Low-Carb Deconstructed Stuffed Cabbage Casserole (Video)
This low-carb Deconstructed Stuffed Cabbage Casserole is a low-carb version of a super-popular casserole from the early days of my blog! This version with cauliflower rice instead of rice will definitely be a hit with stuffed cabbage fans who want to limit carbs.
In the early days of my blog my friend Dolores sent me her recipe for Deconstructed Stuffed Cabbage Casserole, and it was a hit on the blog. That casserole was something I made on the weekend in the days when I needed things to take to school for lunch. Then as my focus shifted to more low-carb cooking and eating, I mentioned in the recipe notes that you could switch out the rice in that casserole for cauliflower rice.
But I hadn’t tried that myself until recently, and after making this new Low-Carb Deconstructed Stuffed Cabbage Casserole a few times to get it right, I am so happy to share it with you. Anyone who likes stuffed cabbage but wants an easier way to make it that’s also low in carbs is going to be a fan of this recipe!
This is a recipe with a few steps compared to some casseroles, but when we tested the recipe we had the idea of using “steam-in-the-bag” frozen cauliflower rice for that part of the preparation, and it saved some time.
And while it’s true this recipe has quite a few steps, it also makes at least 8 servings, so there’s plenty to freeze and I love taking a container of this tasty casserole out of the freezer and reheating it for a quick dinner. I eat mine with a little sour cream on top, enjoy!
What ingredients do you need for this recipe?
- olive oil
- ground beef
- salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
- Minced Garlic (affiliate link)
- sweet paprika, preferably Szeged Paprika (affiliate link) or other Hungarian Paprika
- Sharp Hungarian Paprika (affiliate link) or hot paprika, or use more sweet paprika if you prefer
- Dried Thyme (affiliate link)
- canned petite diced tomatoes
- canned tomato sauce (choose the tomato sauce with the least sugar you can find)
- “steam in the bag” cauliflower rice (or any cauliflower rice you prefer)
- grated Mozzarella cheese
How is this recipe different from traditional stuffed cabbage?
Stuffed Cabbage is an eastern European dish where partially cooked cabbage leaves are filled with a stuffing that often includes ground beef, rice, tomatoes, onions, and spices. In this recipe those traditional stuffed cabbage ingredients are layered in a casserole dish, for a less labor-intensive version!
What if you don’t have both types of paprika?
I love using a mix of sweet paprika and hot or sharp paprika for this recipe, but if you only have one type I’m sure it will still be tasty. I’m a fan of Szeged Paprika (affiliate link) and that’s the one I always use when a recipe calls for paprika!
How long does this recipe keep?
This recipe makes eight servings, and it will keep close to a week in the fridge and can be reheated in the microwave or in a pan on the stove. It also freezes well in a container with a tight-fitting lid.
Are you a cabbage fan?
If you’re also a cabbage fan like I am, check out Low-Carb and Keto Recipes with Cabbage for more tasty recipes.
Preparing Ingredients for Deconstructed Stuffed Cabbage Casserole:
(This is just a summary of the steps; scroll down for complete printable recipe.)
- Preheat oven and spray a large deep casserole dish with nonstick spray.
- Brown ground beef and season with salt and fresh-ground black pepper.
- While beef browns, chop onion, prepare garlic, and measure sweet paprika, Sharp Hungarian Paprika or hot paprika, and Dried Thyme. Drain petite diced tomatoes.
- When the beef is browned, push it over, add more oil if needed, and brown onions. Then add garlic and spices and cook 1-2 minutes more.
- Stir onion-spice mixture into the ground beef.
- Add petite dice tomatoes and tomato sauce to the beef-onion mixture and let it simmer on low heat while you prepare cabbage and cauliflower.
- Chop a medium head of cabbage. You need about 10 cups chopped cabbage.
- Heat olive oil in another large frying pan and cook the cabbage over medium-low heat until cabbage is wilted and starting to brown.
- Meanwhile, cook one package (10.5 oz.) frozen cauliflower rice in the microwave. (The cauliflower rice will cook more in the oven, so don’t get it too soft at this point.)
- If you prefer to use fresh riced cauliflower use 2.5 cups and microwave or cook in a frying pan with a little olive oil until it’s softened.
- Stir the cooked cauliflower rice into the ground beef mixture. Measure out the cheese.
Assembling and Baking Low-Carb Deconstructed Stuffed Cabbage Casserole:
- In the casserole dish make a layer with half the cooked cabbage.
- Put half ground beef-cauliflower rice mixture over the cabbage.
- Top that with half the grated cheese.
- Then make another layer of cabbage, ground beef-cauliflower rice mixture, and cheese.
- Bake Deconstructed Stuffed Cabbage Casserole uncovered for about 40 minutes, or until the casserole is bubbling and cheese is melted and starting to lightly brown.
