Unstuffed cabbage casserole is so much easier to make. NO rolling required, just throw it all in, saute and enjoy those classic flavors. One of our favorite simple cabbage recipes on our site.
If you love this green vegetable stuffed you’ll love this unstuffed cabbage casserole even more. Why? Because it’s so much less work! Just one of our quick and easy casserole recipes. (affiliate links present, originally published 12/20)
Stuffed Cabbage Casserole Recipe
It took me quite a while to really love this crunchy veggie. My Grandmother used to put it into everything and it wasn’t my favorite.
Fast forward 40 years and now I’m kinda’ obsessed. From baked, to Instant Pot cabbage recipes and even smoked cabbage and sausage, we love it all. It’s a cheap ground beef recipe packed with all the flavors you remember from your childhood.
Unstuffed Cabbage and Beef
I will start by saying that there is a ton of variety when it comes to stuffed cabbage in general. If you always use ground spicy sausage instead of beef, then go with that. Have a special seasoning you MUST use? Go for it!
Especially if you have a classic family recipe you treasure, you can use that as a base. BUT instead of blanching the leaves you can skip that and subsequent tedious steps because rolling is no longer required for this.
I’ll slice the head in half with the core on one side and “top” on the other. Then I kinda’ cheat and slice the end off. From there I cut into 1″ squares so it’s easy to eat casserole style.
As with any produce you should rinse the outside. I also remove a few of the outer leaves that may have been touched by others at the store and/or have debris.
Do not slice the head until you’re ready to use it. This will keep it as fresh and crisp as possible.
What meat goes good with cabbage?
For unstuffed cabbage rolls, ground beef, sausage or lamb is best. I love using 1/2 spicy sausage and 1/2 beef mixture to give it bolder flavors.
You’ll need a deep skillet, pot or dutch oven for this so it all fits and doesn’t overflow. Cabbage shrinks a lot once it is tender but in the beginning takes up a fair amount of room.
- A large pot such as this one
- Ground beef, sausage, ground turkey or lamb
- Bell pepper
- Minced garlic
- Diced tomatoes
- Salt and pepper
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Head of cabbage
First you’re going to saute and brown the meat with your diced onion and peppers. Use whichever color(s) you want in that regard. Of course you can leave those out if you prefer, some like celery or shredded carrot instead.
Low Carb Cabbage Casserole
If you notice, there is no rice in this mixture. You could certainly make a batch of Instant Pot white rice or brown rice and add it in after the meat is no longer pink. Southern cabbage casserole from my memories didn’t have that inside though, and makes it more keto friendly because of that.
We love this recipe with or without the extra carbs, just depends on what my mood is that day. Either way it’s comfort food that reminds me of my grandmother.
Another option is adding an extra layer of cheese and browning the top at the end. You’d just add the prepared mixture into a baking dish, add 1-2 cups of cheese to the top and wait until it’s melted at 400 F. for a few minutes.
Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls
I have heard some like to add a bit of brown sugar into their meat. I’d prefer ultra savory but to each their own. Like I said, use your favorite mixture of seasonings along the way. I prefer to add some while cooking and more at the end to taste. That way each person can customize it to their liking.
Time needed: 30 minutes.
Unstuffed Cabbage Casserole
In a large skillet or wok put oil, ground beef, and bell pepper. Cook at medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Add onion and garlic and cook 1 more minute.
You could alternatively make air fryer ground beef with these ingredients and then transfer.
- Add ingredients
Pour in can of diced tomatoes, and all seasonings. Stir. Cover top with chopped cabbage, leave a bit of room so lid can fit on top of pot.
Pour 1/4 c of beef broth on top of cabbage. Put lid on and cook over medium heat for 15-20 minutes until cabbage is as tender as you’d like it to be.
- Add cheese
Sprinkle 1 1/2 cup – 2 cups of cheese on top and heat just long enough for it to melt, then serve.
Alternatively you can set oven to 400 degrees, layer top with cheese and bake (in an oven safe cast iron pan or baking dish) until it is melted and golden brown.
OH MY Is right! Cheese is a must on top of ours, and lots of it but that is of course personal preference. Choose a shredded Mexican mixture for more bold flavors.
What should I serve with cabbage?
If you made fried cabbage by themselves, it’s a great side dish with just about anything. It has zero saturated fat, is almost calorie free and super versatile as you can see here.
- You can fry up some egg roll wrappers like “chips” and serve on the side too.
Have more tomatoes and tomato sauce left over and want to make a hearty dish like this in your pressure cooker too?
Try our Instant Pot cabbage casserole that’s almost identical but takes less time to cook. It has rice in it which makes it a hearty meal. Thin it out with more broth and make cabbage roll soup instead.
What can I do with lots of cabbage?
- We’ve also made Instant Pot cabbage casserole in our pressure cooker before. That one does have cooked rice in it to make it a heartier one pot meal.
- Our Crockpot cabbage soup is out of this world delicious served with this easy dinner roll recipe.
Air fryer cabbage is our latest creation that is easy. It doesn’t get as tender as it does in the oven, but I don’t like it super soft myself.
Want to see a few of my favorite things that I am totally obsessed with?? Take a peek and see how many you might already have…twinsies!
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How long does cabbage last in the freezer?
If you wanted to batch cook you could cut a bunch of heads, store in freezer bags and it will last 8 week. If you blanch it first it lasts 9 months. I personally would rather buy fresh and make it that way, but to each their own.
Can cooked stuffed cabbage be frozen?
Stuffed or unstuffed it won’t freeze really well once all the ingredients are combined. It will likely become a bit mushy and the texture won’t be appealing. Instead just put it in the fridge and eat it the next day for best results.
Unstuffed Cabbage Casserole
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 onion diced
- 1 bell pepper diced
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 can diced tomatoes 14.5 oz., garlic roasted diced tomatoes were used
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt to taste
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 head cabbage small head, chopped into 1" squares
- 2 c cheese shredded, colby jack used
- In a large skillet or wok put oil, ground beef, onion and bell pepper. Cook at medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Add garlic and cook 1 more minute.
- Pour in can of diced tomatoes, and all seasonings. Stir.
- Cover top with chopped cabbage, leave a bit of room so lid can fit on top of pot.
- Pour 1/4 c of beef broth on top of cabbage. Put lid on and cook over medium heat for 15-20 minutes until cabbage is as tender as you'd like it to be. (if adding 1 cup cooked rice add that in and fold in now)
- Sprinkle cheese on top and heat just long enough for it to melt, then serve.
- Alternatively you can set oven to 400 degrees, layer top with cheese and bake (in an oven safe cast iron pan or baking dish) until it is melted and golden brown.