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Serbian Stuffed Cabbage Recipe #1 - Sarma

User Rating 5 Star Rating (1 Review)


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Sarma is the Serbian version of stuffed cabbage and many Serbs serve it for special occasions like their slava.

Czechs and Slovaks call them holubky and Poles refer to them as golabki. They all boil down to the same thing -- meat and a filler like rice or barley rolled up in a cabbage leaf and cooked on the stove or in the oven.

Some people use imported or homemade whole heads of brined cabbage (sauerkraut) known as kiseli kupus when making their sarma.

Check this Quick Tip for an easy way to remove leaves from a cabbage head. Here are more stuffed cabbage recipes.

Makes 12 Sarma or Cabbage Rolls

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours

Total Time: 3 hours, 20 minutes


  • 1 large head cabbage, 3 to 4 pounds
  • 1 pound ground chuck
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1 cup raw rice, rinsed
  • 1 (1.4-ounce) package dehydrated onion soup mix
  • 1 (32-ounce) jar sauerkraut , rinsed and drained
  • 6 smoked ribs or ham hock or other smoked meat
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (10-3/4-ounce) can tomato soup


  1. Steam cabbage until outer leaves are limp. Remove leaves, and continue.

  2. With a paring knife, remove tough ribs from leaves without damaging leaves. Reserve tougher outer leaves but don't use for rolling.

  3. Mix ground chuck, ground pork, rice and onion soup mix. Adding a little water will make mixture easier to handle. Heap 2 tablespoons on each leaf, fold top of the cabbbage leaf up over meat, then fold sides to the center, and roll away from yourself to encase completely. Repeat until meat filling is gone.

  4. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Discard the cabbage core and coarsely chop any remaining cabbage except the tough outer leaves you have reserved.

  5. Spread chopped cabbage on the bottom of a large casserole dish or Dutch oven. Add the sauerkraut.

  6. Layer on the cabbage rolls, seam side down. Cut the smoked ribs into pieces, if using, otherwise space the smoked meat of choice between the cabbage rolls.

  7. Cover rolls with reserved outer leaves. Mix tomato sauce and soup with enough water to make a liquidy consistency. Pour over rolls until mixture is level with rolls but not over the top.

  8. Cover casserole dish and bake 1 hour. Then reduce temperature to 325 degrees and bake for 2 more hours. Let sit 20 to 30 minutes before serving. Freezes well.
User Reviews

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 5 out of 5
Stuffed Cabbage, Member katiebkh

My family was from Slovakia but spent some time in Hungary before moving to America. This recipe for stuffed cabbage is the closest I have ever found to the way my family made it. Obviously they probably didn't use onion soup mix in the old country, but once here, why not?! Anyway, I think the biggest difference is the tomato soup. We use the same tomato soup and onion soup in the filling for our stuffed peppers too...love it! The tomato soup makes it less ""heartburny"" :)

26 out of 26 people found this helpful.

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