Vine leaf rolls with leek, rice and zucchini seed- an ancient recipe in Oltenia

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Who doesn’t know the famous Romanian stuffed cabbage rolls or vine leaf rolls (sarmale in Romanian)?

But I bet few of you are familiar with a special recipe in Oltenia, which is based only on vegetables, as it is a fasting product. The vine leaf rolls with leek, rice and zucchini seed is typical to Mehedinti County (Oltenia region, in southeastern Romania) and it dates back to the end of the 15th century.


So, here what you need for cooking 30 rolls:


200 grams of zucchini seed

200 grams of rice

200 grams of leek

100 grams of tomato sauce

3 basil sprays

2 thyme sprays,

6 laurel leaves

20 black pepper beads

2 grams of salt


The zucchini seed are pounded in the mill machine without being shed, the flour which results is strained and is melted with the rice that has been previously kept in boiled water for five minutes. Spices and chopped leek are added, after the leek has also been infused and all these ingredients are squeezed like the bread dough. The composition is laid on the vine leaf which is folded and rolled just like pickled cabbage. The rolls will be happy to boil up now.

The recipe is mostly spread across the mountain villages in Mehedinti Plateau, but became notorious at the European traditional food festivals as “the sweetest sarmale in Europe”.

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