a close up shot of unstuffed cabbage rolls in a small serving bowl
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Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls

Learn how to make easy Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls recipe on the stove top, Instant Pot, or slow cooker. Serve it with rice for a hearty weeknight family dinner, or transform it into a slimmed down low carb meal!
Course Dinner, Gluten Free dinner
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 372kcal
Author Melissa Erdelac

Ingredients

  • 1/2 head cabbage (6-7 cups), cored and chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 14 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup raisins, optional
  • 3-4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 cups cooked rice, optional for serving

Instructions

Stove Top Directions:

  • In a large 12 inch skillet cook ground beef and onion over medium heat, for about 5 minutes. When beef is cooked and onion is translucent, drain excess liquid. Add garlic to skillet and sauté for 30 seconds more.
  • Add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, beef broth, paprika, thyme, brown sugar, salt, and pepper to skillet and stir. Add chopped cabbage and toss gently. Bring mixture to a boil. Cover skillet, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir, recover, then simmer for 10 minutes longer, or until cabbage is tender.
  • Remove lid and add 3 tablespoons of tomato paste. Stir and simmer, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes, or until sauce reduces slightly. If you prefer a thicker sauce, add additional tomato paste and stir. Serve over cooked rice.

Pressure Cooker Directions:

  • Press SAUTE function on Instant Pot. Add beef and onion and saute until beef is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute longer. Press CANCEL.
  • If desired, remove pot from Instant Pot and drain grease. Replace pot and add tomato sauce, drained diced tomatoes, beef broth, paprika, thyme, brown sugar, salt, pepper, and optional raisins. Seal lid and cook on HIGH pressure for 15 minutes. Quick release pressure and carefully remove lid.
  • Add chopped cabbage to the pot. Seal and lock lid in place. Cook on HIGH pressure for 3 minutes. Quick release pressure and carefully remove lid.
  • Stir in tomato paste until desired consistency. If the sauce needs to thicken more, turn on SAUTE low and simmer for 5-10 minutes, or until sauce reduces and thickens. Serve over cooked rice.

Slow Cooker Instructions:

  • Spray crockpot liner with nonstick cooking spray. Crumble raw ground beef on bottom of slow cooker. Layer chopped onions, garlic, chopped cabbage, and (optional) raisins over top.
  • In a medium bowl stir together tomato sauce, undrained diced tomatoes, beef broth, paprika, thyme, brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Pour over beef / cabbage layers.
  • Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours or HIGH for 4 hours. Serve over cooked rice.

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    Notes

    Cooks Tips
    1. This recipe uses about 1/2 head of cabbage. Save the remaining half to make Easy Roasted Cabbage for a future meal. So good!
    2. Transform leftovers into cabbage roll soup! Add cooked rice, additional beef broth, cup of water, tomato sauce, or a combination of them all. 
    3. Save time by substituting cole slaw mix instead of chopping fresh cabbage. 
    4. I like the raisins to mimic traditional cabbage rolls, but they may be omitted. 
    5. If you prefer a thicker sauce, add additional tomato paste. To thin sauce, add additional tomato sauce, broth, or water. 

     

    Nutrition

    Calories: 372kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 81mg | Sodium: 911mg | Potassium: 866mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 601IU | Vitamin C: 41mg | Calcium: 88mg | Iron: 4mg