Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls are all the classic flavors of cabbage rolls but with a huge shortcut to dinner! 

image of unstuffed cabbage rolls on a plate with sour cream and dill

These old-fashioned cabbage rolls are like mama’s, only the cabbage leaves aren’t boiled or rolled! These unstuffed cabbage rolls are called lazy cabbage rolls in Ukrainian and this cabbage recipe is a cinch to make! It doesn’t get any easier than tossing uncooked rice, meat, tomato sauce, and cabbage together to bake! 

 

Looking for more Polish or Russian Recipes? Here is an authentic Polish Pierogi Recipe or try our classic Rolled Cabbage Rolls Recipe! And if you love cucumbers you need to try these homemade Polish Dill Pickles!

Cabbage Rolls vs. Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls

Unstuffed cabbage rolls are all the cabbage roll flavors minus all the stuffed filling and rolling! That’s right, no boiling cabbage leaves or steaming the rice, or even fiddling with the meat! Everything goes into a baking dish uncooked and bakes in the oven to that aromatic cabbage roll you love! It’s like the gluten-free, low carb version of traditional cabbage rolls but totally filling and like the way mom makes it! Call it Lazy Cabbage Rolls because it’s literally the name for them!

unstuffed cabbage rolls recipe

Cabbage Roll Casserole

This is my mother-in-laws lazy cabbage rolls recipe. It’s the easiest lazy version that I’ve come to love. There is no need to pre-cook the rice or sauté anything! Everything is literally tossed in a baking dish (casserole-style) and baked to tenderness, super EASY one-pan dish! Speaking of pan this steaming mouthwatering cabbage meal is a genius way to feed a crowd easily! And leftovers are just as good!

Now don’t get me wrong I love easy cabbage rolls too but it’s not as easy as this unstuffed cabbage roll version. If you’re looking for a minimal prep dinner to satisfy that stuffed cabbage roll craving, then these are a must-try!

unstuffed cabbage rolls baked as a casserole

Q&A

Can you Make-Ahead?

Prep is very quick for these unstuffed cabbage rolls. And since this one-pan dish comes together with raw ingredients and spices I do not recommend to make this dish in advance.

What are Lazy Cabbage Rolls?

Lazy cabbage rolls are the easy way to make stuffed cabbage rolls but with big shortcuts. Unstuffed cabbage rolls involve no rolling or boiling cabbage leaves. The cabbage is rather cooked along with all the ingredients in an informal way but, yet have all the cabbage roll flavors.

How Long Do Cook Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls?

Oven-Baked unstuffed cabbage rolls: toss all ingredients together in a large baking pan. Bake in a pre-heated 370°F for 2 hours.

How to make Stovetop unstuffed cabbage rolls: to make unstuffed cabbage rolls on the stovetop brown the ground pork with onion. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer covered over med-low heat for 60-75 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Can I make this on the Stovetop?

To make a one-pot cabbage roll dish simply brown the ground pork with onion. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer covered over med-low heat for 60-75 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve unstuffed cabbage rolls with a dollop of sour cream and fresh dill.

How To Store Cabbage Rolls:

Refrigerate covered for up-to 5 days. Freeze leftovers.

To Freeze:

Place fully cooked and cooled cabbage rolls into a freezer bag and keep frozen for up-to 3 months.

To Reheat: thaw overnight and reheat on the skillet until liquid evaporates and heated thoroughly.

What to serve with Cabbage rolls?

Cabbage rolls are best with sour cream and a garnish of fresh dill. Since lazy cabbage rolls already have a tomato sauce filling it best to stick with a dairy based dip rather than ketchup.

How Much Does This Recipe Serve?

Our family of 8 has ate this casserole twice with 2 servings leftover serving 18 people in total (with leftovers.)

Ingredients for Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls:

  • 2 pounds of cabbage, chopped (1 head of cabbage)
  • 2 pounds ground pork, beef, chicken, or turkey.
  • 1 cup uncooked white rice (Jasmine or Basmati rice but for healthier variation brown rice.)
  • 2 carrots, julienned
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 12 oz (which is 1 1/2 cups) of any tomato sauce diluted with 2 cups of water (use canned tomato products or your favorite spaghetti sauce!)

