Sour Cabbage Meat Rolls (Sarma) – Guest Post By Sandra’s Easy Cooking

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Sour Cabbage Meat Rolls (Sarma) | Sandra's Easy Cooking

While I’m visiting my in-laws in Taiwan with my family, I’ve asked my long time blogger friends to blog-sit for me like asking a good friend to house sit when you go on vacation.  They have prepared wonderful holiday recipes for Just One Cookbook readers so I hope you will enjoy reading their recipes.  My blog sitter today is Sandra of Sandra’s Easy Cooking.

Sandra is originally from Southeastern Europe, country formerly called Yugoslavia and she moved to the US about the same time I did.  As she’s a mom and a fellow food blogger, we got to know each other very quickly with our common background.  I even asked her to be my “mentor” because she was always helping me with all kinds of questions I had when I first joined Foodbuzz, an online food community.  I want to thank you, Sandra, if I may use this opportunity to thank you for everything you have done to guide me in the blogging world.  

Her site, Sandra’s Easy Cooking, features easy and healthy meals that all of us can appreciate to live healthy life.  You will be surprised that some of the dishes she creates are so easy that you would read the recipe again to see if you have possibly missed something.  Her food photography guarantees that her meals are very appetizing and her meal presentation looks like it came from 4 star restaurants.  I used to write numerous comments about how colorful her dishes are, until I figured she was probably tired of reading the same comments from me.  But to me it is always so joyful to see such beautiful colors on a plate because the Japanese believe having multiple colors on a plate means there are different nutrients for the meal.

I hope you will enjoy getting to know Sandra if you haven’t known her and learn to cook easy, healthy and delicious looking meals!  You can also visit her online at Twitter and Facebook, and purchase her cookbook “Sandra’s Easy Cooking: Savoring the Sweet Moments.”  Please welcome Sandra with her mouthwatering holiday meal.

Sandra of Sandra's Easy CookingWelcome Sandra! Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am mom of three kids, wife of a wonderful and funny husband, friend and foodie. I love art, photography, writing and cooking!

Please tell us a little bit about your blog.

On my blog you can find any cuisine and dishes that are not time consuming. I said that my meals are affordable because if you go out in a restaurant for a meal you will pay good amount of money for one family of 5, and if you cook home it takes not even half of that, and of course the meal is home-cooked, made with love and care! My vision for every meal is to balance the whole plate!

How do you feel about your own food blogging experience so far?

I love blogging, and as much as it takes time to publish one post it’s also so much fun. I met online so much good people, no they are incredible people, that my experience is fantastic. I can thank you and many for support and love that you all giving me!

If you can give one advice to a new food blogger, what would it be?

Study, follow and pay attention what other successful bloggers do. If you want to make yourself stand up be kind, and of course if you are food blogger look for the angle to see how your photo will look, because photos are very important. Also if you feel like blogging became to much and overwhelming, take a break and continue when you can!

What would you advise to a new cook or someone who wants to start cooking at home more?

Let’s put it this’s easy turn on the car and take yourself to a nice cozy restaurant..right? However the beauty of home-cooked meal is something that you can’t compare to the restaurant, no matter who is cooking behind those walls. Honestly you can take 1 hour to cook a meal, or 30 minutes but when your family and friends taste it and you see the expression on their face how delicious it is..well, that is priceless!

Thank you Sandra! From here I will let Sandra take over and show us what she prepared. Enjoy! 

Sour Cabbage Meat Rolls (Sarma) | Sandra's Easy Cooking

Hello Just one Cookbook Readers,

I am Sandra from Sandra’s Easy Cooking and while Nami and her family enjoying their Taiwan visit, I will share my recipe with all of you.  Got to tell you that I am beyond the words excited to be here at this beautiful food website.  For me this is not only an honor, but you should see my smiley cheeks when Nami asked me if I could guest post.  I adore her personality and once we start talking way back in March or April, even if we grow up in different parts of the world I noticed that we have so much stuff in-common besides the family and foodie life.  She is one of foodies that I would love to meet and spend weekend just talking and laughing :)…sigh!  Maybe one day when kids get older!!! :)

Now let me share something about my recipe.  As much as it seems complicated, I have to say it’s not so much…maybe because I grow up eating it, and also I believe first time when I made it it was 12 years ago.  Originally you have to make it with already pickled cabbage/or Sauerkraut but not shredded.  It is pickling process that many people in parts of the Balkan or Southeastern Europe prepare few mounts in advance to have it ready for holiday season.  What I am presenting today is much faster version of pickling but similar to the original and got to say extremely tasty.

Since it is Nami’s blog and as you all know she is doing wonderful step by step instructions I had to do it too, but not very often you will see it on my blog.  I admire her that much more because it is really not easy to do those steps to bring the method of food preparation closer to you.

