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Cabbage Roll Casserole

I layer cabbage with tomato sauce and ground beef lasagna-style to create a hearty casserole that tastes like cabbage rolls but without all the work. —Doreen Martin, Kitimat, British Columbia
  • Total Time
    Prep: 20 min. Bake: 55 min.
  • Makes
    12 servings


  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) tomato sauce, divided
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dill weed
  • 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 4 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 medium head cabbage (2 pounds), shredded
  • 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • Coarsely ground pepper, optional


  • Preheat oven to 375°. In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat, crumbling beef, until meat is no longer pink. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Drain. Stir in 1 can tomato sauce and next 6 ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, 5 minutes. Stir in rice and bacon; remove from heat.
  • Layer a third of the cabbage in a greased 13x9-in. baking dish. Top with half the meat mixture. Repeat layers; top with remaining cabbage. Pour remaining tomato sauce over top.
  • Cover and bake 45 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with cheese. Bake until cheese is melted, about 10 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. If desired, sprinkle with coarsely ground pepper.

Test Kitchen Tips
  • Minimize mess by using 90% lean ground beef or ground sirloin (so you can skip the draining step) and use coleslaw mix (so you don't have to chop cabbage).
  • Try serving with a splash of red wine or cider vinegar.
  • Take this with a grain of salt: Our tasting panel finds salt preferences vary widely. We recommend adjusting according to your dietary restrictions, if any, and taste. Remember the hidden sources of sodium, like bacon, cheese, and canned sauces, soups and vegetables.
  • Looking for other ground beef recipes? Consider these beef casseroles as well.
  • Nutrition Facts
    1 piece: 256 calories, 13g fat (5g saturated fat), 56mg cholesterol, 544mg sodium, 17g carbohydrate (4g sugars, 3g fiber), 20g protein.


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    Average Rating:
    • Elaine
      Oct 27, 2020

      Kimberly, I'm glad I'm not the only one who didn't see the second column of ingredients the first time I looked!

    • Deanna
      Oct 27, 2020

      Made this last night but adjusted for two, we both enjoyed it and will be making this again. I guess we all are different because one of the best thing for us was that the cabbage was not soggy and still had some crunch to it .

    • Kimberly
      Oct 20, 2020

      I haven't cooked it yet. There is no cabbage or cheese listed in the ingredients list? Am I blind? I have looked at the recipe several times?' I can figure it out cause I'm a saavy cook. Just wondering? I probably am blind! I'm making it with canned/ jar speghetti sauce. It looks easy to and yummy!

    • Alicia
      Oct 7, 2020

      No comment left

    • Loudoun
      Oct 5, 2020

      I just made this dish and was very good, my husband said it is a keeper. Will definitely fix again. The only thing is thing is I'm not a big fan of thyme it is a very strong herb, I did use it but a very little bit.

    • Pam
      Sep 16, 2020

      My family tried this and did not enjoy it at all. As I was making the sauce, I wondered how the spices would blend and now I know. It’s not for us. We were looking forward to traditional cabbage roll flavours. Will try to salvage this somehow so I do not have to toss the all the ground beef.

    • Brennae
      Feb 29, 2020

      This was delicious! My family loved this and has added it to their favorites. The only thing I changed was I added an Italian sauce in place of the tomato sauce. Can't wait to make it again. Great job and thanks for sharing

    • SUSAN
      Feb 17, 2020

      It has potential but even in the video, I could see that the cabbage was not cooked properly. I decided to saute and salt the cabbage before assembling the casserole. I also added more spices and used a jar of Ragu sauce which is 24 ounces and a 15-ounce tomato sauce. I thought what was used in the video did not look like enough sauce. Mine turned out great.

    • J
      Dec 25, 2019

      I signed up an account just to talk about how much this recipe sucks. I have a thing about making recipes EXACTLY as written the first time because all of those reviews from people who claim something was great but changed half the ingredients ruin everything. So, making this recipe exactly as written: it's dry, bland, and only vaguely like cabbage rolls. The most disappointing thing was how crunchy the cabbage was... I expect cabbage soft enough to cut through with a fork, just like the real thing. The filling wasn't terrible, but clearly needed a lot more than 1/4 tsp of salt. I won't make this again, but if I did I'd probably parcook the cabbage so it has a chance of being soft after 45 minutes, at least double the salt and probably more like 1 1/4 tsp, and add another can of sauce.

    • mellen2001
      Oct 5, 2019

      This is actually a contest winner. I entered this one in the Florida Beef Cookoff in the mid 1980s and I believe it won third place. Some of the spices are altered here, but basically it’s the same recipe. They published it when I was in the finals of the contest, and I’ve also given it to many, many people. Most people love it. Only one I ever served it to who doesn’t like it is one of my six grown children. I guess his Lithuanian genes (I am 100%) got trumped by my husband’s genes , lol.