Slow cooker unstuffed cabbage rolls is the lazy version of a delicious, but traditionally time-consuming meal. Ground beef and rice in a savory sauce mixed together with the sweet and wonderful taste of slow-cooked cabbage. No need to attempt to convince the cabbage to roll!
Traditional cabbage rolls are a great, filling dish that includes so many different food groups and flavors. The perfect one-pot meal!
But, there are soooo many steps. You have to pre-cook ingredients, then assemble them, place them in a pan with sauce and then recook them.
Not nearly lazy enough for me. Since everything else seems to be deconstructed these days I figured why not? This slow cooker recipe has all the flavors your whole family will love but takes much less effort. Which you will love!!
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To make this great recipe you will need:
- Cabbage - a fresh head of cabbage is the best starting point
- Browned ground beef - I prefer lean ground beef
- Onion - chopped
- Garlic - minced
- Tomato - diced. You can dice your own, but I always use the canned version
- Marinara sauce - both homemade and jar versions work well
- Kosher salt - you can also use table salt
- Uncooked rice - recipe is based on white rice
- Beef stock - soup base, bullion and or any type of beef broth will all work here.
This slow cooker cabbage roll casserole is the ultimate dump-and-go dish. Just add it all to your crock pot and you are set!
Depending on the size of your cabbage, your slow cooker may be filled to the very top. That is ok. Green cabbage leaves will shrink A TON during cooking. So, even if you can‘t stir all the ingredients once you add the cabbage, you will be able to after it cooks down a bit.
Even though this easy recipe does have a small amount of rice in it, it is great served on a bed of brown rice, white rice, or cauliflower rice. It is also delicious with a side dish of mashed cauliflower, mashed potatoes, or baked potatoes.
A nice crisp garden salad makes for a cool and crunchy companion as does a loaf of crusty bread. I also love scooping out medium-sized round loaves of bread to use as bread bowls for serving.
This lazy cabbage roll casserole is much easier to store than its fancier rolled cousin. No need to worry about anything falling apart - it already is apart! The perfect meal for reheating.
Store leftovers in a meal sized, airtight container or freezer bag for easy reheat-and-eat meals. Leftovers of this crockpot recipe will last 3-4 days in the refrigerator and 3-4 months in the freezer. They reheat well in the microwave making them a family favorite for busy weeknights.
If you love this recipe, please let me know in the comment section below!
- Unstuffed cabbage casserole calls for ground beef. Other ground meats such as ground turkey or chicken would also be delicious.
- This simple recipe is also awesome with some cheese melted on top. Shredded cheddar and mozzarella cheese would both work well. A dollop of sour cream added when serving is also a treat for your taste buds.
- Look to make this a low carb meal? Just omit the rice.
- Would you prefer to eat this dish in soup form? Add an extra cup of beef stock and a cup of tomato soup when assembling the ingredients.
😉Hints & hacks
- Slow cooker unstuffed cabbage calls for browned ground beef . I meal prep this ingredient by cooking it in bulk in my crockpot and freezing in recipe sized portions.
- To keep things lazy, you can purchase onion both fresh and frozen that has already been chopped. You can also purchase cabbage that has been already shredded - although this is not an option I favor. Since cabbage shrinks during cooking, the smaller pieces of cabbage can give your dish more of a mushy consistency. I prefer cabbage pieces that are cut a bit larger.
- Slow cooker liners make for the easiest clean-up of this classic recipe.
❓Frequently asked questions
Yes, the best part is that this is one of those delicious recipes a busy mom can prep in advance. Just mix all ingredients together, except the rice, and store in an air-tight bag in the refrigerator. When you are ready to cook, you can dump it into your slow cooker along with the rice, and you are set!
Yes! Assemble all ingredients except for rice, combine and freeze. Rice can be added at the time of cooking. One thing to note, however is that frozen raw cabbage doesn’t last as long as frozen cooked cabbage, so when possible, it is better to cook this dish first and then freeze it.
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Slow Cooker Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls Recipe
- 6qt slow cooker
- sharp knife
- mixing spoons
- 1.5 lbs. browned ground beef
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 1 head cabbage, chopped
- 28 oz can diced tomato
- 29 oz marinara sauce or 3¾ cups of tomato sauce of choice
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- ½ cup rice uncooked
- ½ cup beef stock
- Start by spraying your slow cooker with a non-stick cooking spray (or add a slow cooker liner)
- add browned ground beef, onion, garlic, salt and rice to slow cooker1.5 lbs. browned ground beef, 1 small onion, chopped, 1 teaspoon garlic, minced, 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, ½ cup rice
- Add diced tomato, sauce, cabbage and stock. Stir ingredients.1 head cabbage, chopped, 28 oz can diced tomato, 29 oz marinara sauce, ½ cup beef stock
- Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4.
- Serve as is or over rice or riced cauliflower.
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Have you tried this recipe? If so, we would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below! 💗
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firstname.lastname@example.org kocur says
Mary k. Cuscaden says
I want to cook so every one wants to eat these wonderful Recipes!!!! Do I use a Crockpot or is a slow cooker something completely different?
A crockpot and slow cooker are the same thing. Crockpot is a brand of slow cooker. Just about all of these recipes were made in a crockpot brand slow cooker!
Made it tonight and it was so delicious. I’ll definitely make it again!!
Love hearing that!! Thanks for letting me know. So glad you enjoyed it!
Mark Golden says
Just made this recipe. I substituted Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilled for the diced tomatoes and it really kicked it up a notch! We loved it!!
What a great idea! I am going to try that too! So glad you enjoyed it!
Jean Hollander says
I used tomatoe soup instead of stock.
Great idea!! I will have to try that!