I hope you try it and like what I’ve shared today!  Hope your Holidays are happy and cheerful! Stay safe!!!

Thank you Nami for allowing me to share my recipe on your blog.  It is honor and privilege to be even asked by you!!!  Thank you again my friend! Have a fun time on your vacation!!!!

Your Friend,


Sour Cabbage Meat Rolls (Sarma) | Sandra's Easy Cooking

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Sour Cabbage Meat Rolls (Sarma)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • 1 head of fresh Green Cabbage
  • 2 cups Vinegar
  • ½ cup Salt
  • 1 lb. Lean Ground Beef
  • 1½ Tbs. Vegeta -European spice
  • 1 Onion, minced or shredded (keep some for later use)
  • ½ Tbs. Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 cup Rice
  • 2 Cups of beef stock
  • 1 Tbs. Vegeta
  • 1 Tbs. Oil
  • 2 cups Shredded Sauerkraut
  • Few garlic cloves
  • 4-6 sliced Hickory smoked Bacon
  • ½ Tbs. Sweet Red Paprika
  • ⅓ of cup minced parsley
  • ½ Tbs. Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 4 Tbs. Tomato Sauce
  1. Wash the cabbage and take the middle root by carving it out. Boil the whole cabbage head by putting it in a large pot, pouring over hot boiled water mixed with vinegar and salt. Let it boil again for next 40 minutes or until the cabbage is softer on a touch.
  2. Once the cabbage is softer on a touch, cover with the lid, turn off the heat and let it sit in a sour and salty hot water for next 30 minutes or until you are ready for the next step.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the meat mixture by adding ground beef, vegeta, shredded onion, ground black pepper, and at the end rice.
  4. Now separate the cabbage leaves and cut the thick root on the back of the each leaf because of the easier folding.
  5. Put cabbage leaf on your palm and add about 1½ Tbs. Meat mixture (smaller meatball). Look at the picture for the complete instruction. These instructions are important because if you don't roll and wrap cabbage rolls correctly they will open up and meat will get out. Once the wrapping is over go on the next step.

  6. Boil 2 cups of Beef stock + 3 cups of water with 1 Tbs. Vegeta; set aside.
  7. In a large pot add bit of minced onion and olive oil (or any on your hand) and place each roll on the bottom of the pot. If you have meat leftovers, add them on the top. Put shredded sauerkraut, few garlic cloves, then rest of the cabbage leaves on top. Over the cabbage rolls, put few slices of bacon or any smoked products, sweet paprika, bit more chopped garlic, parsley, and about ½ tbs. ground black pepper.
  8. Now that you layer everything correctly, put it on the stove and slowly pour the beef stock. The liquid needs to go over the cabbage rolls at least an inch. Turn the heat on high until it boils again. Once it's boiled, cover and turn the heat on a medium low and let it cook for next 40 minutes.
  9. After 40 minutes, mix all-purpose flour with 2 Tbs. of Tomato sauce. in a bowl. Combine it well and add about 3 Tbs. of water. Stir until lumps are gone and you are left with smooth and thin texture.
  10. Turn the heat on high. If you need more water, it is good time to add more and boil before you add roux. Pour the roux little bit at the time, but do not stir, kind of do the moving the pot in a shaky motion just to combine the thin roux with the liquid to make like a thick sauce. If you see the lumps in the pot, use the wooden spoon to mash it. Add 2 more Tbs. of tomato sauce for the color and taste.
  11. Serve the dish with mashed potatoes because the sauce and creamy mashed potatoes go together perfectly.


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  1. I had some stuffed cabbage leaves before, but never “sour cabbage”… I think the vinegar must add a wonderful flavour to the cabbage, as it can be a little bland at times without extra flavouring! I’ll definitely try this next time! Sounds delicious, can’t wait! Thanks for sharing this Sandra, and thanks for introducing us to this blogger, Nami!

  2. It’s nice to see you hear Sandra! The dish looks really good, I love stuffed cabbage, have had it in so many different versions and loved each one. The step by step pictures helps a lot. Thanks for the post Sandra and Nami :)

  3. Nami, wonderful choice for a guest post! I really love Sandra’s blog as well. Those cabage meat rolls look really good! My husband loves cabage, but I don’t make it often because it never turns out right. I’m saving this recipe for the next time I want to make cabage for him!

  4. Sandra, your cabbage rolls look fabulous! They are traditional food in so many countries (until now I knew only about Germany, Poland and Hungary) but I didn’t know they were also popular in Balkans. I have never had them with sauerkraut (but I love sauerkraut and have just started to cook it: cold December somehow makes me crave it). I love the idea of the express fermentation! I haven’t had or made cabbage rolls for many years. I must make yours one day (or at least mine).
    Congratulations for this wonderful post with beautiful photos (I admire your making-of pictures! I never manage to make these.)

