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Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls

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Are you craving cabbage rolls but don’t want to deal with the hassle of stuffing and rolling them? Try unstuffed cabbage rolls instead! This dish has all the delicious flavors of classic cabbage rolls without the extra work.

This unstuffed cabbage roll casserole is budget-friendly meal prep bliss that will have the whole family craving second helpings. This is also much easier to prepare than traditional stuffed cabbage rolls and proves you don’t have to sacrifice flavor for convenience. 

Why toil over fiddly stuffed cabbage rolls when you can enjoy maximum flavor for minimal effort? Ditch the hassle of rolling cabbage leaves and savor all the wholesomeness of unstuffed cabbage roll bliss. Let’s get started! 

 Unstaffed Cabbage rolls top view

What makes unstuffed cabbage rolls so special?

One of the best things about Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls is their simplicity. With this recipe, you can enjoy the hearty flavors of cabbage rolls without spending hours in the kitchen. The ingredients, which include lean ground beef, onions, garlic, and a mix of spices and sauces, are cooked together in one pot, giving the dish a fantastic depth of flavor. 

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What are some common mistakes to avoid when making unstuffed cabbage rolls?

Crafting the perfect unstuffed cabbage roll casserole is easy if you sidestep a few key missteps. Don’t let undercooked cabbage ruin your dish – be sure to briefly pre-cook the shredded leaves before assembling. Watch your liquid levels, too – stick to around 1 cup, or the casserole can turn soggy. 

Overcooking the ground meat can lead to toughness, so just lightly brown it before combining with the other ingredients. Bland taste is avoidable by generously seasoning with robust flavors like garlic, paprika, and dill. 

Leaving the unstuffed rolls uncovered during baking exposes the top to dryness, so keep it tightly covered initially. 

Finally, let it rest briefly once out of the oven to allow the juices to reabsorb before serving. Avoiding these simple mistakes ensures you’ll savor the ultimate tender, juicy, robustly seasoned, unstuffed cabbage roll experience.

Ingredients in making Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls

What are the ingredients to make a unstuffed cabbage rolls?

To make this cabbage rolls, you’re going to need the following ingredients:

  • Lean ground beef
  • Onion, diced
  • Garlic, minced
  • Ground black pepper
  • Salt
  • Small head of green cabbage
  • Beef broth
  • Olive oil
  • Long grain rice, uncooked
  • Italian seasoning
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Tomato sauce
  • Tomatoes, diced
  • Brown sugar
  • Parsley
Process in making Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls

How to make unstuffed cabbage rolls

Now that you’ve gathered your ingredients, it’s time to make the cabbage rolls. All you have to do is follow the steps below:

First, brown the ground beef, onions, and garlic in a deep pan over high heat. Next, add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, sugar, salt, and pepper. Mix together. 

Then, add chopped cabbage, broth, and rinsed rice. Bring to a boil. After that, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. 

Check and adjust seasoning if needed. Next, cook 10 more minutes until rice is done, then add parsley. Or instead, add cabbage and parsley first, bring to a boil, then simmer covered for 5-10 minutes until cabbage is tender. 

Finally, add rice and brown sugar, stir, and simmer 4 more minutes until heated through. Serve warm.

How to store leftover unstuffed cabbage rolls

Unstuffed cabbage rolls make for excellent leftovers that can be easily stored and reheated for quick and delicious meals throughout the week. With their hearty ingredients and robust flavors, they reheat beautifully and can even taste better the next day as the seasonings have had more time to meld. Here are some storing and preheating tips:

  1. To store leftover unstuffed cabbage rolls, allow them to cool completely before transferring them to an airtight container. Refrigerated, they will keep for 3-4 days.
  2. For longer storage of up to 3 months, portion the cooled cabbage roll mixture into freezer-safe containers or bags, removing as much air as possible before sealing.
  3. When ready to enjoy, simply thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  4. For single portions, the microwave is the quickest reheating option – transfer to a microwave-safe dish, add a small splash of broth or water to prevent dryness, cover loosely, and heat for 2-3 minutes until heated through, stirring halfway.
  5. For larger amounts, preheat the oven to 350°F, transfer the cabbage rolls to a baking dish, add a little broth, cover tightly with foil, and bake for 20-30 minutes until hot in the center.
  6. Alternatively, reheat gently in a saucepan on the stovetop over medium-low heat, stirring frequently and adding a bit of broth as needed to prevent sticking or drying out.
  7. Serve piping hot with a dollop of sour cream if desired.
Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls pin sized image

Your unstuffed cabbage rolls are ready to serve!

Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls Recipe

Now that you know everything about making these unstuffed cabbage rolls, it’s time to print the recipe.

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Yield: 6

Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls

unstuffed cabbage rolls

Enjoy the simplicity of our budget-friendly Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls, where all the flavors of traditional cabbage rolls are combined in a hearty, one-pot meal. This easy recipe features tender cabbage, savory ground meat, and zesty tomato sauce, perfect for a frugal yet satisfying dinner.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 small head of green cabbage cut in 2-inch pieces
  • 3 ½ cups beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup uncooked long grain rice
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Parsley for garnishing


  1. In a deep skillet or dutch oven, heat the oil and cook the ground beef with onions and garlic over medium high heat until the meat is brown and no longer pink.
  2. Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, sugar, salt and pepper, Stir to combine.
  3. Add the chopped cabbage, beef broth and rinsed rice. Bring to a boil.
  4. Cover and reduce heat, simmer on low for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Adjust the seasoning if needed.
  5. Cook for another 10 minutes or until rice is cooked. Serve with freshly chopped parsley 
  6. Add cabbage and parsley. Stir to combine. Bring back to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer. Cover and continue simmering until cabbage is tender, about 5-10 minutes.
  7. Add rice and brown sugar. Stir to combine. Simmer until heated through, about 4 minutes.
  8. Serve warm.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 279Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 67mgSodium: 1006mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 2gSugar: 6gProtein: 25g

These nutritional calculations might not be accurate. Please speak with a licensed nutritionist to assist you.

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