Cabbage Roll Casserole

With the cool weather arriving and the leaves starting to change colours, it is time to pull out some comfort food. One pot meals and casseroles are so nice to have during the fall. They are hearty and comforting, warming you up on the inside. I love the smell of a casserole in the oven. The aroma fills the house and seems to put everyone in a good mood.

I am not fan of the fall. I love the summer and autumn is a constant reminder that summer is over and winter is coming. Even though I do not like the season of fall, I love the food associated with it. The warmth of casseroles, the availability of harvest vegetables like squash, root vegetables and cabbage.

Cabbage Roll Casserole Recipe

Today’s recipe is something I make regularly. I love cabbage rolls and have made them before (recipe), but they do take a while to prepare.

Sometimes, I want cabbage rolls, but do not have the time to make them. This cabbage roll casserole can be made in a fraction of the time, but tastes almost as good as the real thing.

Cabbage Roll Casserole square

 

I want these to taste as close to cabbage rolls as possible. With cabbage rolls, the texture of the cabbage is tender and the rice is soft.

Often, when making a casserole with rice, I like the rice to be a little firm and not mushy. Not so, with this casserole. Therefore, I usually cook it a little longer than the 90 minutes.

Cabbage Roll Casserole square

 

Adding a little bit extra water and cooking for another 30 minutes allows this casserole to have a texture closer to cabbage rolls. Either way, they will turn out great! Just like cabbage rolls, I eat this casserole with a dollop of sour cream. Delish!

Cabbage Roll Casserole Recipe

Cabbage roll casserole aka lazy man's cabbage rolls. Delicious comfort food made with cabbage, ground beef or pork, rice and tomato sauce.
4.39 out of 5
39 reviews
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Cabbage roll casserole aka lazy man's cabbage rolls. Delicious comfort food made with cabbage, ground beef or pork, rice and tomato sauce.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 onion minced
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp dry thyme
  • 1/2 large cabbage cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked rice
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
  • 3 cups water or beef broth

Instructions

  • Brown the beef in a skillet. Drain the grease and stir in the onions, garlic and spices. Cook on medium/low heat until the onions soften and become transparent.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Stir in the remaining ingredients and dump into a large casserole dish or deep 13x9 lasagna pan. Cover with aluminum foil.
  • Bake in a 350F preheated oven for 90 minutes. Halfway through the cooking time, take the casserole out of the oven and give it a stir.

Notes

If you prefer to have the cabbage soft and the rice very tender, similar to cabbage rolls, add another 1/4 cup of water after the 90 minutes and cook for another 30 minutes.

Nutrition

Per serving:

Calories: 391kcalCarbohydrates: 37gProtein: 20gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 60mgSodium: 775mgFiber: 3gSugar: 5g

Nutrition Disclaimer

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114 comments

  • Hi Steve,

    Can I cook the cabbage, meat & sauce separate from the rice, then cook the rice, freeze all in a casserole dish with the cooked rice at the bottom & cabbage mixture on top?

    To do this would I need to put a little bit of sauce or liquid under the rice layer at the bottom of the casserole dish so it doesn’t dry out when reheating it, or would the sauce from the cabbage mixture go down into the rice while reheating & keep it moist, …. after of course thawing it out in the fridge overnight before hand.

    Sorry if this is a bit confusing to understand. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.

    • Reply
    • Interesting idea Helen! I am sure it would work, the only worry that I would have it in the drying out of the rice like you mention. You idea sounds similar to a dish my wife makes, called seven layer dinner and she has a layer of rice as well. Putting some sauce on the bottom should help.

      If you try it, please come back and share how it turned out!!

      Thanks for stopping by the site! ?

      • Reply
  • 5 stars
    This is a great cabbage roll casserole recipe! It’s almost the very same as the one I have used for years. When the kids were at home they loved coming in from school and smelling this baking in the oven. My recipe has a little lemon juice in it and also a spray of sauerkraut on top and occasionally I’ve also added a few slices of bacon on top.

    • Reply
  • 4 stars
    I made this today. Followed recipe except replaced 1 cup of beef broth with red wine, added 1/2 tspn oregano, 2 bay leafs, a little brown sugar. Turned out excellent! Thank you.

    • Reply
  • 5 stars
    Just made this as a vegan meal!!! It was wonderful. Replaced the meat with vegan ground vegetables Italian . Love, love, love this. Used mushroom broth to replace beef broth. Thank you.

    • Reply
  • I’ve heard that savoy cabbage is more tender so thought I would use it rather thsn regular green cabbage for your cabbsge roll ŕecipe. Do you think this would reduce cooking time? If so, maybe i should use a different type of rice (rather than standard long grain white) and change the amount of liquid. What do you think? Thanks

    • Reply
    • Interesting idea. I have never used savoy cabbage in this, so I am not really sure how that would affect the cooking time. If you were going to change the type of rice, maybe basmati cause it is a thinner rice and can cook more quickly. If you try out the savoy cabbage, please come back and share how it turned out. I would love to hear!