  5. So nice to meet you Sandra. I haven’t had sweet and sour cabbage rolls in a good 20+ years. My aunt use to make them and I loved them. Now I can make them. These look wonderful and the ingredients sound delicious. However I’ve never heard of vegeta – what type of flavor does it have ? Do I need to get it at a specialty food store?

  6. Thank you Nami so touched my heart early in the morning! Also thank you for inviting me today to guest post…can’t wait to see your fun photos and Shen’s reviews when guys get back!!!Wishing you best trip!!!xoxo

  7. Thank you Nami for having Sandra on your blog! Sandra I have been following your blog for quite some time, you are a genius! The funny thing is I have been seeing cabbage roll recipes popping up the last couple of weeks, don’t know whether it’s a popular dish during the holiday season or not, but they always look so daunting to make. Love your version, the photos are absolutely beautiful and vibrant, the layers of bacon? Holy cow, I bet the taste is heavenly!!! Thank you for sharing and happy holidays!

  8. I could just ditto Carolyn b/c I feel the same way, but I’ll write a little more! Nami, great interview with Sandra…and hope you’re enjoying your holiday! Sandra, your cabbage rolls look amazing! They always remind me of my dad…as he loves them. I’ll have to whip your version up for him next time he visits :) Thanks for sharing! xo

  9. These meat rolls are so beautiful and the post was informative and helpful. Especially for people like me who are just getting into the swing of regular blogging. What an excellent blog!

  10. I was also born in the former Yugoslavia (Markovac) of Romanian parents and this recipe is very similar to what my mom made, you even fold in the ends the same, though she used hand cut pork in her sarmale. :) I’m definitely saving this recipe for the day when I finally make them myself. Many thanks for sharing your recipe.

  11. Hi Sandra, nice to meet you :)
    Everything looks delicious. Sarma is my absplutely favorite in holiday season! Nice photos!
    Nami, hope you have a wonderful time with your family :)

  12. Hello, Sandra and Nami san. Anything comes with cabbage is my dish! Lovely cabbage rolls!! And I appreciate your organized step-by-step instruction with great photos. Such a comforting food:-) Thank you for the amazing job, Sandra and Nami san.

  13. What a wonderful guest post Nami and Sandra is such a sweet caring person. I am going to try making the cabbage I like the sour salty tang for the cabbage it sounds delicious. Thank you Sandra. Hope you are enjoying your vacation Nami.

  14. This was one of the best guest posts I’ve everr seen! I LOVE Sandra, she’s a total sweetheart and her dishes are not at all time consuming, delicious and affordable. I love every single photo, the step by step guide, the interview, it was fun to read from start to finish. Thanks for hosting this A+ guest post Nami. Have a beautiful day ladies! =]

  15. Hello Nami,
    I thought I read somewhere that you are in Taiwan and indeed you are! And you are lucky to have friends blog sit for you. I’ve been in and out of Orlando the past 3 weeks and last week I was totally off the cyberdom for 5 days when I went to a cruise with my mom (from the PHilippines) but no luck of getting blog sitters haha.
    Glad to “know” Sandy. I’m glad I follow her now on twitter too.
    Enjoy your holidays over there. How long are you going to be away? Have fun mon amie!

  16. Hi Sandra! Terrific guest post! This is very similar to one of my husbands favorite dishes! I sure do appreciate you sharing it and the interview was terrific! Very thoughtful answers to thought provoking questions! Amazing – as always!

  17. Nami- I hope you are having a blast with your family. Miss you but know you will cherish this time you are spending out there. Can’t wait to hear all about your trip.
    Sandra- You know I adore you and your blog. It was nice to learn more about you here. And as always your food and photos are stunning. You have such a way with the camera. One day we are going to hang out and cook, and you are going to show me how you work your magic.xx

  18. Wow, this is a very unique recipe. I might have had something similar in restaurants, but it is great to see such a detailed recipe with step by step instructions in making this dish. Great job! And Nami, I hope you are having a wonderful time in Taiwan. It is still cold and windy in SF Bay Area.

  19. Hi Sandra! Love your stuffed cabbage! Looks awesomely good! 😉
    Usually I cooked my cabbages in soups, stir-fries and also in my mixed rice (this is our family dish, we sauteed all the ingredients including cabbage, seasoned, placed on top of uncooked rice and cooked all together in the rice cooker). So this is definitely a new and must-try recipe for me bcoz we love cabbages so much! 😀
    Thank you for your step-by-step instruction pics! Happy weekend!

    Hi Nami! Guessed you and your family are having so much fun in Taiwan with so many different varieties of yummy foods! Miss you and hope to see lots of beautiful pics you’ve taken! Happy weekend to you too! 😀