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This easy cabbage roll casserole recipe has all the cozy flavor of cabbage rolls without rice, all in one dish. If you love the flavor of cabbage soup with hamburger or sauteed cabbage, this recipe takes their comforting flavors up a notch for a healthy dinner you can make any night of the week. No rolling needed!
What Is Cabbage Roll Casserole?
Cabbage roll casserole is a comforting meal that combines the taste of cabbage rolls with the convenience of a casserole. The classic recipe consists of cabbage baked in layers of rich tomato sauce, ground meat, and melty cheese.
Why You’ll Love This Cabbage Roll Casserole Recipe
- Classic flavor without the work of wrapping each cabbage leaf
- Beefy, cheesy, and loaded with veggies
- Simple grocery store ingredients
- No pre-cooking cauliflower or cabbage, and no layering
- Naturally healthy, gluten-free, & low carb
Ingredients & Substitutions
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for unstuffed cabbage roll casserole, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
- Avocado Oil – For sauteing. Olive oil or any neutral oil of choice works as well.
- Garlic – I use fresh garlic, but you can use jarred minced garlic for convenience. You can also saute 1/2 an onion along with the garlic if you like. If you don’t have any garlic, you can substitute 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder and just add it to the beef instead of sauteing.
- Ground Beef – I use grass-fed 85/15 beef, but any kind works. Ground pork, ground chicken, or ground turkey are also excellent alternatives. If you use a fatty meat, such as pork or 80/20 beef, If using fatty ground beef, be sure to drain the access grease from the meat before mixing into the other ingredients.
- Seasonings – You will need sea salt, black pepper, and Italian seasoning for this cabbage roll casserole recipe.
- Rice Of Your Choice – Traditional cabbage roll casserole recipes usually use rice. I used cauliflower rice as a healthy option, but you could use brown or white rice instead. You won’t need to cook raw cauliflower rice separately — it will cook right inside the casserole, and does so much faster than regular rice. However, if using white or brown rice, it’s best to pre-cook it. Otherwise, the casserole will take too long to cook and the recipe would need to be adjusted to include more wet ingredients (chicken or beef broth is commonly added when using uncooked rice), since dry rice would absorb a lot of the moisture.
- Cabbage – You can chop or shred it yourself, or use a pre-shredded variety. It will cook together with everything else, so no pre-cooking necessary. Any color cabbage works!
- Marinara Sauce – I used homemade marinara sauce, but you can use store-bought to keep this recipe super fast. If you don’t have any on hand, you can use canned diced tomatoes (drain first) or tomato sauce instead, and add more Italian seasoning.
- Mozzarella Cheese – You can substitute other melting cheese like Monterey jack cheese. To make this cabbage roll casserole dairy-free, simply omit the cheese. It’s used on top only, so you can easily skip it if you want to.
VARIATION: Make it spicy!
For extra kick, try some of these ways to add spicy flair to this casserole!
- Add a tablespoon of Cajun seasoning at the same time as the other spices.
- Mix 1-2 pinches crushed red pepper flakes with the beef and marinara sauce.
- Use pepper jack cheese in place of mozzarella cheese.
- Stir in minced jalapeno at the same time as minced garlic.
How To Make Cabbage Roll Casserole
This section shows how to make lazy cabbage roll casserole, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
- Saute garlic. Heat oil in a large saute pan or large skillet over medium heat. Add minced garlic and cook until fragrant.
- Brown beef. Increase to medium-high heat. Add ground beef. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Cook, breaking apart with a spatula, until browned.
- Mix cabbage, rice, an seasoning. In a large casserole dish, stir together riced cauliflower (or cooked rice), chopped cabbage, and Italian seasoning.
- Stir in beef and marinara. Add cooked ground beef and marinara sauce to the cabbage mixture. Stir to combine.
- Bake cabbage roll casserole. Cook in a preheated oven until the cabbage is crisp-tender.
- Melt cheese on top. Sprinkle shredded mozzarella on top of the casserole. Continue baking until cheese is golden brown and the cabbage is completely cooked through. (If the cheese browns before the cabbage is done, remove from the oven, cover with foil, and then continue baking.)
