Sarmales & Mamaliga

(Stuffed Grape Leaves & Polenta)
By Lumi Garcia


16 oz     Veggie crumbles (sausage-style is good)
4 cups    White rice or Brown rice
6 medium Carrots – peeled & grated
1/3 cup    Avocado oil to sauté
1 large    onion – finely chopped
2 cups    Green onion including the white part – finely chopped
5 cups    Mushrooms – finely chopped
2-15oz    Cans of tomato sauce (Glen Muir, we use)

2 Tbsp    Nutritional yeast
1 Hand    Bunch of parsley – fresh
1 Heaping Tbsp    Turmeric
3 Tbsp    Vegg
2 Tbsp    No Salt Organic Season (purchase at Costco)
2 tsp    Cumin
2 tsp    Coriander
1 tsp    Cayenne pepper
Pinch    Salt

Grape Leaves:
100 tender grape leaves – large leaves are preferred, but can use small to medium size too. You can pick grape leaves anytime, rinse them, cut off the stems close to the leaves so there are no stems.  Stack them by size (large, medium, small) as you clean them. When finished cleaning and they are stacked, place them in a Ziplock bag and place in freezer until you are ready to make your dish.

Or you can pick your leaves just before you are going to make you Sarmales.  Be sure the grape leaves are soft and not hard; preferably the leaves are young. You want tender leaves. 

Cook rice for about 10 minutes – do not cook fully through.
Pour avocado oil in a large fry pan and heat to medium
Sauté onions in fry pan till translucent.
Add all the chopped veggies & veggie meat  in a large bowl and lightly mix well being careful not to mash up veggies.
Add veggie mixture to fry pan and sauté 
Add rice to veggie mixture and again mix well lightly.  Then set aside.
Add to mixture all the spices and mix well.

Grape Leaves:  If picked fresh do the following:
1 Tbsp Salt
3 Quarts Water
Bring water to boil and add salt.  Add Grape leaves to salted boiling water. Turn Off stove and let leaves sit in pot for 10-15 minutes.
If you picked leaves ahead of time and placed in plastic bags in freezer, take out of freezer and let sit on counter while you are making your above mixture (the stuffing).  When you are finished with preparing your mixture, you can start stuffing and rolling your grape leaves with the mixture, no need to boil leaves.

Depending on the size of your grape leave(s), depends on how much mixture you will use to stuff your leaves.  For large leaves, scoop 1-2 tablespoons of mixture and place above 1/8” to the leaf stem; then press mixture on leaf together to form like a roll. Now start to roll from the bottom to the top of the leaf tucking in the sides of the leaf as you roll. Be sure to rolls snugly, but not too tight because the rice is not fully cooked and you need space for expansion as the rice finishes cooking in your rolled Sarmales.

Place you rolled Sarmales in a 9X13 casserole dish. You can stack them on top of each other making two layers. After placing your Sarmales in the casserole dish, pour the hot water from the boiling water you used to soften your grape leaves. Pour the hot water half way over the Sarmales. In other words, water level should not be more than ½ the depth of your casserole dish. Cover casserole dish with foil.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes.  Check to see if there is enough water in the casserole dish after 30 minutes, if not add more hot water.  If there is water in the casserole dish, don’t add anymore water, and uncover Sarmales.

After 40 minutes, if that is how long it takes to cook them, add 1 can of tomato sauce for one tray. Spread tomato sauce over the Sarmales. Return casserole to oven to bake for 10 minutes more uncovered.  Then turn off oven, and let Sarmales sit for 1-2 hours before serving. This gives time for flavors to incorporate into the Sarmales.

Any leftover Sarmales can be refrigerated for up to 7 days covered.

For 100 Sarmales, you will need 2 – 9X13 casserole dishes.


OPTIONAL:  Can serve Sarmales with Mamaliga (polenta).  Recipe to follow:
8 cups of water to boil
1 tsp salt
2 cups cornmeal (fine or coarse, your preference)
Vegan cheese of your choice

Stir in cornmeal to boiling water slowly and stirring constantly till thickens. Cook slowly to prevent lumpiness.  When thicken, place polenta in a dish/bowl and sprinkle generously vegan cheese of your choice.

Romanians eat a lot of polenta with their meals, this is their staple.


“Dear Friends, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you.”
(3 John 1:2)

Healthy Lifestyle Center, 4300 N River Rd., Rogue River, Oregon
541-582-1262 – –