“Sarma” Or Croatian Cabbage Rolls

Discover the story
It's Community Week here on Women of Today and that means we've got another tasty dish for you, recommended by one of you!

This recipe was inspired by our community member Vesna English. Originally from Croatia and now living in London, Vesna gave us a great idea!

We hit the WOT Test Kitchen to bring you a classic recipe for these Croatian Cabbage Rolls but with a twist. We combined all the great flavors of this classic recipe with something new, quinoa. Yes, you read that correctly. We used quinoa in our stuffing mixture, and before you judge, know that it was a great addition!

This dish is not a hard one to make — it’s just a lot of steps. But if you take them one by one, it’s not complicated. In fact, for a dish that looks like it might be challenging (aka, it will impress whoever you place this in front of on the table) it’s quite simple!

“Sarma” or Croatian Cabbage Rolls

Servings 5 main course servings, or 10 appetizer servings


  • 1 small head of savoy cabbage, outer leaves removed, and head washed
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 slices of thick-cut bacon, sliced into small pieces
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp. dried marjoram
  • 2 lbs. ground pork or a combo of beef and pork
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • salt, to season
  • ground pepper, to season
For Tomato Sauce
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 28 oz. can of fire-roasted tomatoes
  • salt and pepper
  • chopped parsley


  • Remove the core of the cabbage as best you can. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Place the entire head of cabbage in the boiling water, and boil for 10 minutes. Turn the heat off and let the cabbage sit in the hot water for another 10 minutes, while you move on to the next step.
  • In a skillet over medium heat, add the oil and the pieces of bacon. Cook to render the fat from the bacon until the bacon is golden brown. Add the chopped onion, minced garlic, and marjoram to the bacon. Cook until the onions are translucent and soft.
  • Add the mixture to a mixing bowl along with the cooked quinoa, and set aside until cool.
  • Remove the head of cabbage from the hot water and set it aside to cool.
For The Tomato Sauce
  • Using the same skillet, heat over medium heat, add the olive oil, minced garlic, and tomato paste. Cook until the garlic is fragrant and incorporated well. Add the can of fire-roasted tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Gently simmer for 15 minutes.
To Assemble The Stuffing Mixture
  • Once the bacon, onion, and quinoa mixture has cooled down, add in the ground meat, and combine well. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Lightly oil a casserole dish.
  • Using a cutting board, gently, pull one leaf at a time from the head of the cabbage, lay it flat on the cutting board, and remove the center firm vein. Place approximately ¼ cup of stuffing mixture in the center of the cabbage leaf. Tuck and roll the cabbage leaf and place it in the casserole dish.
  • Continue forming the rolls, there will be approximately 10 rolls when finished.
  • Pour the tomato sauce over the stuffed cabbage leaves. Cover and bake in the 350-degree oven for 40 minutes.
  • Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and serve.
Copied Print

If you are looking for another great recipe from our Community Week, check out this Garlic Bread With a New Twist… Literally! 

Making this recipe? Be sure and share it with us on the WOT Instagram or  Facebook! 

All photos by Lorianne DeVita


by Camila Alves McConaughey