- Store: Place the leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You can keep lazy cabbage roll casserole in the fridge for 3-5 days.
- Reheat: Warm individual portions in the microwave, or reheat the entire leftover casserole in the oven at 350 degrees F. From the freezer, you can either thaw first and then place in the oven, or heat from frozen. You’ll want to cover it if heating the frozen casserole, so that the top doesn’t burn.
Can You Freeze Cabbage Roll Casserole?
Yes, you can freeze cabbage roll casserole. It’s best to freeze it after baking. The cooking process will hinder the enzymes in the cabbage, which preserves its texture.
More Cheesy Casserole Recipes
Enjoy more classic and comforting flavors with these easy casseroles!
Tools To Make Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Casserole
- Saute Pan – The larger surface area makes this pan ideal for cooking chicken, searing meats, or breaking up ground beef for this low carb cabbage roll casserole.
- Baking Dish – This standard 9×13 baking dish is perfect for sheet cakes, roast chickens, and casseroles.
Easy Lazy Cabbage Roll Casserole Recipe
Cabbage Roll Casserole (Healthy Comfort Food)
This cabbage roll casserole recipe with ground beef has all the flavor of cabbage rolls, without the effort. An easy, healthy dinner!
Recipe VideoTap on the image below to watch the video.
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Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and cook for up to a minute, until fragrant.
Increase heat to medium-high. Add the ground beef. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Cook, breaking apart with a spatula, until browned, about 10 minutes. Drain if needed.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C).
In a 9×13 in (23×33 cm) baking dish, stir together the rice cauliflower, chopped cabbage, and Italian seasoning.
When the ground beef is cooked through, stir that in. Stir in marinara sauce.
Bake for about 30 minutes, until the cabbage is crisp-tender.
Top with shredded mozzarella, if using. (If not, just continue baking without it.) Continue baking for about 15 minutes, until the cheese is golden brown and the cabbage is completely cooked through.
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Serving size: 1 cup
Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.
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Yummy🌻 my husband really loved this & so did I🙃🌺🌸🌼
Hi Maya, your recipes are fabulous. Thank you for all your keto inspirations! Passover is coming, I was wondering if you have some keto Passover recipes, desserts especially?
Thank you so much!
Maya | Wholesome Yum0
Hi Simma, I don’t have Passover-specific desserts, but since all my recipes are gluten-free (therefore no wheat), all these keto desserts should work for passover.
We love this recipe.
This casserole was great, even my kids loved it and they are some of the hardest kids to cook for.
This looks so good & so much easier than rolling cabbage rolls!
This cabbage roll casserole is so good and super easy to make. I love the combination of flavors, especially with the melted cheese, ground beef, and marinara sauce.
Just made this and it was delicious. It’s definitely a keeper ! I even forwarded the recipe to my daughter in law to try .
Should I sauté cabbage a little prior to mixing with meat or will it get soft enough just baking ?
Wholesome Yum D0
Hi Bonnie, You don’t have to saute the cabbage before baking.
I had a hard time cabbage after an hour in convection oven was not cooked. Otherwise it was very good .I used “Rice Veggie Blends” w/ Parmesan (Green Giant)
I had a taste for cabbage rolls but I’m way too lazy to go through all that trouble. This casserole gives me all the flavor I wanted without all the work. Very easy to put this dish together and very flavorful. I used gorund turkey and it came out great. My honey didn’t even comment while eating it, he said it was too good to stop eating. And it makes quite a bit so I have leftovers for today – yay!
When reading this recipe I thought it sounded very much like a lasagna. So I added cottage cheese and voila cabbage lasagna! It was so delicious even my non-keto family members loved it and wanted the recipe. I usually make a large batch of this and freeze it for later meals. I bake it as directed then freeze. Then when I want to eat it, thaw and bake in the oven as usual and it still tastes just as great as fresh.
Delish!! Followed exactly the first time and I ate the whole darn thing!! The next time I added some red pepper flakes and fennel to give a spicey Italian flare. I really like the cabbage because it holds its shape and crunch.
