Un-stuffed Cabbage Rolls Casserole

When I was a young boy, probably about 6 or 7, my mom sent me to the store to buy a head of lettuce. I went to the produce section and selected a nice round green vegetable, payed for it and brought it home. Mom then informed me that I had bought cabbage, not lettuce, and I should have known the difference. Obviously, I felt suitably chastised since I remember it to this day.

Switch to yesterday. I was watching Restaurant Impossible on Hulu and Robert Irvine was rescuing a steak restaurant. Of course, I got hungry for steak, so I drove down to the little local market near our house, picked out a small steak, a bag of seasoned french fries, and a head of lettuce for a salad. Got home and discovered that yet again, I had cabbage instead of lettuce. My excuse is that they normally don’t wrap cabbage in plastic, but they always wrap lettuce. Well this cabbage was wrapped in plastic and that threw me off.

So my motto is “When life gives you cabbage, make cabbage rolls!”

However cabbage rolls are a pain in the butt. They are labor intensive, time intensive and fiddly. This is essentially a cabbage lasagna built in layers of tomato, cabbage and meat. If you bake it then let it rest, you can cut out nice sections for serving just like a lasagna.


Author: Jim Kirkley

Much easier than stuffed cabbage rolls and just as good.

Serve with sour cream on the side.

Serves: 4

Un-stuffed Cabbage Rolls Casserole


1 pound, ground beef – 80/20
1 cup, cooked rice
1/2 medium, onion – diced fine
2 cloves, garlic – diced fine
1/2 teaspoon, red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon, dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon, dried sage
1/2 teaspoon, dill weed
2 12 ounce cans, diced tomatoes
1 12 ounce can, tomato sauce
1 tablespoon, sugar
2 tablespoons, parsley – chopped
1/2 head, cabbage – cored and chopped
1 egg
salt and pepper – to taste
1 cup, mozzarella cheese – shredded
sour cream – optional for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a skillet, over medium heat add ground beef, onions, garlic, red pepper flakes, thyme, sage, and dill weed. Saute until mixture is browned. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and let cool a bit. Add cooked rice and egg. Combine, remove from skillet and set aside.
  3. In the same skillet, add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, bring to a simmer. Add sugar. Add parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook for at least 15 minutes. Taste for sweetness, should be fairly sweet, if not add more sugar.
  4. Layer bottom of 3 quart casserole with a bit of the tomato sauce and 1/3 cabbage; add 1/3 meat mixture, press down, top with 1/3 tomato sauce. Repeat until all the ingredients are used up finishing with tomato sauce. You should have three layers overall.
  5. Cover with foil or lid and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour; uncover and bake an additional 30 minutes.
  6. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

For low-carb diets leave out the rice. For a more dramatic presentation: grease casserole pan. After cooking and resting invert on serving platter, pray, and remove pan. Hopefully you will have a multi-layered masterpiece.


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