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Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls

Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls are much easier to make than Stuffed Cabbage Rolls but with all the same flavors. There’s ground beef, cabbage, diced tomatoes and rice. Makes and economical and delicious meal.

Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls in a blue Dutch oven.

Easy To Make

I love Stuffed Cabbage Rolls but it’s a lot of work to precook the cabbage leaves, make the filling, roll up the filling in the cabbage leaves, make a sauce, and then bake the stuffed cabbage leaves. Whew! I’m tired just thinking about it.

This Unstuffed Cabbage Roll recipe is so much easier. Made with ground beef, plenty of chopped cabbage, diced tomatoes, and a little rice, Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls make a comforting and filling weeknight family meal. It’s just a little bit soupy, but plenty thick and you could add a can of tomato sauce and more beef broth if you want it to be a soup.

If you love Cabbage Rolls, be sure to also try my Stuffed Cabbage Rolls recipe.

Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls in Dutch oven.

Tuttorosso Tomatoes

I used Tuttorosso Tomatoes for this recipe and let me tell you, they are the best tasting tomatoes out there. They are made in Indiana and have only recently become available in the Carolinas. Tuttorosso Tomatoes are made by Red Gold Tomatoes, a 4th generation family-owned company and they can be purchased all along the east coast.

Tuttorosso Tomatoes

I really don’t think you can  find better tasting tomatoes. The tomatoes are grown and packaged in Indiana and are picked at peak ripeness.

But you don’t have to trust me. Do a taste test for yourself and I think you’ll come to the same conclusion that you just can’t buy higher quality canned tomatoes.

Finished recipe dished up in a bowl.

If you are like me, you have probably never thought to taste plain canned tomatoes straight out of the can, let alone compare the taste of different brands.

Well, last month I was invited to a Tuttorosso Tomato event at Hugh Acheson’s restaurant Empire State South in Atlanta.

Chef HUgh Acheson at Empire in Atlanta.
Chef Hugh Acheson

Me with Chef Hugh Acheson

And we did just that. Tasted tomatoes straight out of the can. We compared the taste of whole peeled Tuttorosso Tomatoes to that of its competitors.

Tuttorosso Tomato Event

We all agreed that Tuttorosso had the best taste hands down. I was quite surprised to find that two of the brands I often buy had a rather displeasing taste when eaten on their own. It was a really interesting and eye-opening taste test and it would be a blast to do at a dinner party. It would really get the conversation started. We do wine tastings. Why not tomato tastings?

Tuttorosso Tomatoes event at Empire in Atlanta

But really y’all. If you haven’t tried Tuttorosso Tomatoes, give them a try. And if you’re in the Atlanta area, check out Empire State South. The food is amazing and there’s even a bocce court outside. And if you’re lucky, maybe celebrity chef Hugh Acheson will be there. πŸ™‚

More Cabbage Recipes

Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls

Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls have all the flavor of stuffed cabbage rolls. Ground beef, rice, cabbage, and tomatoes combine to make a filling and hearty meal.
PREP: 10 minutes
COOK: 30 minutes
TOTAL: 40 minutes
SERVINGS: 8 servings


  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 small head green cabbage, roughly chopped
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 cup uncooked white rice


  • Lightly coat a Dutch oven with cooking spray or vegetable oil. Add ground beef and onion and cook until ground beef is no longer pink, breaking it into small pieces as it cooks. Drain off any fat.
  • Add garlic and cook 1 minute.
  • Add tomato paste and stir in well.
  • Add all remaining ingredients except rice.
  • Partially cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Stir in rice and continue to cook partially covered for 15 to 20 minutes.


To make this recipe spicy, add 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes.


Calories: 274kcal
Author: Christin Mahrlig
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cabbage, ground beef

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Originally published December 9, 2015.

Disclosure: I was the guest of Tuttorosso Tomatoes at this special event, but I was not compensated for this post. All opinions are mine.