Excellent and quick not to mention very good! One pot meals are always the best for me. Thanks for posting it and sharing it!!
Very good. With cheese is very much like a lasagna.
Good. But I think I put too much of both riced cauliflower and cabbage. It was hard to mix everything in the 9×13 pan I cooked it in, even though I measured the ingredients. So, be aware that you will need to be careful when mixing unless you want a mess all over your countertop. I used ground turkey. I didn’t have Marinara sauce so just used bottled spaghetti sauce. Also, I didn’t read the very last instruction closely enough & put the cheese on before putting it all in the oven. Oops. So, covered it with foil sprayed with cooking spray because waisted stuck cheese on foil is just wrong. Cooked for 40 mins. covered, then uncovered & cooked for 20 more mins. all @ 350. It worked.
Does this freeze well? The recipe makes a large batch and there are just 2 of us, so would want to freeze some to use at a later date.
This is a great filling meal, delish!
Making this recipe today. I’m using ground Turkey and Sicilian sausage together. And yes making with Cauliflower rice.
Tyler A Berg0
I didn’t think this was going to turn out all. I used too much dry ingredients in a very large casserole dish. I used a whole big jar of marinara and even added ketchup. It turned out great and it’s lovely with chili flakes. used less italian seasoning and a bit of thyme.
This was awesome. We used purple cabbage and only one tablespoon of Italian seasoning. I did add some garlic and onion powders.
The taste reminded me a lot of lasagna.
Thank you for sharing your recipe.
Made this for dinner. It was definitely a hit! Very easy and quick to make. I made my own marinara sauce and red pepper flakes just to spice it up. Definitely will make this again. Thank you for all of your amazing recipes.
Can you use frozen caulifower rice
Wholesome Yum M0
Hi Betty, You can, but it would probably be better to cook it first (I recommend stir-frying) because it might have more moisture than fresh.
Very good recipe! I used frozen cauliflower rice. I microwaved it according to package directions, then drained VERY GOOD and squeezed out excess water and then I added it to the garlic/beef/sausage mixture about 5 minutes before that was done. Worked out perfect. I made a homemade no cook KETO marinara sauce, but kept the rest of the recipe as is. Will be making this again!
I’m a fan of cabbage rolls in a smooth “sauce” more like tomato soup. Could it be an even substitute instead of marinara? Cannot wait to try this recipe!! In fact it will likely be made tomorrow
Wholesome Yum M0
Hi Barb, Yes, I think that will work perfectly!
Very good indeed! Used pepper jack, mozzarella & cheddar. Topped with crushed red pepper flakes. Also used 3 cups of packed chopped cabbage split everything between two 8 x 8 pans to share. Soooo yummy!!!
Second time I made I cooked without cheese then added a slice of ultra thin pepper jack to my portion and let everyone else add the amount of cheese they wanted to their portion. Everyone’s happy!!
I love wholesome Yum, I have gotten so many excellent Keto recipes on this site and it has been a lifesaver. I never feel like I am missing out on anything when I make these sorts of recipes, I really appreciate that you have done all the hard work to figure out yummy dishes and the nutritional facts as well. Thank you for being a huge part of me being able to eat healthy easily!
Fabulous! This hits the spot!
Delicious and easy enough for the hubby to make from start to finish! The only change made was adding some chopped up mushrooms! Thank you for sharing the recipe.
This was such a really good and satisfying recipe. I will make this again but I have a lot of leftovers to freeze!
I like to juice my cauliflower to get the excess moisture out. At first I thought that was a mistake, as the mixed ingredients looked a little dry going in. It turned out perfect! You could see the bubbles cooking through the casserole dish, nice and moist. Really yummy meal.. we will have leftovers for a week!
Oh, man. Y’all. This is so good. I didn’t bake it but cooked it on the stovetop. I browned the meat as the recipe says, then drained/removed it. Then cooked the riced cauliflower until tender returned the beef and added the cabbage. I let that cook for about 10 minutes and served with mozz on top.
Excellent, fast & easy! Gives you a lasagna fix!!!!
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