Unstuffed Cabbage Casserole is a true comfort food go-to. Nothing makes me think of my childhood and family more than Cabbage Rolls. Growing up with Polish grandparents, they made an appearance at every occasion, from Christmas to Easter, weddings to baptisms!
On days when I don’t have the time to create cabbage rolls, I’m so glad I have a quicker version of this age old favorite that still delivers all the flavor I expect from the original dish!
Unstuffed Cabbage Casserole
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I’m sure most of you have enjoyed homemade cabbage rolls before. They’re delicious and truly a comfort food (not to mention budget friendly).
When I just don’t have the time to fiddle with boiling/freezing cabbage leaves and making the rolls, I turn to this simple lazy cabbage roll casserole.
There are a few steps in this recipe, but it is really easy to make! You’ll create a quick meaty sauce and while it’s simmering you can soften the cabbage in pan. Once softened, just simply layer and bake.
For the meat sauce layer I use a mixture of ground beef and pork because I find it gives the best flavor. Any ground meat will work, I’ve even subbed in ground turkey if it’s all I have on hand. If you do use ground turkey, I’d suggest adding in a beef bouillon cube to add some extra flavor.
I love the chunky tomatoes in this recipe but if you prefer a smoother sauce, you can simply substitute another can of tomato sauce for the tomatoes. Be sure to remove the bay leaf from the sauce before stirring the rice in, while it adds good flavor, it’s not good to eat! Long grain rice is traditionally used, but you can also sub in brown rice. Another tasty option is to substitute cauliflower rice in place of long grain rice make it lower in carbs and incorporate more vegetables into your meal!
The cabbage can be prepped ahead of time by chopping into ½” chunks and refrigerating in a zippered bag. Cabbage will keep for at least a week this way and is so convenient to have on hand (and also great to toss into vegetable soups and stir fries).
Another great thing about this recipe is that it can be prepared the night before (or in the morning) and then simply baked before serving. This makes it the perfect meal for guests and busy school nights!
This recipe does freezes perfectly so if you’re empty nesters or have a small family, this can be divided into 4 portions and frozen for future – a perfect meal ready and waiting!
Your family will absolutely love this Unstuffed Cabbage Casserole and you will love how easy it is! Homemade, ‘holesome’, hearty and healthy – the new definition of 4-H! It will quickly become a family favorite!
Unstuffed Cabbage Casserole
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1/2 lb ground pork
- 1 onion , diced
- 3 cloves garlic , minced
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1 can tomato soup
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 28 oz . canned diced tomatoes with liquid
- 1 teaspoon dried dill
- 3 tablespoons fresh parsley
- 1 bay leaf
- salt & pepper to taste
- 2 1/2 cups cooked rice (brown or white)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 head of cabbage chopped (approx. 8 cups)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9x13 pan.
- Brown ground beef, ground pork, onion and garlic until no pink remains. Drain any fat.
- Add tomato sauce, tomato soup, canned tomatoes,tomato paste, dill, parsley and bay leaf. Simmer covered 10 minutes. Remove bay leaf and stir in rice.
- Meanwhile, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add cabbage and cook until tender crisp.
- Place half of the cabbage in the pan. Top with half of the beef/rice mixture. Repeat layers ending with beef/rice.
- Bake uncovered 25-30 minutes or until hot & bubbly.
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