Slow cooker unstuffed cabbage is the lazy version of delicious, but traditionally time consuming, cabbage rolls. 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!Jump to Recipe
Stuffed cabbage is a great, filling meal that includes so many different food groups and flavors. But, there are soooo many steps. You have to cook things, 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? So I gathered all the ingredients and gave it a go. The results? Delicious!!
To make deconstructed stuffed cabbage you will need:
- Cabbage - a full head of fresh cabbage is the best starting point
- Browned ground beef - I brown and freeze in meal sized portions in advance
- Onion - chopped
- Garlic - minced
- Tomato - diced. You can dice your own, but I always use the canned version
- Tomato sauce - both homemade and jar versions work well
- Kosher salt - or you can use table salt if that is what you have
- rice - uncooked
- beef stock - soup base, bullion and or any type of beef broth will all work here
This is the ultimate dump and go. Just add it all to your crockpot and you are set! Depending on the size of your cabbage, your slow cooker may be filled to the very top. That is ok. Cabbage 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 recipe does have a small amount of rice in it, it is great served on a bed of rice or riced cauliflower. It is also delicious with a side dish of mashed cauliflower or mashed 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.
Crockpot deconstructed cabbage rolls are much easier to store than their fancier rolled cousins. No need to worry about anything falling apart - it already is apart! Storing in meal sized, air tight containers or bags is great for easy reheat-and-eat meals. Leftovers will last 3-4 days in the refrigerator and 3-4 months in the freezer. They will reheat well in the microwave.
😉Hints & hacks
- Slow cooker unstuffed cabbage calls for browned ground beef . This is an item I make in bulk right in my crockpot and freeze.
- 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, shredded cabbage can give your dish more of mushy consistency. I prefer cabbage pieces that are cut a bit larger.
- This recipe also calls for tomato sauce. I generally have lots of this stored in my freezer also. However, I didn’t this time so I just used a can of plain tomato sauce.
- I am a big fan of slow cooker liners and always suggest using them for easy clean up.
Yes, this is a great prep in advance meal. 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.
More great slow cooker ground beef dishes
Lazy Slow Cooker Unstuffed Cabbage Recipe
- 6qt slow cooker
- measuring spoons and cups
- 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. can, tomato sauce or 3¾ cups of tomato sauce of choice
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- ½ cup rice uncooked
- ½ cup beef stock
- I always start with a slow cooker liner for easier clean up
- Add browned ground beef, onion, garlic, salt and rice to slow cooker
- Add diced tomato, sauce, cabbage and stock. Stir ingredients.
- 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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