Gluten-Free Cabbage Rolls

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Phaidon Publishing
From The Gluten-Free Cookbook, this stovetop gluten-free, dairy free and nut free cabbage roll recipe or Sarmale, is a hearty and nutritious winter main course from Romania. Cooked in a stovetop pot with the addition of carrots and bacon make this version more authentic than other cabbage roll recipes that are typically baked in the oven. They can also be made vegetarian by omitting the meat and adding vegetables such as zucchini, peppers and mushrooms.
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Course dinner, Main Course
Cuisine gluten free, Romanian, vegetarian
Servings 4


  • 1 Saucepan
  • 1 Pot
  • 1 Frying Pan
  • 1 Cutting Board
  • 1 Large Bowl


  • 1 cup Long-Grain White Rice scant
  • Salt
  • 4 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4 Onions finely chopped
  • 4 Carrots finely chopped
  • 4 oz Bacon diced
  • 12 oz Ground Pork
  • 12 oz Ground Veal
  • 2 Eggs
  • ¾ cup Passata unseasoned tomato sauce
  • 2 tsp Paprika
  • Black Pepper freshly ground
  • 1 Large Head Savoy Cabbage
  • ½ Lemon juiced
  • 2 cups Vegetable Stock


  • In a saucepan, combine the rice, water to generously cover, and salt and bring to aboil over medium-high heat. Cook for 15 minutes. Drain and cool under coldrunning water, then drain again.
  • In a frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots,and bacon and sauté until the bacon is lightly crisped, about 15 minutes. Let cool.
  • In a large bowl, combine the pork, veal, eggs, 1/2 cup (4 fl oz/120 ml) of the tomato sauce, the sautéed onion/carrot/bacon mixture, and the drained rice. Season with the paprika, salt, and pepper to taste. Knead carefully until the mixtureis homogeneous, then let the filling rest for 45 minutes.
  • Pull off the 8 largest, nicest leaves from the outside of the head of cabbage (or you could use 16 smaller ones). Shred the rest of the cabbage.
  • In a large pot, bring 4 cups (32 fl oz/950 ml) water and the lemon juice to a boil. Add the cabbage leaves and parboil them for 30 seconds.
  • Drain well, then place them on a cutting board and cut out the thick base of the stalks in a thin triangular shape. Place 3 tablespoons of the filling on each cabbage leaf and roll up the leaf until it is sealed.
  • In a large pot, combine the rest of the cabbage and remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Arrange the rolls on top and cover with the stock and the remaining 1/4 cup (2 fl oz/60ml) tomato sauce. Simmer over low heat until the filling is firm, about 1 hour 45 minutes.
  • Set the rolls on a plate and drizzle with the sauce. Serve hot with yogurt, sour cream, or with mamaliga, a kind of polenta.


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Keyword cabbage rolls, gluten free cabbage rolls, gluten-free recipes, stove top recipes