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cabbage and sausage in a dutch oven with a wooden spoon stirring it

Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls

These UNSTUFFED CABBAGE ROLLS have all the flavor of a traditional cabbage roll with minimal work! This low carb cabbage rolls recipe is super filling and totally easy for busy nights! 

unstuffed cabbage rolls in yellow dutch oven

My family and I went on a cruise around the British Isles last year and it was a seriously amazing trip. We stopped at 11 different ports and I absolutely loved trying the different foods in each port.

But what I loved even more was watching my son get excited seeking out local restaurants to get an authentic taste of each country.

One of our ports had a little Russian restaurant that he insisted on trying.

We were in Scotland at the time, but he’d had enough shepherd’s pie and wasn’t interested in trying haggis, so we got a little taste of Russia. He ordered cabbage rolls and I was super skeptical over whether or not he’d like them.

cabbage roll casserole in yellow dish

Y’all, the kid LOVES cabbage. I’ve been making all kinds of low carb cabbage recipes for him since then. This unstuffed cabbage casserole might just be his new favorite.

How to make unstuffed cabbage casserole:

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ground beef with onions in pan

Rather than take time wrapping cabbage leaves around a filling, we’re just going to dump chopped cabbage right in with the filling mixture and let it all cook together. So easy and you still get all of the flavor! To start, you’ll brown up some ground beef.

When the beef is partially browned and fully crumbled, toss in some diced onion and minced garlic.

Once your veggies have softened up a bit, stir in some marinara sauce and a bit of water.

cabbage and beef in dutch oven

I use Rao’s marinara because it’s the BEST tasting sauce I’ve found in a jar and it also happens to be the lowest in carbs. Isn’t that a win? Next, you’ll chop up a head of cabbage and add that to your pot. Just stuff it all in there and stir carefully.

The cabbage will cook down some and your pot won’t be quite so full.   

pot full of unstuffed cabbage rolls with a wooden spoon

Let the cabbage cook down until it’s nice and tender. These unstuffed cabbage rolls are ready to eat in just about 30 minutes.

More recipes you might like: 

Sausage Egg Roll in a Bowl: The most popular recipe on my other blog!

Avocado Egg Salad: This one is for the avocado lovers out there!

Cauliflower Potato Salad: You won’t miss the potatoes, promise!

unstuffed cabbage rolls on a double white plate with a fork

Brussel Sprouts and Bacon: Who would have guessed Brussels sprouts cold be so tasty?

Follow me on social for more recipe ideas & inspiration!

cabbage and sausage in a dutch oven with a wooden spoon stirring it

Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls

Take the work out of cabbage rolls with this low carb cabbage roll casserole recipe! 

Yield 6
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes



  1. Add the beef to a 5 quart dutch oven over medium heat. Brown the meat, crumbling as it cooks.
  2. When meat is partially cooked, add the onion and garlic to the pan and continue cooking, stirring often.
  3. Add the cabbage, marinara, water, and salt to the pan and stir to cover the cabbage in the marinara and beef. 
  4. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or until the cabbage is as tender as you'd like.
  5. Serve immediately.


We prefer to use Rao's marinara, but any will do. Be sure it contains zero added sugars.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 335Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 104mgSodium: 1030mgCarbohydrates: 12gNet Carbohydrates: 9gFiber: 3gSugar: 7gProtein: 34g

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178 thoughts on “Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls”

  1. Barbara See

    What about using a slow cooker…..just adding more time…..? I am trying it this way…

  2. Bertha Hansen

    Sounds like a winner n i’m gonna make ..Have a lot of cabbage from garden to use…my kids love cabbage..thank you..

    1. Karly Campbell

      Sure! You might serve over cauliflower rice instead though, as the rice might get a bit mushy if it sets in the sauce for too long.

  3. I had a few questions:
    1. Do I have to use marinara or can I use tomato soup or spagetti sauce?
    2. Can I make this in a frying pan or do I need a dutch oven?
    3. Sounds delish!

    1. Karly Campbell

      Spaghetti sauce is fine, but I haven’t tried this with tomato soup.
      You’d need a really large frying pan to fit all of the cabbage in, but otherwise that should be fine.

    1. Karly Campbell

      I’ve never added rice to this before, so I’m just guessing here, but I’d add a cup of rice and an additional 2 cups of liquid (water or broth). It’ll probably take about 15 minutes to finish up, so I’d add with the marinara. Can’t guarantee that will work though.

      1. Frozen riced cauliflower (Birds-Eye is good) holds its shape so it’s really much more like rice than making your own in a food processor. I use it in recipes like this and jambalaya all the time.

        If you ever look up the amount of carbs in a little bit of rice you’ll never eat it again. It’s insanely high in carbs.

        For this recipe I’d use a large can (28 oz) of crushed tomatoes instead of marinara, 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar and 3 heaping tablespoons of fake sugar. This will give it a true cabbage roll taste.

        1. I bought some of this and was thinking about adding it to this recipe. I used 1/2 jar of spaghetti sauce, 1 can diced tomatoes and sugar substitute for the reasons you stated! Thanks for the tip about jambalaya, too! I’ll add the riced cauliflower last.

        2. I also added some ground cayenne pepper just because I like a bit of that in almost everything! And some yellow peppers I had leftover. YUM.

  4. Gloria Reese

    The unstuffed cabbage roll was great….I don’t even have to watch my carbs, but it’s a great meal and something different!!!! Thanks

  5. My family of 10 all gave 2 thumbs up!! I have some cabbage haters here, but they loved this!

    1. Heaven Marie

      Should have used cauliflower and made rice. It’s tasty and you don’t even realize it’s not rice. The rice totally blew the low carb (kept) and used most of your daily carbs, if not more

  6. Never no info on cholesterol or sodium or sugar. That’s why I never make these recipes

    1. Karly Campbell

      You’re welcome to plug the info into a nutrition calculator yourself, if those values are important to you.

  7. Rita Englebry

    Iove, love, LOVE this recipe!! I suck at rolling cabbage rolls even tho I love to eat them. So quick of a meal to make on a cool day or when so busy!! Programming on a busy out of the house day is perfect!!! Thank you so much!!!

  8. Crystal Vargas

    Just bought all the ingredients today to make tomorrow the only thing that I’m doing a little differently is I’m using veggie meat

  9. I will make this with ground turkey. Sounds delicious and will be a good break from chicken. Thanks.

  10. This is a keeper. Very easy to make and the family loved it. I did add some paprika to taste and a little more salt. The cabbage soaks it up. Served it with garlic toast.

      1. Hi there! How would you alter the directions if you wanted to instant pot this lovely recipe?

          1. I made it for the first time and in my Instant Pot. It was great! I started making it on the stove, but when it became time to cook it with the cabbage & marinara, I looked over and my IP was sitting empty. So I dumped it all out of the Dutch oven and into the IP. I added a bit more water (approximately about another 1/2 cup) and cooked it on high pressure for 10 minutes. It was great! I’ll definitely do it again and next time I’ll brown my meat in the IP.

    1. Cheryl Ortiz

      OM!! This was delicious. I didn’t have Marinara sauce so I use 10oz can of rotel and 14oz of V8 juice. I turned so good that my friend took a lot home with her and the recipe. Even my daughter loved it and she won’t eat cabbage. So yea Yummy!!!!!

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