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Friday, August 2, 2019

Un-Stuffed Cabbage Roll Skillet Meal

Get the flavor of cabbage rolls without the work! Un-stuffed cabbage casserole is a quick and easy one pan dinner that makes cabbage roll goodness possible on a weeknight.

plate full of cabbage with rice, ground beef, tomatoes etc for unstuffed cabbage dinner in front of skillet with remaining cabbage

       This economical and flavorful dinner is a great way to feed your family.  A pound of ground beef is stretched with rice and plenty of healthy cabbage making it possible to feed the whole family for under ten dollars. Plus you can get the flavor of grandma's stuffed cabbage rolls without the effort and only 1 dirty pan!

     I was first introduced to cabbage rolls when I asked family members for favorite recipes. My husband's uncle Greg sent over a guide for how he make golumpki (or gotabki depending on who you ask.)

      I gave them a go and they were delicious, but to be honest they were also a fair amount of work. So despite enjoying them and really needing to update the pictures, I haven't made them again since.

deep saute pan with browned ground beef, toasted rice and diced onion ready to make unstuffed cabbage roll skillet meal

      However I have made versions of this casserole version several times.  It is a lot quicker to make and every bit as flavorful.

Tips and tricks

Make sure to use a large enough pan. The cabbage cooks down quite a bit but will take up a lot of space to start with.

Use a pan with a lid. That will help the rice and cabbage to cook evenly. I've used both an enameled cast iron braiser and covered saute pan with great success.

swiss diamond saute pan filled with cabbage roll casserole

Do yourself a favor and core the cabbage and cut it into nice bite sized pieces while it's raw. It will make serving and eating it much easier.

Possible Substitutions

Not into white rice?  Use brown rice or quinoa instead. Just be sure to adjust the amount of beef broth and cook time accordingly.

skillet of un-stuffed cabbage roll skillet meal with browned mozzarella cheese on top

Could you use a different kind of greens? Sure, but cabbage's mild flavor and sturdy leaf really is ideal.

A cabbage cousin like bok choy or napa would do well. Kale would alter the flavor, but would likely be delicious if you are a kale lover.

Uncle Greg sent a list of spices he like to use. He said he generally picks 2 or 3 of them and mixes and matches.

plate of stuffed cabbage roll casserole in front of skillet of remaining dinner

I generally stick with marjoram or oregano and some garlic  because those are flavors my family loves. Greg also suggests celery seed, thyme, nutmeg, ground mustard, ground cumin, garam masala, or cloves.

He gravitates toward cloves plus one other spice. You can do whatever your mood and imagination dream up.

He also likes to add mushrooms, green beans and other vegetables to the mix in his cabbage rolls. You could easily do the same in this skillet meal.

The cheese topping is not at all traditional, but makes it super delicious. Plus a layer of melted cheese helps me sell almost any meal to my family. Feel free to leave it off if that's your preference.

dinner plate full of cabbage roll skillet dinner with fork ready to eat

More great cabbage recipes:

Now get this perfect one pan un-stuffed cabbage skillet dinner on your menu and let me know what you think!

stuffed cabbage casserole, cabbage rolls, unstuffed cabbage, easy weeknight skillet dinner, one pan meal
dinner, one pan meal
Yield: 8 servings

Un-Stuffed Cabbage Roll Skillet Meal

Get the flavor of cabbage rolls without the work! Un-stuffed cabbage casserole is a quick and easy one pan dinner that makes cabbage roll goodness possible on a weeknight!
prep time: 15 Mcook time: 30 Mtotal time: 45 M


  • 1 Tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 head cabbage (small to medium)
  • 2 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 cup white rice (uncooked)
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon marjoram or oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup shredded mozarella


How to cook Un-Stuffed Cabbage Roll Skillet Meal

  1. Heat the oil in a deep saute pan, dutch oven or braiser over medium heat. Add the ground beef, salt and pepper.  Brown the beef and drain any extra grease.
  2. Add the diced onion and cook until translucent. 
  3. Add the rice and toast for a minute or two then stir in the tomatoes, tomato sauce, soy sauce, beef broth and seasonings. Cut the cabbage into bite sized pieces and add to pan.  
  4. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.  If it starts to look dry, add a bit more broth or water. If after 20 minutes it looks a little loose, simmer for a few minutes with the lid off.  Adjust the seasoning to your taste.
  5. Sprinkle with mozzarella and either put the lid on to melt or place under the broiler for a minute or two to brown. 
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Created using The Recipes Generator

Get the flavor of cabbage rolls without the work! Un-stuffed cabbage casserole is a quick and easy one pan dinner that makes cabbage roll goodness possible on a weeknight.


  1. Hi Carlee, I do like stuffed cabbage leaves or vine leaves, but they are such a hassle to make. I like this cheats technique.


    1. It's the same flavor without all the effort!

  2. You had me at "without the work". We love cabbage and this sounds delicious!

    1. It's so good and so much easier than making the rolls

  3. Your un-stuffed cabbage skillet meal will be a big hit here at the cottage, it looks delicious! Thanks so much for sharing with us at Full Plate Thursday,444 and hope you have a great week!
    Miz Helen

  4. This is a staple in our house during the winter when I don't have the time to make cabbage rolls. Delicious and easy. Great recipe.

    1. I need to get it on a more regular rotation here too. It's so good and a great way to get a well rounded meal on the table.

  5. Fantastic way to get the same flavors without all of the work!

  6. I'm going to have to try this. I love my mom's golumpki but haven't wanted to mess with the time-consuming process of making it (plus I don't have a pressure cooker). This looks like a great variation!

    1. You can definitely use the flavors you love in her golumpki but make it so much easier!

  7. Makes quick work of a laborious meal!

  8. I hated stuffed cabbage as a kid but maybe I would like this!

    1. Tastes evolve and you can change the seasoning to your taste. We make ours taste almost like lasagna ;-)

  9. I love cabbage rolls and making them in a skillet is a great shortcut!

    1. It cuts out the boiling and rolling part which saves so much time!

  10. I love this idea! Stuffed cabbage takes so long to make and I'm sure it tastes just as good!

  11. We had this for dinner tonight. Two thumbs up from us! Yum!


Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment. I love reading your ideas!