Unstuffed Cabbage Casserole doesn’t take even the half time of stuffed cabbage rolls but it is as scrumptious. You won’t bother making cabbage rolls any more once you try this recipe.
This post was originally published in 2014 and we are updating it with additional information today.
Can you imagine that you will have the same taste as stuffed cabbage rolls by spending just half of the time? This Unstuffed Cabbage Casserole is definitely for those who are looking for the easiest and quickest way of making delicate dishes.
This is a lazy mom’s recipe, I know. But it is as scrumptious as Stuffed Cabbage Rolls. Some dishes really take a lot of time. Don’t you think it is great when we find a way to reduce the time and ? I know how you can do this for cabbage rolls: By changing their form. Deconstruct the rolls and serve in the form of a casserole.
Stuffed cabbage rolls are one of our favorites, but I don’t always have enough time or energy to make them. Chopping everything and cooking them together is what I do in such cases. The result is surprisingly amazing and I’m not sure if I will ever bother to stuff cabbage rolls again. Watch the video right above the recipe card below and see how easy it is!
How To Make Unstuffed Cabbage Casserole
This Unstuffed Cabbage Casserole is one of the best shortcuts in my culinary experience. Use exactly the same ingredients of cabbage rolls for this recipe. Cook everything in a large pan adding slightly blanched cabbage into it. Bake this cooked mixture in a casserole pan. It is sliced perfectly when serving. Optionally, you can just skip the baking step if you don’t have enough time for it and serve after everything in the pan is cooked over the stove.
As you can see in the video below, I add extra tomato paste after it is cooked in the pan, just before transferring it into the casserole pan. I do this because I discovered that it bakes better when there is some wetness in the mixture as some of you suggested.
I don’t use any topping as I want exactly the same taste of my favorite cabbage rolls, but you can top your casserole with some cheese if you like.
Unstuffed Cabbage with Instant Rice
When updating the recipe, I made some changes with the help of YOUR suggestions in the comments and emails. The former recipe before the update calls for cooked rice, which requires cooking rice in a separate pan before combining it with other ingredients. Some readers suggested cooking it in the same pan with other ingredients so that everything cooks together and it requires less effort. Such a wonderful and helpful suggestion! Thank YOU! That’s why, I cooked everything together in this updated version. There is one thing you need to be careful though: Add enough water to cook the rice. 3/4 cup water for 1 cup rice was enough for me. Other ingredients like tomatoes, lemon juice and cabbage helped it cook as well.
On the other hand, you can definitely use instant rice to make this recipe even easier and quicker. You don’t need to worry about how much water you will need. Also, you can easily decide how much rice you’d like in your meal. Add some, give it a stir and add more if you think it’s not enough. Unlike uncooked rice, the amount of rice will not double as it’s pre-cooked.
How to Make Unstuffed Cabbage Casserole Without Rice
It is possible to make this recipe with or without rice. If you are on a diet or want to reduce the carb in your meal, I suggest you make it without rice. I’ve tried it and it’s still tasty and filling, so I’m sure you will be satisfied with it as well.
Unstuffed Cabbage with Quinoa
If you are a fan of quinoa, feel free to substitute quinoa for rice. Make sure you add enough water when cooking it though. 3/4 cup water for 1/2 cup quinoa should be fine. Also, simmer it over the lowest heat to give it enough time to cook.
Vegetarian Unstuffed Cabbage Casserole
If you want a lighter version, leave the ground beef out and make it vegetarian. I love both versions. Making it meatless is better if I’m planning to serve it as a side dish. I always drizzle extra olive oil and lemon juice on it when serving though. One of our readers suggested some cheese topping when baking, so I think it’s a great idea when you make it vegetarian.
What to Serve With Unstuffed Cabbage Casserole
The best thing to serve with this Unstuffed Cabbage Casserole is a bowl of plain yogurt or a fresh and crisp salad. I love it really tangy, so I squeeze extra lemon on my part when eating as you can see in the video.
We have some staple side dishes that we serve with any meal. They go perfectly with this unstuffed cabbage casserole as well. So our all time favorite side dishes are as follows:
Can You Freeze Unstuffed Cabbage Casserole?
This is a freezer-friendly recipe. You can either freeze it either after it is cooked over the stove or after it is baked. Just make sure it cools completely before freezing. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator and reheat in the oven when you need a quick meal.
THANK YOU all for helping me develop the recipes on the blog. This is what I love most about blogging! I’m still open to new ideas on this recipe. Please share them in the comments section if you have any!
More easy cabbage recipes that I’d love to try:
Cabbage and Noodles on Spicy Southern Kitchen
Asian Beef and Cabbage Salad on Taste and Tell Blog
Unstuffed Cabbage Casserole
The shortcut recipe for stuffed cabbage rolls.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings
- Category: Dinner
- Cuisine: American
- 2 pounds cabbage, roughly chopped
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 and tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup tomato paste
- 1/2 cup tomatoes, diced
- 1 cup rice, washed and rinsed well
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried mint
- 1 lemon, squeezed
- A handful of chopped parsley
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Chop the cabbage roughly and blanch in boiling water, for about 5-10 minutes.
- Heat a pan on medium heat and add ground beef with 1/4 cup water. Cook until it releases water, reduce the heat. Cook it stirring and pressing on the ground beef until there aren’t any blocks left. (See the video above.)
- Cover the pan and cook until there is little water left.
- Add olive oil, onion, garlic and cook stirring for 5-10 minutes.
- Add in 2 tablespoons tomato paste and 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes. Stir well.
- Add in rice and stir.
- Season with salt, black pepper and dried mint.
- Add in the chopped and blanched cabbage in the pan. Pour lemon juice over it. Stir well.
- Add chopped parsley on it, pour 3/4 cup water and cover the pan. Cook it over the lowest heat until water is absorbed and rice is cooked, for 15-20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350F (175C).
- Add cayenne pepper and add 1/2 cup tomato paste into the pan, stir and transfer it to a casserole pan that is lightly brushed with oil.
- Bake for 40 minutes.
Baking time is 40 minutes but you need to cook it for about 30 minutes in a pan over stove beforehand.
- Serving Size: 1 slice
- Calories: 181
- Sugar: 12.6g
- Sodium: 628.1mg
- Fat: 4.6g
- Carbohydrates: 31.5g
- Protein: 6.2g
- Cholesterol: 0.6mg