Ever wish you could make unstuffed cabbage rolls because they’re just so much work? Traditional cabbage rolls are made super easy with a creamy twist in this creamy unstuffed cabbage casserole recipe.
Mr. Savvy was actually born in and spent the first decade or so of his life in Germany. As such, he’s no stranger to cabbage rolls and it’s one of his favorite dinners.
I love showing how much I care about someone through cooking, so I, of course, set out to make some cabbage rolls he loved.
He enjoyed the ones I made but was a bit disappointed as said he was used to them being made with a creamy tomato sauce.
I enjoyed them a lot too and would love to have them more often but they take forever to make and are kind of a pain. So, it was a no brainer to put this creamy unstuffed cabbage roll recipe together.
You get all the creamy, savory flavors of traditional cabbage rolls, but with a lot less time, fuss, and mess. Sign me up for what’s basically a deconstructed cabbage roll!
Can I Freeze Cabbage Roll Casserole?
Yes, cabbage roll casserole recipes can be frozen. I suggest completely cooking the casserole as stated in the recipe, though you can leave the cheese off.
If you freeze a cabbage casserole without cooking first, the texture of the cabbage may degrade and be super watery. When ready, reheat covered from frozen or thawed until hot and bubbly, putting the cheese on the last 10 – 15 minutes.
What Rice For Cabbage Rolls?
Really, you can use any kind of rice you want. We prefer to use white rice.
I have used the standard long-grain white rice and also jasmine rice.
If you struggle with making white rice definitely check out my tips on how to cook white rice.
Can I Make Low Carb Cabbage Roll Casserole?
Yes, this casserole can easily be made lower carb. You can leave out the rice completely or substitute cauliflower rice instead.
What Goes With Cabbage Roll Casserole?
The great thing about this casserole is that it’s truly an all-in-one dish. However, if you’re looking for ideas of what to serve with cabbage rolls here are some suggestions.
- Homemade Yeast Rolls Recipe
- Broccoli Salad with Bacon and Cheese Recipe
- Easy Roasted Lemon Asparagus
- Sauteed Green Beans with Bacon, Cranberries, and Almonds Recipe
- Mandarin Orange Fluff Jello Salad Recipe
Here’s how to make my creamy unstuffed cabbage roll recipe.
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1 lb lean ground pork
- 1 medium onion (any color is fine), chopped
- 1 small to medium head green cabbage
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¾ teaspoon paprika
- 15 to 16 oz tomato sauce
- ½ cup half and half or cream
- Non-stick cooking spray
- 2 cups white rice, cooked
- 1 cup cheese (whatever you like, I used an Italian blend)
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (optional)
- Brown ground beef over medium-high heat with onion in a deep, large skillet or dutch oven. In the meantime, start chopping the cabbage into bite-size strips or pieces. Please see the notes about the chopping size.
- Once the meat has browned, drain any grease and turn the heat to medium.
- Add the garlic, salt, pepper, paprika, tomato sauce, and cream to the meat, stirring to combine. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for about 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- While the mixture simmers, finish chopping cabbage if needed. Spray a 9 x 13 oven-safe casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Please see notes if you like your cabbage thoroughly cooked and softened. Place a third of the chopped cabbage into the dish in an even layer.
- Once the meat mixture has simmered for 10 minutes, turn off the heat and stir in 2 cups cooked white rice. Spoon half of the meat mixture over the cabbage in the casserole dish and spread evenly. Sprinkle over another ⅓ of the cabbage in an even layer. Spread the other half of the meat mixture over the cabbage and then sprinkle on the last third of the cabbage on top.
- Cover the casserole tightly with foil and bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, uncover the casserole, sprinkle the cheese on top and dot with a tablespoon of unsalted butter, if desired. Recover with foil and bake another 20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let the casserole rest for 10 - 15 minutes while covered then serve.
- Leftovers can be stored covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave or covered in the oven. The casserole can also be frozen after it’s been cooked. I don’t recommend freezing before cooking as the cabbage will likely get watery and degrade the texture.
I make this casserole as written as we like the cabbage to still be a bit crispy. If you want thoroughly cooked/soft cabbage I recommend chopping the cabbage on the smaller side and/or lightly sauteeing the cabbage in butter and/or olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat for about 10 minutes while the meat mixture simmers. If you do this, the casserole will only need to bake, still covered, for about 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 9 Serving Size: 1/9th of recipe
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 358 Total Fat: 16g Saturated Fat: 7g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 7g Cholesterol: 96mg Sodium: 680mg Carbohydrates: 23g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 4g Sugar: 7g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 32g