Unrolled Cabbage Casserole

By no means glamourous, unrolled cabbage casserole may take a long time to get “dressed” but it makes up for what it lacks in beauty with its taste. Clean up boils down to one pot of water and a saute pan. Plus, you’ll eat off this for days on end.


  • 1 small head green cabbage
  • salt

For the Meat

  • 3/4 lb ground beef
  • 3/4 lb ground pork
  • 1 teaspoon dried onion flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • salt & pepper

For the Sauce

  • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons coconut or table sugar
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic


Preheat your oven to 350ºF.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a simmer. Core and cut the cabbage into very thin slices. Toss the cabbage into the water and let cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Strain the water from the cabbage and toss lightly with a bit of salt.

Meanwhile, brown the beef and pork and add in the spices. Once the meat is done, remove from the heat and set aside.

For the sauce, open the tomatoes and mix the sugar and spices directly into the jar/bottle/can. No need to dirty up a bowl.

For the assembly, get out a high-sided casserole dish.

Place a layer of cooked cabbage on the bottom, then add a layer of meat, then a layer of tomato sauce. Continue layering until everything is used up.

Depending on how deep your casserole dish is, you’ll bake for about 1 to 1½ hours…until the cabbage is completely cooked through, the sides are a bit bubbly and the top tomato layers has turned a tad crusty (in a good way!).

This dish needs to rest for about 30 minutes before digging in, as the liquid that was expelled will reabsorb while resting.


40 responses to “Unrolled Cabbage Casserole”

  1. Cabbage rolls were one of my family’s staples when I was growing up – my grandmother would make a HUGE batch of cabbage rolls from the fall cabbage out of the garden. She would freeze them and we’d eat them all winter.

    I don’t have the patience to make cabbage rolls so I actually made a cabbage roll casserole for my family last year – it wasn’t pretty but it sure was tasty! Mine had rice, of course, but I don’t think I’d miss it one bit. This version sounds great!

  2. I love cabbage rolls but the part I dislike is actually wilting the cabbage leaves and rolling. Thanks for the perfect alternative! I’m totally making this dish over the weekend. Such a hearty delicious meal. I can’t wait. Thanks for another sure fire hit.

    1. Just a follow up. I made this last Friday and it was delish! I didn’t have crushed tomatoes and ended up using tomato sauce, which was just fine. Since we have a smaller household, I will likely eat half the recipe and then freeze the other half for the future. It was so easy to make and truly delicious. Leftovers never tasted so good!

  3. I’m new to the cabbage roll thing (hated red meat as a child, eating it now-noms!) but have a head of red cabbage in the fridge-does it have to been green cabbage? I assume there’s not much difference between them but I could be wrong…Cause otherwise I’m making this on the weekend!

    1. Liz Estabrooks

      Actually, they don’t taste exactly the same, but I see no reason why red cabbage wouldn’t work. AND it is very much better for you. Remember, the darker the vegetable, the better the nutrients!

  4. Red and green cabbage taste the same so I expect there will be no effective difference besides appearance.

  5. I can’t wait to try this! I love stuffed cabbage the way my grandma made it, but I never have time to do it myself. This sounds so much easier 🙂

  6. anne macdonald

    THis looks delicious, can’t wait to try it…quick question, when cutting the cabbage, you’re almost shredding it when you cut it into “very thin slices?” It will fall apart in the hot water, and that’s okay right? Just want to make sure I do it correctly… thanks so much for your website, I loooooove it!!

  7. Aileen Chetcuti

    This was outstanding! Many thanks!

  8. I’ve never tried cooked cabbage before so I must say I was a bit skeptical on this one. I’m eating this recipe for lunch right now and it’s delicious!

  9. What do we think about making this in a crockpot? Would it work? Cook on high v low? How long?

  10. This is delicious! I have made it twice already, and all of my kids love it!

  11. really great idea. I don’t have the time or patience to make cabbage rolls. This was a great dish to make ahead and eat all week long. Thank you!!

  12. Wow this looks great, I am new to paleo, (I have been gluten free for over a year, thanks to an allergy) but recently came over to the primal/paleo lifestyle and I have been really wanting to make cabbage rolls but can’t find the time, this sounds like the perfect remedy. Yum! Thanks for sharing.

  13. Made this tonight with Savoy cabbage, and subbed Penzey’s Tsardust Memories for the spices (was in a hurry). Used leftover tomato sauce and halved grape tomatoes that were going a little wilty on me. So I cleaned out the fridge, and have a DEEE licious dish to boot. Thanks!

