Cabbage Roll Casserole made with meat, rice and cabbage in tomato sauce tastes like traditional cabbage rolls without all of the work. Unstuffed cabbage roll casserole is an easy weeknight dinner the whole family will love!
As much as I love Grandma's cabbage rolls or halupki as we call them, they are a lot of work. This easy cabbage roll casserole recipe or lazy halupki has all the flavors of cabbage rolls without the work!
I used most of the same basic ingredients from the original recipe for homemade cabbage rolls in this lazy cabbage roll casserole.
You still get tender cabbage combined with a savory mixture of beef, pork and rice in the most delicious tomato sauce. Just the cooking method is different. This will definitely satisfy your cabbage roll cravings!
You only need a few simple ingredients for this cabbage casserole recipe. They should be easy to find in your grocery store.
- Green cabbage -- a medium head of cabbage cored and roughly chopped into bite-sized pieces.
- Ground beef -- lean ground beef
- Pork -- I love the flavor from Italian sausage -- remove from casings, but plain ground pork is more traditional
- Rice -- Cooked rice works best. Use leftover rice or make Instant pot jasmine rice or use instant rice or Minute rice. You can use cooked brown rice.
- Tomato soup -- 2 cans. this is what Grandma used. You will also need 1 soup can of water or beef broth to make the sauce
- Onion -- a whole yellow onion or white onion, chopped
- Seasonings -- salt, black pepper, garlic powder and paprika or smoked paprika
- Olive oil -- optional, if needed for your skillet
How to Make Cabbage Roll Casserole
First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees f. Cook the ground beef and sausage with the onion in a large skillet over medium-high heat until no longer pink.
If you need to remove any excess fat from the pan, you can. Stir in the cooked rice, and season the meat mixture.
Add the tomato soup to a medium bowl. Fill 1 can of tomato soup with water or beef broth. This is about 1 ½ cups water or beef broth.
Mix the soup with the water until well combined.
Next, spray a baking dish with non stick cooking spray. Place about half the chopped cabbage on the bottom of the casserole dish.
Then, spoon the meat mixture over the cabbage layer, and top with remaining cabbage.
Pour the tomato sauce over the top of the casserole. Cover with aluminum foil.
Cook the cabbage casserole for 45 minutes covered. Then, remove the foil, and gently stir to make sure all ingredients are covered in sauce.
Bake for another 15-20 minutes or until the casserole is bubbling and the cabbage is tender.
Allow this hearty casserole to sit for 5 minutes before serving.
How to Store and Reheat
Refrigerate leftover casserole in an airtight container or covered with plastic wrap for up to 4 days. You can freeze the casserole for longer storage -- up to 3 months for best flavor. It reheats very well.
Reheat individual portions of unstuffed cabbage rolls in the microwave.
You can make an all ground beef cabbage roll casserole or all pork if you like.
Make low carb lazy cabbage rolls by using cauliflower rice instead of rice.
You can use tomato sauce instead of tomato soup, but the flavor will be different. But, if you have a recipe for homemade stuffed cabbage rolls that you love, use those ingredients to make an unstuffed version.
Have an Instant Pot? Try my Instant Pot Cabbage Roll Soup. You can also make a Dutch Oven cabbage roll casserole by cooking everything on the stove until tender.
Some versions of lazy man cabbage rolls use cheese, so add your favorite cheese if you like. Mozzarella cheese or cheddar blend or Colby Jack are good choices.
What to Serve with Lazy Cabbage Rolls
This casserole is a complete meal. But, we always serve mashed potatoes with traditional cabbage rolls, and we love mashed potatoes with this casserole.
You can serve a simple side dish of peas, green beans or broccoli. Rye bread and butter or dinner rolls are perfect for rounding out this meal.
Cabbage Roll Casserole Recipe
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 pound ground pork or sausage casings removed
- 1 small onion chopped
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground paprika or smoked paprika
- 1 ½ cup cooked white rice
- 1 medium green cabbage rinsed, cored, chopped
- 2 10.75 oz cans tomato soup
- 1 ½ cups water or beef broth, 1 soup can-full
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees f, and spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with non stick cooking spray
- Cook ground beef, pork and onion in a large skillet on medium high heat until no longer pink. Remove excess grease if needed
- Season meat mixture with salt, garlic powder, pepper and paprika, stir in cooked rice. Set aside
- Place half the chopped cabbage on bottom of prepared baking dish
- Add meat mixture over cabbage, and top with remaining cabbage
- Mix 2 cans tomato soup with 1 can water or broth (1 ½ cups) and pour over casserole, making sure liquid covers cabbage
- Cover with aluminum foil and place in preheated oven
- Bake for 45 minutes, remove foil, and stir gently to make sure sauce is mixed with casserole
- Bake for another 15-20 minutes or until casserole is bubbling and cabbage is tender
- Allow to stand for 5 minutes before serving
Nutrition information is estimated. Please do your own calculation to fit special diets.
I hope you enjoy this delicious casserole as much as my entire family does. You get all the cabbage roll flavor with less work! If you do try it, please leave a star rating and/or comment.
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