Unwrapped Cabbage Roll Casserole

I love the taste of cabbage rolls but as good as they are, they’re not worth the work. This recipe eliminates the tedium but keeps all the taste and the goodness of cabbage intact.

Make ahead tip: Chopped cabbage will keep in fridge for about a week if it’s sealed in a Ziploc bag. Make the sauce ahead of time and assemble the casserole while the oven preheats. Add about 10 minutes to your cooking time if you’re starting with fridge temperature ingredients.

Unwrapped Cabbage Roll Casserole

Course: Main Course

Prep Time: 20 min

Cook Time: 35 min

Yield: Servings


  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 12 lb ground pork
  • 1 onion roughly chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 cans tomato sauce 14 oz
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 can diced tomatoes including liquid
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 3 Tbsp fresh parsley or 1 tsp dried
  • 1 tsp salt (or favourite no salt seasoning)
  • 14 cup rough chopped fresh basil or 1 tsp dried
  • 1 Tbsp dried Italian seasoning or oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 12 cups Cooked brown rice 1 cup dried, cooked
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 2 lbs cabbage, chopped (approx. 8 cups)
  • salt & pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 9×13 pan.
  2. Brown ground beef, ground pork, onion, and garlic. Drain any fat.
  3. Add 1 can of the tomato sauce, canned tomatoes, tomato paste, brown sugar, Italian seasoning, (dried basil if using it), dill, parsley and bay leaf. Simmer covered 10 minutes. Remove bay leaf and stir in rice and fresh basil.
  4. While the sauce is simmering, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add cabbage and cook until tender-crisp. The aim here is to wilt it so it will fit into the casserole dish, as opposed to cooking it.
  5. Place half of the cabbage in the pan. Top with half of the beef/rice mixture. Repeat layers ending with beef/rice. Pour the second can of tomato sauce over the entire casserole and smooth the surface. Cover loosely with foil
  6. Bake covered for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake uncovered for 10-15 minutes. When all is hot and bubbly, remove from oven and allow to rest 10 minutes before serving.

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