Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls

Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls
The Spruce
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 60 mins
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Yield: 6 to 8 rolls
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
349 Calories
16g Fat
17g Carbs
36g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 349
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 16g 20%
Saturated Fat 6g 28%
Cholesterol 101mg 34%
Sodium 533mg 23%
Total Carbohydrate 17g 6%
Dietary Fiber 6g 21%
Total Sugars 9g
Protein 36g
Vitamin C 76mg 379%
Calcium 140mg 11%
Iron 5mg 26%
Potassium 1139mg 24%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

With this recipe, you can have cabbage roll flavors in a fraction of the time! This flavorful "unstuffed cabbage" is a simmered ground beef and cabbage combination made with lean ground beef, tomatoes, and cabbage. If you like cabbage rolls but don't like the prep work, this dish is for you.

The cinnamon and nutmeg in the recipe add a pleasant and warm flavor, but they are not essential. If you aren't sure if you would like the spices, leave them out or add a smaller amount.

If you'd like to make this a complete one-pot meal, add a cup of long-grain white rice and 1 1/2 cups of water or stock to the skillet along with the cabbage and simmer as directed until the cabbage and rice are tender.

Savoy cabbage is another option for this casserole. While it is milder in flavor than green cabbage, both kinds of cabbage can be used interchangeably in most recipes.

Serve this easy skillet cabbage dish with rice or potatoes and a tossed salad. Biscuits or crusty rolls would be excellent with the dish as well. If you're following a low-carb diet, serve it with mashed cauliflower or zucchini or summer squash noodles.

This casserole is freezer-friendly, too. See the recipe tips for how to freeze and reheat the dish.


Click Play to See This Easy Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls Recipe Come Together


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds lean ground beef

  • 1 cup chopped onion

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 small head cabbage, chopped

  • 2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans diced tomatoes

  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar, or wine vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, optional

  • 1 pinch nutmeg, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls Ingredients
     The Spruce
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the ground beef and onion and cook until the beef is no longer pink and onion is tender.

    Cooked ground beef
    The Spruce
  3. Add the garlic and continue cooking for 1 minute longer.

    Cooked ground beef with garlic
    The Spruce
  4. Add the chopped cabbage, tomatoes, tomato sauce, vinegar, salt, pepper, and the cinnamon and nutmeg, if using.

    Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls
     The Spruce
  5. Bring to a boil.

    Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls
     The Spruce
  6. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until cabbage is tender.

    Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls
    The Spruce 
  7. Enjoy.


  • To freeze, transfer the cooked cabbage and beef mixture to a lightly greased casserole or disposable aluminum baking dish. Cover the dish tightly with foil and freeze it for up to 3 months. Defrost it in the refrigerator overnight. Bake the covered casserole in a preheated 350 F oven for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until the casserole is hot and bubbling.

Recipe Variations

  • Canned stewed tomatoes make a good replacement for the diced tomatoes. Stewed tomatoes are sliced into rings and might include some celery, onions, and other seasonings. If you use stewed tomatoes, give them a rough chop or dice them before you add them to the dish.
  • For thicker and richer tomato flavor, replace the tomato sauce with a (10 3/4 oz) can of tomato soup.