Sarma (Croatian Cabbage Rolls)

Submitted by Sophie Burnham

Sarma (Croatian Cabbage Rolls)

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Serving: 10
Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 7 hours


  • 1 Sugarloaf cabbage
  • 1/2 kg beef mince
  • 1/2 kg pork mince
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 finely diced onion
  • 1/2 cup sauerkraut
  • 1 tsp vegeta
  • 1 slice bread, wet, squeezed and torn (I forgot it yesterday - still worked)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • water


  • Prep the cabbage by cutting a cross in the base (for better internal cooking), boiling in vinegared water for 10 minutes and let sit for further 20 before removing each leaf - four outer leaves reserved for lining, all larger leaves halved and spines chopped up and set aside, smaller leaves just thin the spine with a sharp knife, quarter core (once leaves are too small) and put aside with chopped spines.
  • Mix minces, rice, onion, 1/4 cup sauerkraut, vegeta, torn bread and egg well with your hands. You may season more if that is your preference.
  • Line the cooker with 2 outer leaves and scatter some sauerkraut and chopped spines on bottom.
  • Roll 1-2 tsp mix and place at middle of one end of leaf. Fold the spine side in and then roll up and finish by tucking the softer end in to the roll. If smaller leaves, put the mix at the base end and roll then tuck both sides into the roll.
  • Tightly pack each layer with rolls, then repeat the sauekraut and spine mixture between each.
  • Just cover with water and lay the last two outer leaves over the top.
  • Put slow cooker on. I had it on high for 5 hours but probably could have done it one low once it had come to the boil.
  • Towards the end, remove the top leaves, mix some cooking juice with the tomato paste, flour and water (and tinned tomatoes if using) and pour back over and cook for a further 20-30 minutes.

3 thoughts on “Sarma (Croatian Cabbage Rolls)”

  1. I found these quite yummy. Nice change from how I cook with sugarloaf cabbage. I recommend giving this recipe a go.

  2. Susan (I know very later) – sugarloaf cabbage is sort of an ovally pale leafed cabbage – googling suggests that the New Jersey Wakefield may be close?

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