Deconstructed Stuffed Cabbage Casserole
Thanks to my friend Dolores for this Deconstructed Stuffed Cabbage Casserole that’s the ultimate in healthy winter comfort food! I also have Low-Carb Deconstructed Stuffed Cabbage Casserole, if you’d like a lower-carb version. Use the Diet-Type Index to find more recipes like this one.
[EDIT 2019 – In March 2019 I finally posted Low-Carb Deconstructed Stuffed Cabbage Casserole, which is a. low-carb version of this recipe that uses cauliflower rice. We were thrilled at how well the low-carb version turned out, so check that out if you’d like a version with less carbs. This original recipe post still has a lot of discussion about that possibility, which I am going to leave in place since it shows the historical progression of the recipe! Both versions freeze beautifully, making this a great idea for Weekend Food Prep.]
Today’s my birthday, and having a birthday that’s close to the end of the year means a double-dose of reflecting on life every December.
One thing I’ve been thinking for a while now is how ironically it seemed easier to eat healthy meals when I went off to work every day. In those days I had to take a lunch, and when I got home I had to work on the blog, so there wasn’t much time to go out to eat. Being forced to plan ahead for meals meant I always made diet-friendly casseroles or soups on the weekend to make sure my freezer was well-stocked to get me through the week.
That’s a habit I’m going to work on cultivating again, so over the weekend I made this amazing Deconstructed Stuffed Cabbage Casserole and I have six servings of it in the freezer waiting for me at home!
The picture above is how the finished casserole looked just out of the oven. This casserole started with a recipe that my friend Dolores sent me after she’d mentioned it on Facebook, and as soon as I saw her recipe I knew I’d love it. But I do like to add my own twist to recipes, and although I closely followed her idea for a layered dish with cabbage and a meat-rice-tomato mixture, I used less meat, spiced the meat mixture up a bit, used more cabbage in proportion to the other ingredients (which Dolores recommended), and also added some low-fat cheese on top. The red tomato sauce and cheese made this look like lasagna, but I love the healthy idea of a layered dish made with cabbage. If you like cabbage at all, I promise you’ll love this recipe.
Preparing Ingredients for Deconstructed Stuffed Cabbage Casserole:
(Scroll down for complete printable recipe.)
- You’ll need two cups of cooked rice, and I used brown rice that I cooked in my much-beloved Zojirishi Rice Cooker (affiliate link).
- Brown the ground beef in a large frying pan. (If you use lean ground beef, you’ll need a bit of olive oil, even with a non-stick pan.)
- Remove the ground beef and then saute the onions in a little olive oil. When onions are starting to brown, add the minced garlic, thyme, and paprika and cook a few minutes more.
- Then add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, and browned ground beef and let the mixture simmer for 15-20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper.
- While that simmers, chop up 1 1/2 heads of green cabbage. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan or dutch oven with high sides, and cook the cabbage until it’s wilted and about half cooked. You’ll need to turn the cabbage over a few times so it all gets wilted and cook about 8-10 minutes.
- Here’s how it looks when it’s done and seasoned with a little salt and pepper.
Assembling and Cooking Deconstructed Stuffed Cabbage Casserole:
- When the meat and tomato sauce mixture has cooked 15-20 minutes and thickened a bit, stir in the 2 cups of cooked rice and gently combine.
- Spray a large glass or crockery casserole dish with nonstick spray and start layering, starting with a layer of the cooked cabbage.
- Top that with half the meat-tomato-rice mixture. Repeat with another layer of cabbage topped with the meat-tomato-rice mixture.
- Cover the casserole tightly with foil and bake at 350F/180C for 40 minutes (or until it’s just starting to bubble on the edges.)
- Cheese is completely optional, but at that point I removed the foil, sprinkled over 2 cups of a cheese blend, and baked uncovered until the cheese was nicely melted. (I used a blend of 80% mozzarella, 10% cheddar, and 10% Provolone.)
- And here’s how the finished casserole looked when it came out of the oven! Thanks Dolores for a recipe idea that I know is going to be a long-term repeater at my house!
More Tasty Casseroles To Try:
Weekend Food Prep:
This recipe has been added to a new category called Weekend Food Prep to help you find recipes you can prep or cook on the weekend and eat during the week!
I use both Sweet Hungarian Paprika (affiliate link) and Sharp Hungarian Paprika (affiliate link) to make this dish. I love Szeged Paprika (affiliate link) and always use that brand; good quality paprika makes a big difference here. I might leave out the Sharp Hungarian Paprika if making this for kids. I used brown rice, but use any rice you prefer. I used a blend of mozzarella, cheddar, and Provolone for the cheese. This freezes well, and I’m looking forward to enjoying it several more times when I eat the portions I have in the freezer. To reheat, I would recommend thawing overnight in the refrigerator and then either microwaving it until hot or heating in the oven in a glass dish covered with foil. This recipe from my good friend Dolores.
Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 356Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 8gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 65mgSodium: 508mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 5gSugar: 10gProtein: 22g
Cabbage is an extremely low-carb vegetable, and since this recipe is half cabbage that goes a long way towards making it a good option for phase 2 or 3 of the South Beach Diet. If you’re making this for South Beach it’s recommended to use low-fat ground beef, low-fat cheese, and brown rice (or a low-glycemic type of white rice like Uncle Bean’s Converted Rice would also work.) I haven’t tried making this without the rice, but for a lower-carb option you could use Cauliflower Rice to replace the rice, or use less rice and more cabbage.
I use both Sweet Hungarian Paprika (affiliate link) and Sharp Hungarian Paprika (affiliate link) to make this dish. I love Szeged Paprika (affiliate link) and always use that brand; good quality paprika makes a big difference here. I might leave out the Sharp Hungarian Paprika if making this for kids.
I used brown rice, but use any rice you prefer. I used a blend of mozzarella, cheddar, and Provolone for the cheese.
This freezes well, and I’m looking forward to enjoying it several more times when I eat the portions I have in the freezer. To reheat, I would recommend thawing overnight in the refrigerator and then either microwaving it until hot or heating in the oven in a glass dish covered with foil.
This recipe from my good friend Dolores.
Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.