vegan.
Country / Region: 
Number of Persons: 
Ready In: 
350 min.
Type of Meal: 
Side dishes
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