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23 thoughts on “Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls”

  1. I cut it in half – added a little extra broth and extra 1/8 c rice. Very good! I used 1 in ground cbeef and half head of cabbage. One can 14.5 oz tomatoes with 2 T tomato paste. Very forgiving recipe. Gluten free – can make the rice separately for lower carb. Yummy!

  2. Grandma Cindy

    Honestly, this is the best unstuffed cabbage I have ever had! I didn’t have tomato paste though, I can’t wait to make it again with it! The allspice and brown sugar really steps it up a level. Thank you for sharing this!

  3. Thanks, I wondered! I’m making it now, & 20 min later on the, add everything but the rice & the cabbage still isn’t ready yet! Doing +10 min. At a time now till it’s almost done before adding the rice. πŸ˜€ looking & smelling wonderful

  4. Shirley hibbs

    Taste great but took a lot longer to cook then the recipe calls for…my cabbage cooked for an hour before it was done

    1. Thanks, I wondered! I’m making it now, & 20 min later on the, add everything but the rice & the cabbage still isn’t ready yet! Doing +10 min. At a time now till it’s almost done before adding the rice. πŸ˜€ looking & smelling wonderful

  5. I love this. I lived in Hungary for 10 years and it reminds me of stuffed cabbage rolls but without the faff. I used to watch my ex bf’s grandma spending hours making toltott kaposzta but who has time for that?! I make it in the IP to be even less hands on. Brown the onions and beef, shove in all the other ingredients, and put it on the rice setting. I leave out the allspice and add a heavy pour of paprika. Job done, easiest dinner ever!

  6. This sounds delicious and much easier than stuffed cabbage rolls! I was wondering how much tomato paste you used. I don’t see it listed in the ingredients.

  7. Ann Shepherd

    Hi, I am making this tonight. What do you serve with it? Is this a soup or something like guloush?

  8. Ashley | The Recipe Rebel

    This is perfect comfort food! My Grandma used to always make cabbage rolls — this would be a much easier way to remember her!

  9. Sarah @Whole and Heavenly Oven

    I seriously could not be loving this anymore!! Cabbage rolls are a HUGE favorite of mine, but I don’t make them that often because they’re so time-consuming! You can bet that this shortcut version is gonna be happening here! πŸ˜‰

  10. How exciting to meet Hugh! This dish is even better with cabbage pre-cooking and rolling! This is complete comfort food. πŸ™‚

  11. Jessica @ Sweetest Menu

    One of the things I love about your blog is I am always learning new dishes! I’ve never had a cabbage roll before! But this unstuffed version looks incredible. Wishing I had a big bowl for dinner!

  12. Kristine | Kristine's Kitchen

    Deconstructed dishes like this one are my favorite! I love how easy this looks!

  13. Melanie @ Melanie Cooks

    This is a great cabbage roll shortcut – you get the cabbage roll taste without all the labor! Brilliant!

    1. Love this so much! N calorie friendly! But my $ saver is to buy ground beef in a larger more budget friendly amount and make it all into a basic meatballs! I cook them on jelly roll pans with parchment …. Then after cooling freeze in freezer bags! Good for spaghetti, unstuffed cabbage, swedish meatballs … Meatball sandwiches …

  14. Amy @ The Blond Cook

    I absolutely LOVE cabbage and tomatoes and your recipe looks sooooo good! Your trip looked like it was so much fun! πŸ™‚

  15. My husband is always asking me to make cabbage rolls! But this is just so much more fun! Looks delicious!

  16. Stuffed cabbage rolls are one of my favorite dishes! And unstuffed rolls I might even manage to make myself πŸ™‚

  17. I love stuffed cabbage rolls but they’re kinda a pain to make. I love that you made this easier. smarter version! Genius!!!

  18. Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice

    What a creative dish, Christin! I love cabbage rolls, so the idea of turning them into this dish sounds just perfect. Looks so warm and comforting for the cold weather!

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