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German Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Casserole with Apple and Cardamom

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This German Unstuffed Cabbage Casserole recipe is a savory and delicious casserole filled with your favorite cabbage roll flavors. Simply prepared it’s perfect for busy nights with plenty of meal-prep options too! A healthy family dinner, it also makes great leftovers.

Close up of a cabbage roll casserole being spooned out of the baking dish.

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Similar to German Kohlrouladen (stuffed cabbage rolls,) this recipe for Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Casserole is simply everything you love in a cabbage roll, unstuffed.

For some reason, I crave cabbage rolls in the spring (when the cabbage is producing in the garden) and fall when cozy comfort food is the order of the day.

And while I love nothing better than a juicy, savory cabbage roll, such a treat, sometimes there isn’t time for boiling, wrapping, and then baking or steaming rolls. Although I love the process when I have time.

This cabbage roll recipe is your Plan B. It’s a quicker, easier, yet just as tasty and delicious option.

And… Plan B delivers all of the familiar, comforting, and savory flavors, with the convenience of an unstuffed cabbage casserole.

Flavored with cardamom, oregano, and paprika, sweetened with freshly chopped apples it is perfect for busy weeknights when you don’t have the time to assemble regular cabbage rolls.

Meal Prep Ideas for Busy Weeknights

  • Pre-chop the cabbage (it keeps for several days in the refrigerator)
  • Pre-chop the onion (refrigerate in an airtight container or bag)
  • Brown the meat ahead
  • Refrigerate the prepared casserole and bake it before serving.

Frequently Asked Questions

What sort of meat should I use?

Ground turkey, beef, and pork are delicious options.

Is there a healthier option instead of using canned soup in this recipe?

It’s simple to add a can of condensed tomato soup. But if you would like a healthier option, a recipe for tomato soup substitute is in the “notes” section of the recipe below.

Does this unstuffed cabbage roll casserole yield good leftovers?

When you love cabbage, unstuffed cabbage casserole is almost as good (or better) as leftovers for lunch the next day. Seriously, I’m anticipating the leftovers while I’m making the casserole. Weird, I know.

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German Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls with Apple and Cardamom | 31Daily.com

Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls Recipe for Quick Meals

This German Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Casserole recipe is a savory and delicious casserole, filled with the cabbage roll flavors you love. With perhaps a couple of new additions. But simply prepared, perfect for busy nights.
5 from 1 vote
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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Stephanie Wilson


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil small head of cabbage chopped
  • 1 lb ground turkey or beef
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced (1 tablespoon)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 15 ounce can diced tomatoes undrained
  • 10 ounce can condensed tomato soup or *soup substitute see notes
  • 1 apple peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella optional


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 2-quart casserole or 9 by 13 inch casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Chop the cabbage. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the chopped cabbage; stir-fry until limp. Add the cooked cabbage to the casserole dish.
  • Brown the ground meat in the same skillet. Add the onion, garlic, oregano, cardamom, salt and pepper to taste, tomatoes and tomato soup or substitute to the skillet. Bring to a boil; simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, peel and chop the apple; layer over the top of the chopped cabbage in the casserole dish.
  • Layer the cooked beef and rice mixture over the cabbage and apple.
  • Bake uncovered for 25 minutes. Add shredded mozzarella (if using) and bake another 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the casserole is bubbling.


Condensed Tomato Soup Substitute: 1 8 ounce can tomato sauce, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon salt


Calories: 320kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cabbage, cabbage rolls, casserole, unstuffed, unstuffed cabbage casserole, unstuffed cabbage rolls

One Comment

  1. Why doesn’t the picture match the recipe? Recipes calls for the cabbage to be the bottom layer if the casserole, but the picture has it on the top.

5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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