Unrolled Cabbage Casserole – A simple and delicious cabbage and meat dish covered in a flavorful tomato sauce. The traditional Polish version, golumpki or stuffed cabbage is a very time consuming dish to make. This unrolled version is just as delicious but much easier to make, you’re family is gonna’ love it, just like mine does.
There are a few dishes that my mom would make especially for my grandpa, like her chili or beef pasties. Us girls always knew that our grandpa was on his way over just by the smells that would come from her kitchen.
One of his all time favorites though was definitely moms golumpkis. I remember my mom spending so much time rolling small amounts of meat filling into individual steamed cabbage leaves and then baking it in a tomato sauce for hours. The house always smelled amazing and to this day it is one of those dishes that I love because of all of the memories that it holds.
As much as I have loved this dish though, I admittedly haven’t made it that often. It is very time consuming and it’s hard for me to carve out the time to make it. However, my husband recently asked me if I could make some and I couldn’t refuse, it did sound good and it had been a while.
To save myself some time I decided to cheat a little. Instead of spending all of that time making individual cabbage rolls I made it into a casserole. It was so much easier and tasted just as good, but with less of a hassle. My grandpa may not have approved of the unrolled version, but my family loved it and it will be on the menu more often now.
Have you tweaked any of your mother’s recipes to save time?
Unrolled Cabbage Casserole
Ground Beef: To keep the casserole from being to greasy, use ground beef that has 10% or less added fat. The less fat that is added the less grease the casserole will have. You could also replace the beef with pork or lamb or use a combination of different meats.
Sauce: My mom used to make the sauce with canned tomatoes and tomato soup, which is delicious, but I changed it up a bit. I like to use V-8 juice mixed with a little tomato paste. The V-8 juice adds a really amazing flavor to the dish and the tomato paste adds a little more tomato flavor while thickening the juice and making it into more of a sauce.
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 13×9×3-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Step 2: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the thickly shredded cabbage and boil for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Step 3: In a medium saucepan, combine V8 juice and tomato paste, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Step 4: In a large bowl, mix the ground beef, diced onions, eggs, cooked rice and salt and pepper.
Step 5: Place half of the shredded cabbage in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Pour 2 cups of the tomato sauce over the cabbage.
Step 6: Add the meat mixture to the top of the cabbage and lightly press into place.
Step 7: Add the remaining cabbage to the top of the meat mixture. Reserve 1 cup of the tomato sauce and pour the remaining sauce on top and cover with aluminum foil.
Step 8: Place the baking dish on a cookie sheet and place on the middle rack in a preheated oven.
Step 9: Bake for 90 minutes, remove foil, add the reserved tomato sauce and bake uncovered for an additional 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.
- 1 (3-4 pounds) head of cabbage, thickly shredded
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cup white rice, cooked
- salt & pepper, to taste
- 3 ounces tomato paste
- 46 ounces V8 tomato juice
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 13×9×3-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the thickly shredded cabbage and boil for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, combine V8 juice and tomato paste, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
- In a large bowl, mix the ground beef, diced onions, eggs, cooked rice and salt and pepper. *Over mixing will cause the meat to be tough.
- Place half of the shredded cabbage in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Pour 2 cups of the tomato sauce over the cabbage.
- Add the meat mixture to the top of the cabbage and lightly press into place.
- Add the remaining cabbage to the top of the meat mixture. Reserve 1 cup of the tomato sauce and pour the remaining sauce on top and cover with aluminum foil.
- Place the baking dish on a cookie sheet and place on the middle rack in a preheated oven.
- Bake for 90 minutes, remove foil, add the reserved tomato sauce and bake uncovered for an additional 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.
✔ Traditionally, cabbage rolls (Golumpki) were made with different kinds of ground meat (ex. beef, chicken, pork, sausage). Use any combination that sounds appealing to you. I grew up with beef, so that’s what I always use.
✔ Over mixing the meat will cause it to be tough.
✔ You can use raw cabbage, instead of boiling it, however the cabbage will be a little crunchy.
✔ You can use regular tomato juice instead of the V8.
✔ Lightly mix together the meat with your hands, just long enough for all of the ingredients to be incorporated.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a commission. I only recommend products or services that I personally believe will add value to my readers. All opinions stated are strictly my own. Read our full disclosure policy for more information.
My mother–also from Poland–used to make stuffed cabbage for my father–and then for my husband who loved her version. It was sweet and sour with raisins thrown in. Like you, the smell of cabbage and tomatoes cooking brings back so many memories. But also like you, the dish is too time-consuming for me to make.. So I love your casserole approach. I’m going to try it–and add a little brown sugar and sour salt (if i can find it) to reinvent my mother’s recipe..
Thank you so much for sharing your memory with me. You’ll have to come back and tell me how the casserole version of your mother’s recipe turns out.
April J Harris says
I remember making cabbage rolls with my late Mom. They were delicious, but this recipe is so much easier! It’s perfect for this busy time of year! Thank you for sharing, Robin, and for being a part of the Hearth and Soul Link Party. Have a great weekend!
What a cool twist on a traditional dish. It looks really delicious and time saved is always a plus! Thank you for sharing with us over at Fiesta Friday!
What a great recipe! Casseroles make great dinners. Thanks for sharing at Merry Monday
Nancy W says
It’s been years since I made cabbage rolls, this would be a great time saver! Thanks for sharing your post on The Simple Homestead Blog Hop, look forward to seeing what you share on Thursday!
Kathryne Brockfield says
My daughter, who is turning 35 this Sunday, asked for stuffed cabbage for dinner, because she can’t get them anywhere else. I haven’t made them in many years, but I am going the traditional golumpki route, the way my grandmother from Croatia and my mom used to make it.
If it reawakens traditional values in our daughter, it’s worth the extra time and trouble for me to make it for her.
With joy reawakened,
The traditional golumpki’s are the best way to have them if you have time or if they are for a special occassion, like a birthday.
Alice George says
Hi ! Just made the Casserole and actually made 2…. I’m was hoping to freeze one…. do you think is will freeze well?? It looks so good…. a bit more grease then I expected. and I wish I lined my cookie tray it did over flow with grease…. Can’t wait for dinner… Thank you!!
Be sure to cook it and let it cool before freezing and it should keep up to 3 months. As for the grease, I would suggest using leaner ground beef. I hope that you enjoyed it as much as we do.
Vicki Aleck says
Just made the Golumpki casserole and it was delicious! Like others, I used to make it rolling the hamburger mixture in scalded cabbage leaves. This was just as good and so much easier and the flavor was perfect! That 9×13 casserole won’t last long!
I’m glad that you enjoyed it, it is one of our families’ favorites.