Serbian Stuffed Cabbage Recipe

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This recipe was given to me by a farmer neighbor. She grew up in a Serbian neighborhood, and said the Serbian name for this dish is Sarma. I always think of this kind lady whenever I make this dish...she and her husband always had a huge garden (one year they grew five different types of leaf lettuce!), and they were always very generous with their harvests.—Mrs. Arthur Goldberg, Goetzville, Michigan
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. Cook: 1-1/2 hours
MAKES:6 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. Cook: 1-1/2 hours
MAKES: 6 servings


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 medium head cabbage (about 3 pounds)
  • 1/4 cup uncooked long grain rice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 can (8 ounces) sauerkraut, undrained
  • GRAVY:
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Nutritional Facts

1 each: 249 calories, 12g fat (4g saturated fat), 37mg cholesterol, 1039mg sodium, 20g carbohydrate (5g sugars, 4g fiber), 17g protein.


  1. In a skillet, brown beef and onion; drain and set aside. In a Dutch oven or large kettle, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add cabbage; simmer 6-8 minutes. Remove wilted cabbage leaves with a fork; drain and cool.
  2. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, add rice to 2 cups boiling water; when water comes to a boil again, remove from the heat. Drain and rinse. Add rice to beef; season with salt and pepper. Remove the large vein from 12 large cabbage leaves.
  3. Line bottom of another large kettle with half of the remaining small cabbage leaves; cover with half of the sauerkraut. Place 1 tablespoon of meat mixture on each large cabbage leaf. Fold sides over and roll leaf up tightly lengthwise; tuck loose ends under and place seam side down on top of sauerkraut. Repeat with remaining large leaves and meat mixture. Cover with remaining sauerkraut and small cabbage leaves.
  4. For gravy, combine the oil and flour in a small saucepan. Add remaining ingredients and cook over medium heat until slightly thickened; pour over cabbage leaves. Simmer gently over low heat for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, shaking kettle occasionally to prevent sticking. Yield: 6 servings.
Originally published as Serbian Stuffed Cabbage in Country Ground Beef 1993, p70

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