Kalyn's Kitchen

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. 

Click here to PIN Deconstructed Stuffed Cabbage Casserole!

Deconstructed Stuffed Cabbage Casserole Recipe found on KalynsKitchen.com
[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.

Deconstructed Stuffed Cabbage Casserole Recipe found on KalynsKitchen.com

Preparing Ingredients for Deconstructed Stuffed Cabbage Casserole:

(Scroll down for complete printable recipe.)

  1. 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).
  2. 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.)
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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. 
  6. Here’s how it looks when it’s done and seasoned with a little salt and pepper.

Deconstructed Stuffed Cabbage Casserole Recipe found on KalynsKitchen.com

Assembling and Cooking Deconstructed Stuffed Cabbage Casserole:

  1. 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.
  2. Spray a large glass or crockery casserole dish with nonstick spray and start layering, starting with a layer of the cooked cabbage.
  3. Top that with half the meat-tomato-rice mixture.  Repeat with another layer of cabbage topped with the meat-tomato-rice mixture.
  4. 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.)
  5. 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.)
  6. 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!

Deconstructed Stuffed Cabbage Casserole Recipe found on KalynsKitchen.com

More Tasty Casseroles To Try:

Amazing Low-Carb and Keto Casseroles with Cauliflower ~ Kalyn’s kitchen
20 Delicious Low-Carb and Keto Casserole Recipes ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen

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!

Deconstructed Stuffed Cabbage Casserole Recipe found on KalynsKitchen.com

Deconstructed Stuffed Cabbage Casserole

Yield 10 servings
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes

This Deconstructed Stuffed Cabbage Casserole is the ultimate in healthy winter comfort food!


  • 1 1/2 T olive oil, divided (more or less, depending on your pan)
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped small
  • 1 T finely minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. sweet Hungarian Paprika (see notes)
  • 1/2 tsp. sharp Hungarian Paprika (optional; if making for kids I might leave this out)
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste (for seasoning meat mixture and cooked cabbage)
  • 1 1/2 heads green cabbage, coarsely chopped
  • 1 14.5 oz. can petite dice tomatoes with juice
  • 1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup water (just enough to rinse out each of the cans)
  • 2 cups cooked rice (see notes)
  • 2 cups cheese (optional; see notes)


  1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C.  Spray a large glass or crockery casserole dish with non-stick spray.  (I used a dish that was 12″ x 10″.)
  2. Heat 1-2 tsp. olive oil in a large frying pan; add ground beef and cook until it’s done and nicely browned, breaking apart as it cooks.  (I like to use a potato masher (affiliate link) to break the meat apart once it’s partly done.)  Remove ground beef to a bowl.
  3. In the same pan, add a little more olive oil if needed, then add chopped onion and cook over medium heat until the onion is translucent and starting to brown, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the minced garlic, dried thyme, and paprika and cook about 2 minutes more.
  5. Then add the diced tomatoes with juice, tomato sauce, and ground beef.  Rinse each of the cans out with a little water (about 1/4 cup total) and add to the pan.  Let mixture simmer until it’s hot and slightly thickened, about 15-20 minutes.
  6. While the meat mixture simmers, cut cabbage in half, cut out the core, and remove any wilted outer leaves, and then chop the cabbage coarsely into pieces.  (They don’t have to be all the same size.  I chopped it into pieces that varied from 1/2 inch to 1 1/2 inches.)
  7. Heat about 2 tsp. olive oil in a large frying pan or dutch oven with high sides, add the cabbage and cook over medium-high heat until the cabbage is wilted and about half cooked, turning it over several times so it all wilts and cooks.  Season cabbage with salt and fresh-ground black pepper.
  8. 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.
  9. Spray a large glass or crockery casserole dish with non-stick spray and the layer half the cabbage, half the meat mixture, other half of cabbage, and other half of meat mixture.
  10. Cover tightly with foil and bake 40 minutes, or until the mixture is just starting to bubble on the edges.
  11. Remove foil and sprinkle on cheese (if using.)  Bake uncovered an additional 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and starting to slightly brown.  Serve hot.


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.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 356Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 8gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 65mgSodium: 508mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 5gSugar: 10gProtein: 22g

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.

If you make this recipe I'd love to hear how it turns out. Leave a star rating or share on social media with the hashtag #KALYNSKITCHEN, thanks!

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
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.

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.

Pinterest image of Deconstructed Stuffed Cabbage Casserole

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    120 Comments on “Deconstructed Stuffed Cabbage Casserole”

  1. Hi Kalyn, I love stuffed cabbage but it is such a pain to parboil and roll the leaves so this recipe will be perfect for me!! Question – is sharp paprika and hot paprika the same thing? I need to order it. Thank you!

  2. Made this last night and it was for sure a winner. To me this was a great transition recipe moving towards more fall like hearty foods. Thank you!

  3. For some reason, “Stuffed Cabbage” (Golambki) taste a lot better when made the traditional way, … by stuffing whole cabbage leaves, and layering them in a pot with sauce. They’re a Middle Eastern dish, and I was brought up on the real thing. Sorry, but this recipe just doesn’t cut it for me, neither does the sauce.

    • OH MY; the rudeness. You’d think I was coming to your house and forcing you to make it. I have no idea why you’d bother to leave a comment like this; just make it the way you prefer, problem solved!

  4. Happy Birthday – Enjoy your day!!

    • Did you see that this post was written on my birthday in 2011? So it’s not my birthday today.

      Not sure if you were looking for the new low-carb version of this recipe that I just posted, but you can find that here.

  5. Hi Kaylin! I just wanted to say I have been making your recipes for years and love them. I religiously make your south beach recipes. I am starting phase 1 again and was wondering if you think 2 cups of cauliflower would be a good replacement for the rice?

    • Hi Kelly,
      So glad you’ve been enjoying the recipes. The tricky thing about replacing rice in a dish like this with cauliflower rice is that rice will absorb some liquid, while cauliflower rice can release extra liquid. If you decide to try it, I’d recommend putting the cauliflower rice in a very hot frying pan (with a little olive oil) and cooking it for a few minutes, just enough to evaporate some of the water content of the cauliflower. (Look for steam coming off.) Then use it as rice in the casserole. And I would love to hear how that works if you try it!

  6. Can you put the amount of cabbage in lbs? One and a half cabbages means nothing to me. It could be 1 lb. or it could be :10 lbs

    • I’m assuming you are buying two heads of cabbage and using one and one half of them? I’m sorry, but I don’t know how much that would be in pounds.

  7. I made this for dinner on Friday and it was a hit! I used paprika paste and substituted ground pork for beef. Very nice with a glass of Italian wine. Thanks, Kalyn!