Spices:

  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic salt

ingredients-unstuffed-cabbage-rolls

How To Make Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls in a Casserole with a Step-by-Step Photos:

1. Place the cabbage, ground meat, raw rice, carrots, and onion into a large disposable baking pan.

how-to-make-unstuffed-cabbage-rolls

2. Add the diluted tomato sauce, olive oil, and spices. Mix everything thoroughly.

how-to-make-unstuffed-cabbage-rolls

unstuffed cabbage rolls in a casserole to be baked

 

3. Bake covered in a 400°F oven for 30 minutes then reduce temperature to 350°F and continue to bake for two more hours.

Tips for Cabbage Rolls:

  1. Swap out the meat for ground turkey or beef.
  2. For healthier cabbage rolls choose a leaner meat and whole grains, such as brown rice.
  3. This recipe is for uncooked rice for parboiled rice adjust the liquid and cooking time per package instructions.
  4. Freeze leftovers and reheat on the skillet!
  5. Make on the stovetop in 6 quart pot, if you don’t have a large baking pan!

More Easy Dinner Recipes:

 

Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
Servings: 18 servings
Author: Alyona's Cooking
Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls are all the classic flavors of cabbage rolls but with a huge shortcut to dinner! Mom calls them Lazy Cabbage Rolls in Ukraine. This Cabbage recipe is so easy to make since your tossing uncooked rice, meat, tomato sauce, and cabbage together to bake! 

Equipment

  • 20x12 large baking pan (or a 6 quart pot)

Ingredients

Easiest Lazy Cabbage Rolls Recipe:

  • 2 lbs shredded cabbage (1 head)
  • 2 lbs ground pork
  • 1 cup uncooked rice (Jasmine)
  • 2 carrots (julienned)
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 12 oz (1 1/2 cups tomato sauce) diluted with 2 cups water
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic salt

Instructions

How to make Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls Recipe:

  • ingredients for unstuffed cabbage rolls in a large baking pan
    Place the cabbage, ground meat, raw rice, carrots, and onion into a large disposable baking pan.
  • how to make unstuffed cabbage rolls
    Add the diluted tomato sauce, olive oil, and spices. Mix everything thoroughly.
  • how to bake unstuffed cabbage rolls
    Bake covered in a 400°F oven for 30 minutes then reduce temperature to 350°F and continue to bake for two more hours.

Notes

  • This is the large baking pan that I use for this casserole. Costco has the same size in disposable foiled pans.
  • Calories: this recipe served 8 people for 2 meals in a row with a leftover of 2 servings making it 18 servings in total. 

Nutrition per serving

Serving: 1servingCalories: 219kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 10gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 36mgSodium: 723mgPotassium: 336mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 1269IUVitamin C: 21mgCalcium: 37mgIron: 1mg

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Recipe Rating




7 comments

    • craig

    This is a great recipe. We made it once following the instructions and it made a lovely meal. The second time we substituted soured cabbage, and added a cup of cooked bacon which was also lovely. Thanks Alonya 🙂

      • Alyona’s Cooking

      Sauerkraut and bacon sound delish, Craig!

    • Inna

    I tried this recipe before and it’s so good and best thing super fast.. after several months I finally found this recipe again. Thank u for making our mom lives easier.

      • Alyona’s Cooking

      I’m glad to hear that, Inna. Thank you for stopping by and leaving a feedback:)

    • Olga

    Wow it’s that easy??? Perfect!

    What if I cut the recipe in half? Will it still make a good amount?

      • Alyona’s Cooking

      You could but keep in mind that the cabbage does cook down once stewed so it may not appear as full after baking.

    • Tanya

    Alyona, Thank you for sharing your awesome recipes. I”ve made several and they all turned out very delicious. My family doesn’t like cabbage rolls, but likes the lazy cabbage rolls. Yes, I know, go figure. I like your spin on this recipe, bake instead of frying. I will be trying this soon. Thank you!

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