Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Cabbage is one of the most popular Winter vegetables in Turkey. There are several dishes made from cabbage such as cabbage stew, cabbage borek (a kind of pastry), cabbage soup, cabbage pickles, and stuffed cabbage rolls. Among all these dishes, stuffed cabbage rolls are my favorite and the most common one.

Just like stuffed grapevine leaves, there are various kinds of cabbage rolls. Sometimes the shape of its rolling changes, but generally its filling has variety. In fact, rice is the constant ingredient of its filling but there may be some different additions to it. In some regions minced meat is added, in some regions tomatoes and some greens (we call it cabbage rolls/cabbage sarma with olive oil), are added and in some other regions chestnut is the addition. I love the one with olive oil as this main dish turns out to be a snack for me like stuffed grapevine leaves, so I’ll give its recipe here. I made these stuffed cabbage rolls last Sunday, and we finished it today. I love it so much that I felt so upset while eating the last roll. So I strongly recommend you to make these rolls in large amounts.

Lahana Sarma

•    1 small size cabbage
•    1 liter water
•    1tbsp salt

For its filling:
•    2 glasses rice
•    4 onions
•    4 middle size tomatoes, diced
•    1 green pepper, diced
•    2 scallions, diced
•    4 cloves garlic, sliced
•    Half bunch of parsley, minced
•    2 lemons, juice
•    1 tbsp pepper/tomato paste
•    1 tsp dry mint
•    1 tsp salt
•    1 tsp thyme
•    1 tsp black pepper
•    ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

(If you like, add 200gr minced meat into it.)

Wash the cabbage, throw the outer leaves away and seperate all its leaves.

Put enough water (about 1 liter) into a large pot, add 1tbsp salt and boil it. Put the cabbage leaves into this boiling water and boil them until they get tender (but not too much), when their color turns to yellow, (after about 3-4 minutes) take out them from water.

Now try to cut them in regular shapes. We don’t use the thick streaks of these leaves, so cut them out. You can use these thick pieces in a vegetable stew the following day.

For its filling, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix them well.

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Now get one piece and lay it on a flat surface. Put some filling mixture on it and roll it up.

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

The shape is not so important herei, just try to roll it well and do not put a lot of filling in it, otherwise you’ll lose some of them.

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Place these cabbage rolls in a pot leaving the center empty. Pour the watery part of the mixture on the rolls. When you finish all the leaves, but still have some filling mixture, do not throw it away.

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Put that mixture in a glass bowl and place it over the space in the middle of the rolls. Moreover, if you like you can chop the thick pieces into it and have a bowl of another dish of cabbage.
Put the pot on the lowest heat and cook it for half an hour. Then add ¼ cup of water into it and let it cook for an hour.

You can serve it warm or cold with some lemon slices and greens. And I think the best pair of these rolls is a bowl of home made yogurt.

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls


  1. Rico says

    Me too, count me in for dinner, I love to eat stuffed cabbage, really nice and these look delicious. :D xxxx I buzz’d you

  2. says

    I’m always on the lookout for new cabbage ideas, definitely like the sound of the stuffed cabbage rolls…

  3. says

    I believe this is the kind of dish that could convert a carnivore into a vegetarian, if even only for a day! :p

    I’ll have to try making these for the boyfriend.

  4. says

    These look delicious! I can see why you were sad to eat the last one! I would be too! YUMMY!!!

  5. says

    These are wonderful – I see what you meant about ‘sarma’ being different for you than the ones I blogged about. I love the use of fresh tomatoes but I was particularly caught by your suggestion to pair it with yogurt. How delicious that would be! And your photos are beautiful, as usual. 8-)

  6. Aleeeeee says

    One of my favorites, we call them “sarmale”. Great recipe, but they look better when rolled right, tight, with the ends turned inside. Best cabbage rolls are dry ones (just don’t put too much water in the pot when u bake it) and in a small size. you can stuff the same mixture of meat and rice in grape vine leaves, and either way with a spoon full of sour cream on top of those hot, delicious rolls! Ketchup works just fine for ketchupoholichs :D enjoy!

  7. MVD says

    Thanks for this wonderful recipe, I’m going to try it. However, I don’t understand the last step (bowl in middle of pan). What is the purpose of that? Does it get added in again? or is it a seperate dish?

  8. says

    Thank you all for your comments and for these nice words.

    MVD – That mixture in the bowl was excessive, so instead of cooking it in another pot, you can put the bowl in the pot filled with cabbage rolls, and you’ll have two different dishes in the same pot and at the same time.

  9. says

    These cabbage rolls look incredible. I love when I find a nice vegetarian version. Thanks for sharing!

  10. says

    Zerrin – Just wanted to let you know that I posted on my blog my sincerest thanks to you for sharing your award with me!

  11. Dawn says

    Thank you for sharing such a divine sounding recipe. I adore stuffed cabbage rolls and grew up eating them in their simplest form; meat, rice, onion, salt & pepper. I still enjoy them to this day.

  12. says

    this dish looks delicious! Great recipe and great picture. Never tried to cook stuffed cabbage before. I will now. Thanks!

  13. says

    Jamie- I’ve never tried red cabbage for this dish, and never heard anyone who tired. You know its leaves are so hard, and also it may turn the dish into something very pink.But if you still try, please share with us.And thank you for stopping by.

  14. says

    i made these! First bite was a bit bland, but when we sprinkled some salt on the cabbbage itself, it became quite nice! Thanks for the recipe!

  15. Vonn Parker says

    After ogling the picture of these cabbage rolls for a long time, I finally made them. They were extremely tasty. I used meat in my recipe, however I think the vegatarian option would be amazing. I found the recipe made way more filling than one cabbage could handle, but I froze it for future.

    • says

      Hi Vonn! Thank you for sharing the result here! I love both vegetarian version and with ground meat. Never tried it with meat though. Must give it a try! The amount of filling could depend on the size of cabbage, but freezing it for future is a great solution! I either do the same or cook it as it is, not in cabbage rolls, it becomes like pilaf. It is still tasty that way!

  16. Sherry says

    Hi, Zerrin, I am going to try your cabbage roll recipe tonight. I was wondering
    if you had ever tried freezing them?

    • says

      Hi Sherry! I love to freeze them. They are great when frozen. Just thaw them before you cook. Mom makes these for us and freezes some for later cooking whenever she visits us. I love to remember mom when I cook these when she’s away from me.


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