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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 and call for just 5 ingredients! 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 a few years ago 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.

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.

Ingredient Notes:

unstuffed cabbage roll ingredients.

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Cabbage – Obviously you’re going to need some cabbage when making unstuffed cabbage rolls! One large chopped head of cabbage should do the trick. While cabbage does have a fair amount of carbs, it’s also full of fiber, which makes it a good low carb choice in moderation.

Ground Beef – I used lean ground beef in this recipe, but other types of ground meat will work too! Try chicken or turkey, if you’d like.

Marinara Sauce – I really love this Rao’s Marinara Sauce. It tastes great and doesn’t have any added sugars. You can use whichever brand you like, just be sure to check the label.

What Readers Are Saying:

“My family of 10 all gave 2 thumbs up!! I have some cabbage haters here, but they loved this!”
– Kris W.

unstuffed cabbage rolls in white bowl.

How To:

  • Prepare the Beef – First up you’re going to need to brown some beef. Add it to a Dutch oven and cook over medium heat, crumbling as it cooks. You shouldn’t need to drain the fat unless you are using some extra fatty ground beef. I would recommend using lean ground beef but it should be okay if you don’t have it. Once the meat has partially cooked you can add in the onions and garlic and cook for a couple more minutes, stirring often, before moving to the next step.ground beef with onions in pan
  • Add the Sauce – Next up is the tasty marinara sauce! Start by stirring in the marinara sauce and water. 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. Mix the sauce, beef, and onions up well and then move on to the final step!cabbage and beef in dutch oven
  • Add the Cabbage – Now all that’s left is to chop up a head of cabbage and add that to the pot. Just stuff it all in there and stir carefully! The cabbage will cook down some and the pot won’t be quite so full. Once the cabbage has cooked down until it is nice and tender, you’re all done! It’s so quick and easy and you can enjoy this recipe in just 30 minutes.cabbage and sausage in a dutch oven with a wooden spoon stirring it


Do I have to use ground beef?

Nope! Just about any type of ground meat should work in this. A few readers have suggested that ground lamb works really well in this recipe, and another mentioned using smoked sausage. Ground pork, chicken, and turkey would be great too.

Can I store/freeze this recipe?

These unstuffed cabbage rolls should store well in the fridge for a few days if you seal it tightly. I have not tried freezing this recipe, but I think it would freeze well and reheat perfectly.

More Keto Cabbage Recipes:

cabbage roll casserole in yellow dish

More low carb favorites:

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!

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

keto unstuffed cabbage rolls in white bowl.

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

All information and tools presented and written within this site are intended for informational purposes only. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information is accurate.

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185 thoughts on “Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls”

  1. Kristin Clark

    I use 1lb of ground lamb and add a teaspoon of oregano. My 14 year old son and my husband want this on the weekly rotation!

  2. I made this, and instead of subbing the liquid, I added a can of fire-roasted tomatoes… it became very soupy… but was very good. I had so much food leftover that we bagged and froze half – the other quarter we are eating for lunch now – as a lasagna – I drained a lot of the liquid, made a white cheese sauce, poured it over, added some grated cheese and heated at 200 for an hour (to eat and cook out some liquid -then turned it up to 350 to cook the cheese sauce in and brown it – it is AMAZING – we added red pepper flakes as we like it hot..

  3. Laurel Kent

    I cant even count how many times I’ve made this. Its extremely good every time. One of my absolute favorites. I make it vegetarian by using soy meat.

  4. Has anyone tried this in a pressure cooker of instant pot? If so, what would be the suggested time?


    Perfect use of my leftover homemade spaghetti sauce I had in the freezer, which I thought I’d never get to make again since I quit eating pasta. Topped it with shaved parmesan. Just need a new name for it. Thank you! (Bet something similar with taco meat would be good too, using cabbage instead of tortillas.)

  6. My husband tested as diabetic so I’m trying new recipes that are waay out of our comfort zone for eating and beyond mine for cooking. This was delicious, we both loved it! Thank you for sharing easy and delicious recipes for us novices!

    1. This sounds great!
      Has anyone tried canned tomatoes instead of marinara sauce? I dont have marinara in my pantry.

  7. My husband and i both loved this! I’ve never ate cooked cabbage before, wow, i’ve been missing out. Weird but i kind of felt like i was eating lasagna 🙂

    1. Karly Campbell

      Sorry to hear this wasn’t a success for you. It has so many positive reviews, I’m curious…did you follow the recipe as written? Or maybe this just isn’t to your taste. Either way, sorry it didn’t work out.

      1. Carolyn keto for life.

        Curious….. I always have bacon grease in fridge.
        But did I read you freeze it?? Interesting

  8. Cindy Mercer

    You can use savoy cabbage less gassy and easier to shred…also use riced cauliflower for rice….just whiz cauliflower in a food processor and cook seperate in place of rice…you could also top with a little sauerkraut and sour creme….if your watching carb intake

  9. Judy Brodowski

    Should use tomato soup instead of marinara sauce. That’s the Polish way! It also needs rice!

  10. Lori Lentz

    Next time I will drain the ground beef in colander because it was had too much grease!

  11. My son ate about 3 bowls full. It was a nice winter meal, since it has been so cold here in Melbourne. And so cheap to make, with mince meat and cabbage. I did fry the onion, garlic, mushrooms, capsicum and bacon first, when everything was nicely cooked then i added the meat, browned that then i added the 2 tins of tomatoes, cooked that all together for about 20 minutes. I added dried parsley, oregano, lots of paprika, 3 beef stock cubes, salt and plenty of black pepper At the end added the roughly shredded cabbage. Then I garnished it withfresh rparsley and sour cream. It was delicious.

    1. Monica Ann Cole

      Adding mushrooms, bacon, capsicum, beef stock, and the herbs sounds wonderful!

  12. We just had this for dinner… omg so tasty and easy! Why didnt I think of this? Lol this is now a staple in our house. Minimal washing up too

  13. I’m making this for the 2nd time. So tasty. I used a beef pork mix cause it’s what I had. Oh my. It freezes so well and like chili even better the next day. It’s one of my favorites now. Even the hubby who is a no way Jose cabbage eater liked it. Score!!! Thank you!!

    1. Stupid question. Do I cook to full directions and then freeze? Or just mix ingredients then freeze prior to cooking for the 20 minutes? I want to use this as a new mom freezer meal! Thanks!

  14. Thank you for this recipe! I love it! But it takes me forever to cut up the cabbage. Do you have any advice about how to cut up a cabbage so that it takes 10 minutes instead of half an hour?

    1. Use coleslaw mix already sliced ..and I added some can kraut with some tomato soup instead of marinara.

  15. Second time making it tonight. Add a bit of cream at the end to cut the acidity. Serve it owner rice for the rest of the fam. Delicious!

  16. This looks delicious. Thanks for sharing. I will be fixing this for dinner for my family today.

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