      • Reply
  • can you use sour cabbage? or is there another recipe I can use for sour cabbage?

    • Reply
    • Hmm not sure. I have never made cabbage rolls with sour cabbage so have not tried it in this casserole. If you do try it, please come back and share how it turned out!

      • Reply
  • 5 stars
    Absolutely wonderful recipe! And so easy! This is a real keeper!! I didn’t make a single change.

    • Reply
  • 4 stars
    I made today. Used 2 smaller dishes for taking some to work. I used marinara sauce as the tomato sauce. Rice still a lil to firm after 90 min so I added 30 min along with a lil more water. That being said, it turned out great

    • Reply
  • I tried this recipe and did everything just as written, but my casserole came out like a soup. I’m not quite sure where I went wrong, because I only used 3 cups of water, as called for. I’d really like to try this recipe again, but I’m afraid of getting the same result. Any suggestions?

    • Reply
    • Hmm – that is odd as I have not had this happen. Was the rice fully cooked and tender? The liquid gets absorbed by the rice and my only thought is maybe it needed to be cooked a bit longer for the water to absorb. Hope it turns out better for you next time! Feel free to comment again if you have further questions.

      • Reply
  • Can I use the same recipe in the slow cooker?

    • Reply
    • Hmmm – not sure. It would be interesting to try. My biggest concern would be the rice and I would be worried that it might get too mushy. If you do try it, please come back and share your thoughts on how it turns out.

      • Reply
  • 5 stars
    I rarely use cabbage other then for coleslaw, but ended up with one in my organic CSA box. Was going to make cabbage rolls but then my wife alerted me to cabbage roll casserole, a search for which landed me on your site. Made this recipe, using half and half ground beef and pork( 2lb total) flavoured rice, fresh thyme from my herb garden and adding some steak seasoning. Used the beef broth( not sure how water would add any flavor to this dish) My wife was a little nervous about the fact there was not a lot of tomato sauce to the recipe( as you might find with traditional cabbage rolls) but I stuck to my guns and the recipe. Result: delicious…she absolutely loved it as did I. I only baked two portions and froze the rest once it was all combined to bake off at some point in the future. Hope that will work out. Definitely a new staple for the delicious fall comfort food menus at our house.

    • Reply
  • 5 stars
    OMG! I’ve been making this now for two years. This is the BEST cabbage roll casserole recipe I have made. I grew up on cabbage rolls, my mother is from Ukraine, and I found this to be the easiest and best tasting recipe I have made and this is also coming from my 4 children, in fact there are toss ups on who gets to take the leftovers home lol

    • Reply
  • when I make this I always add sauerkraut and I use tomato juice and tomato sauce and a can of diced tomatoes it always turns out great my family loves it everyone have a great fall and a beautiful Christmas and of course I use hamburger and onions and rice and cabbage

    • Reply
  • 5 stars
    Can you freeze leftovers ?

    • Reply
    • Sure!

      • Reply
  • 5 stars
    This is a great recipe. I added a tsp. of cinnamon to the ground beef, as I do with regular cabbage rolls. It gives it a great flavor! I am making it again today as I’ve got fresh garden cabbage to use.

    • Reply
  • 4 stars
    I made a variation of this tonight, it was very good…added a shredded carrott and about a cup of leftover tater tots (like to use up leftovers in casseroles) added a little fennel seed. I boiled most of the cabbage pieces for about five minutes before adding to the pan. I can of soup and quarter of a jar of spaghetti sauce (another leftover) mixed in my leftover rice and about 1/2 cup water, since rice and cabbage was already cooked baked for 1/2 an hour took off foil added mozzarella cheese baked for another 15 minutes…delish! 12 year old and husband both loved too!

    • Reply
  • I made this for a New Years Day supper. I made it as written, except I switched out the tomato’s for saurkraut. Delicious, and omg, so much of it! We are going to have leftovers for days. My Mom, who does not like cooked cabbage, but loves saurkraut, even really liked this one despite having normal cabbage in it as well. I did not cook it for the extra time, just the 90 minutes it normally calls for. We think it ends up being more a hash than a casserole, and I am going to pan fry some potatoes with a big scoop of this leftover. Yum!

    • Reply
  • My daugather made this for a 4-H computation and won grand champion. In our parish. I am so proud of her she is only 12 years old.

    • Reply
    • So glad to hear this! Congrats!

      • Reply
      • Hi making it now added mushrooms and will add raisins for some sweetness

        • Reply
  • 5 stars
    Have made a version of this for years. But your spices are a little different. I sometimes use a mixture of brown rice with wild rice. It’s really good but you have to pre-cook the wild rice. This dish freezes so well. I freeze into many individual dishes and then give them to my son to bring home. He loves it as its low carb and very nutritional.

    • Reply
    • Sandra, did you bake it before freezing?

      • Reply
  • I may still make this recipe, just to try it. But the sodium leaval & cholesterol seem quite high to me. Where can I cut out some of these issues

    • Reply

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