Lazy Unstuffed Cabbage Skillet

I bought a head of cabbage the other day with full intention of making ground meat and rice stuffed cabbage rolls. You know, the ones that are delicately prepared and baked in a tomato sauce and a little time-consuming. A couple days passed and I was running short on time last night and didn’t want to mess with the whole rolling, baking, boiling etc process. I didn’t want to have to freeze the meat to make the recipe at a later date so I came up with plan B – do I get bonus points for being flexible and thinking on my feet?!?

cabbage skilletInstead, I made a “lazy girl” version that came out so delicious PLUS it was easy, fast (about 30 minutes total, 20 minutes for simmering) and is versatile. Ground beef was on sale so that’s what I bought but any ground meat would work in this dish. I made this last night and loved it BUT I must say the leftovers for lunch were even better after the flavors had a chance to develop! I haven’t tried this in the crockpot but I am sure it would be a yummy slow-cooker meal too.

Most cabbage roll recipes incorporate rice into the recipe/roll; I could have easily thrown my already cooked rice it in the skillet and had a one-dish meal (feel free to do so), but I am one of the weird unique ones that usually prefers their rice/starch/grain on the side with my meal inside of IN my meal…with the exception of fried rice since that’s the main ingredient. Does anyone else share in this quirk?

One day I should share a list of my funny food habits…would any of you like to know how quirky I really am? 🙂

Lazy Unstuffed Cabbage Skillet


3/4 lb ground meat (I used lean beef but chicken, turkey, bison, pork all work)*
1 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp italian seasoning
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper, optional
1/2 tsp brown or black mustard seeds (if you don’t have, it’s ok to eliminate)
6-7 cups shredded green cabbage (I used one small head of cabbage; could also buy pre-shredded for quick prep)
1 (14 oz) can no-salt added diced tomatoes, undrained (could sub petite diced or crushed tomatoes)
1 (14 oz) can no-salt added tomato sauce
1 tsp coconut/palm sugar (or any sweetener – honey, agave, sugar etc)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice or vinegar, brightens up the flavors)
salt and pepper to taste

Cooked grains for serving, or stir into skillet if preferred (I served with leftover rice, but quinoa, millet etc would all work)


1. In a large skillet or wok, cook ground meat and onions over medium-high heat until browned (about 6 minutes). Add garlic, italian seasoning, red pepper and mustard seeds and cook for another minute or two.
2. Stir in shredded cabbage, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and palm sugar and cook for a couples minutes on medium-high, then cover, reduce heat to medium and let simmer for 20 minutes or until cabbage is cooked through and tender.
3. Stir in apple cider vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and serve over cooked rice/quinoa/millet etc and enjoy!

Serves 4-6

*If using a lower fat meat, consider browning the meat in a tablespoon of oil or butter with the onions.


11 thoughts on “Lazy Unstuffed Cabbage Skillet

    • Haha thanks! It’s the ground meat and tomato sauce that dresses it all up 🙂 I love cabbage too! Comfort foods and casseroles tend to be less photogenic than baked goodies but you did a great job on photos too for your southwestern bean casserole!

  1. I’ve never had stuffed cabbage myself, but my husband and his family have and have been doing nothing but talking about it. I don’t have a lot of time when I get home to get dinner cooked, eaten and get 2 small kids ready for bed.. so guess who’s going to cheat and make stuffed cabbage the lazyman way?! 😀 thanks for the recipe!!

  2. a neighbour taught me a lazy way to make cabbage rolls. put the whole head of cabbage in the freezer overnight and then fill and bake as recipe says. it makes the leaves easy to manipulate without the boiling and smelling up the kitchen.

  3. Pingback: Paleo Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls | The Paleo Recipe Blog

  4. Pingback: Paleo Unstuffed Cabbage | The Paleo Recipe Blog

  5. Reblogged this on Night Owl Kitchen and commented:
    I love quick and easy, so naturally I just love this recipe! So much easier than stuffing cabbage leaves. PLUS it’s low carb! You can make rice on the side for those who would like it, but I personally enjoy it without. Hope you all have a blessed day!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s