- Serve hot, and don’t be afraid to add a little sour cream on top like I do if that idea appeals to you!
- This freezes well or can be made ahead and stored in the fridge to be reheated during the week
More Low-Carb Dinners with Cabbage:
Weekend Food Prep:
This recipe has been added to a category called Weekend Food Prep to help you find recipes to prep or cook on the weekend and eat during the week!
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 lb. ground beef
- salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 T minced garlic (garlic from a jar is fine for this)
- 2 tsp. sweet paprika (preferably Hungarian Paprika, which often comes in a tin, see notes)
- 1 tsp. sharp or hot paprika, or use more sweet paprika if you prefer (preferably Hungarian Paprika, which often comes in a tin, see notes)
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 14.5 oz. can petite diced tomatoes, drained into a colander placed in the sink
- 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce (choose the tomato sauce with the least sugar you can find for low carbs)
- 1 10 oz. pkg. "steam in the bag" cauliflower rice (see notes)
- 1 medium head cabbage, chopped to make about 10 cups chopped cabbage
- 3 cups grated Mozzarella cheese (see notes)
- Preheat oven to 350F/175C. Spray a 13" x 8" (or similar size) deep casserole dish with non-stick spray or mist with olive oil.
- Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Crumble the pound of ground beef into the pan and cook, breaking apart with a turner, until the beef is nicely browned, about 8 minutes. Season with a little salt and fresh-ground black pepper.
- While the beef cooks, chop onion, mince garlic (or measure garlic from a jar), and measure the sweet paprika, sharp paprika, and thyme. Drain the petite diced tomatoes into a colander placed in the sink.
- When the beef is done, push it over to the side of the frying pan, add a little more oil if needed, add the chopped onion, and cook until onion is softened and starting to brown, about 4 minutes. Add the minced garlic and spices and cook 1-2 minutes more.
- Stir to combine the beef and onion mixture. Then stir in the drained petite dice tomatoes and tomato sauce, reduce heat to low, and let the mixture simmer while you're preparing the cabbage and cauliflower rice. (Take the beef mixture off the heat if all the liquid evaporates.)
- Chop the head of cabbage to make about 10 cups coarsely chopped cabbage. In another large, deep frying pan heat about a tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the cabbage and cook until the cabbage is softened and starting to brown, about 8 minutes. Season cabbage with a little salt if you'd like.
- While cabbage cooks, microwave the 10.5 oz. package of frozen cauliflower rice in the package, following package directions. We cooked it 4 minutes for the brand we used. (If you prefer to use fresh riced cauliflower you'll need about 2 1/2 cups. Put the cauliflower rice in microwave-safe container, cover with cling-wrap, and cook 3 minutes. To cook on the stove, you'll need another pan, or put the cabbage in a bowl and use that pan again. Heat about 1 T olive oil over medium-high heat, add the riced cauliflower and cook, stirring several times, until the cauliflower is softened and some of the liquid has evaporated as steam, about 4 minutes. You could also make The BEST Easy Cauliflower Rice and use some of it to make this casserole and eat the rest for another meal.)
- When the cauliflower is barely softened, stir it into the beef-onion mixture. Measure out the cheese.
- In the casserole dish make a layer of half the cabbage, half the meat-cauliflower rice mixture, and half the cheese. Make a second layer of cabbage, meat mixture, and cheese.
- Bake Low-Carb Deconstructed Cabbage Casserole uncovered for about 40 minutes, or until the mixture is bubbling and the top is starting to slightly brown.
- Serve hot. I like this with a dollop of sour cream, try that if you like sour cream.
- This will keep in the fridge for several days and can be reheated in the microwave or in a pan on the stove. The casserole also freezes beautifully to reheat later.
There are a number of good spice purveyors that sell Hungarian Paprika, but for years I've been a huge fan of Szeged Paprika (affiliate link) which can be purchased on Amazon.
Using the "steam in the bag" cauliflower made this easy, but use 2 1/2 cups riced fresh cauliflower if you prefer. I don't promote products for payment on my blog, so Birds Eye hasn't paid me to promote their steam-in-the-bag Cauliflower Rice and they have no idea I am talking about it here!
Use more or less cheese to taste. Use any white cheese that melts well.
This recipe is a low-carb version of the Deconstructed Stuffed Cabbage Casserole recipe I got from my friend Dolores many years ago.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 346Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 10gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 84mgSodium: 503mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 3gSugar: 4gProtein: 27g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.
Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
This Low-Carb Deconstructed Stuffed Cabbage Casserole is a good main dish for low-glycemic or low-carb diets, including Keto or any phase of the original South Beach Diet.
Find More Recipes Like This One:
Check out Casserole Recipes for more tasty casseroles like this one. Use the Diet Type Index to find recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You can also Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.
Historical Notes for this Recipe:
This recipe was posted in 2019. It was last updated with more information in 2021.