Sarmale or meat rolls with cabbage leaves, the quintessential Romanian recipe for celebration

Romanian gastronomy is rich, varied and full of delicious dishes such as sarmale or meat rolls with cabbage leaves, the quintessential celebration dish. It is the main dish on Christmas tables and on special occasions when seeking to entertain guests (weddings, baptisms, etc.), when it is prepared in large quantities to feed many mouths.

Vegetables, meat and cereal are present, making sarmale or cabbage leaf meat rolls a great one-of-a-kind dish. Our version of sarmale involves rolling up a cabbage leaf with a mixture of minced lamb and rice, but these ingredients can be adjusted to taste. It is a simple recipe and, although a bit laborious, well worthy of incorporating into your recipe book.


For 4 people
  • Cabbage leaves 8
  • Minced meat of lamb, veal, pork, chicken, ... 250 g
  • Bomba rice 50 g
  • Onion 1
  • Garlic clove 2
  • Tomato sauce 300 g
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper

How to make sarmale or meat rolls with cabbage leaves

Difficulty: medium
  • Total time 1 h 5 m
  • Elaboration 15 m
  • Cooking 50 m

We start with the filling so that it cools before mounting the sarmale. To do this, peel and finely chop the garlic and onion. Heat a little extra virgin olive oil in a frying pan and cook over low heat for ten minutes or until the onion is translucent. Add the minced lamb meat, raise the heat a little and stir so that it does not weigh down.

Then add the rice and stir. Add the tomato sauce to the pan, season to taste, cover and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes or until the rice is cooked and the mixture looks juicy, but dry. We let temper.

Meanwhile we wash the cabbage leaves. We fill a pot with plenty of water and bring it to a boil. We introduce the cabbage leaves and blanch them for 30 seconds. We remove, drain and place on a clean cloth to dry. We remove the part of the central nerve with a sharp knife, so that they are easier to bend.

We place a tablespoon of the meat and rice mixture in the center of each sheet and fold the edges making small packages. We place them on the tray of a steamer that we place in a pot with boiling water and cook for approximately 20 minutes. We serve immediately with tomato sauce.

What to accompany sarmale or meat rolls with cabbage leaves

Sarmale or meat rolls with cabbage leaves are a very complete main course and little can be accompanied to make it rounder. It has vegetables, rice and meat, so perhaps what we should do is have good bread on hand to dip in the tomato sauce with which we have served it.

Tags:  Fish Vegetables And Legumes Desserts 

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