  14. Can this be made up to right before you put in the oven, but then frozen? I want to make it so my husband can just pop in the oven when I’m not home for dinner. Has anyone done this with this recipe yet? Thanks in advance for your replies!

  15. I just have to say, I love y’all. Specifically when you say things like, “mix the sugar and spices directly into the jar/bottle/can”. I make one of your recipes nearly every night for my hubby and I, and I always get a laugh reading your post. Thanks for sharing such yummy, simple meals and adding a little sunshine to my day, too! 🙂

  16. I just found this blog as I’m finally getting back to eating paleo after a while away. I can’t wait to try all of the recipes on here. For this one, I just wanted to say that I have made this in the slow cooker and it’s even easier! You don’t need to boil the cabbage that way. Just layer all those ingredients in the same way, but with the cabbage raw and then cook it on low for 6-8 hours or so. The cabbage cooks down and you get that same sorta ugly unbelievably delicious result.

    1. Michelle M

      Rachel, did you cook the mince as per recipe?

    2. I’m sorry, but to clarify, did everything go in to the slow cooker raw, the meat too?

  17. having never had cabbage rolls growing up, i scoured the comment section before committing to make this. it lived up to every comment i read about it! it just kept getting better and better each day it was rewarmed! not sure about the need for both smoked and regular paprika because there’s just so much of it in the recipe that you can’t really discern the smoky from the regular.

    used red cabbage and didn’t notice any change in flavor.

    i would have used more sauce–28 oz can was JUST enough, and i would’ve liked my leftovers a bit saucier. still, this is one great recipe!

  18. This is a fabulous way to eat cabbage! Made it for my family and my husband LOVED it and said we would need to make it again the next week, my 2 and 4 year olds both had 2 helpings and then we invited my parents over for dinner the next week and they LOVED it as well! Thanks for sharing!!!

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  21. Stephanie Sever

    My 15 year old loves this and wants me to keep making it – he eats it for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

  22. I’ve made this twice since reading the recipe last week! My husband and I both loved it. Thanks!
    I’ll be trying it in the slow cooker next time.

  23. so I’m making this like right now, & I kinda made a boo boo. I lost track of the time on cooking the cabbage and it’s cooked already. Should I still cook it in the oven for an hour even though the meat and cabbage are both cook?

  24. This looks awesome, thanks! I am obsessed with cabbage and could eat it all by itself…but combined with meatloaf it sounds even better 🙂


  25. I was really looking forward to this recipe, but must have misunderstood the directions- do not slice the cabbage too thin and cook for 10 minutes or it will be COMPLETE mush- I wasted a whole head of cabbage :(. Look forward to trying this again, though, with much coarser chopped cabbage and about 5 min cooking time.

  26. Yet again….another awesome recipe! This is so yummy. Thank you so much. We have decided that we are absolutely buying your cookbook! You have not failed us yet, and I have faith that your cookbook recipes will be just as tasty.
    The smoked paprika is different. I’ve never used it before, but I really like it. 🙂

  27. This recipe was delicious! I added in some sauteed onion and red pepper, because I am not eating sugar right now and thought that might add a little sweetness. I also added red pepper flake, for some spice.

    But I ran out of cabbage, and ended up having to transfer it to a much smaller dish so ratio of cabbage to meat/sauce wouldn’t be way out of whack. Could you possibly post a specific dish size and ball-park size of cabbage head?

    Thanks for the wonderful recipe! It was delicious!

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  29. Patricia Ledbetter

    I’m diabetic & started low-carb to help lower blood sugar levels. Looking for recipes, I found your site. I made the cabbage dish today. Amazingly tasty! I did tweak the recipe slightly. I replaced beef with ground turkey meat, & used ground turkey sausage to replace pork, then I replaced sugar with 2 little packets of stevia. It came out fantastic! Thank you for this recipe! I’m trying your recipe for Pad Thai (zucchini noodles) next! God bless!

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  31. This recipe is great and has become a monthly dinner. I also add 1 head of raw chopped cauliflower as a rice substitute.

  32. Made this for dinner tonight but omitted the sugar because of sugar detox I am on. It made the house smell delicious, and it tasted even more delicious than it smelled. Going into a regular rotation for us.

  33. Cooking Yeah

    This was amazing!! I used coleslaw mix to save on time, and did the slow cooker suggestion. Also only had Spanish paprika so that’s what it got. LOVED it!! Thank you so much for this recipe. I’ll be making it again.

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