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German Unstuffed Cabbage Casserole with Apple and Cardamom

This German Unstuffed Cabbage Casserole recipe is a savory and delicious casserole filled with your favorite cabbage roll flavors. With perhaps a couple of new additions. But simply prepared, perfect for busy nights.

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

What is Unstuffed Cabbage Casserole?

Similar to German Kohlrouladen (stuffed cabbage rolls,) this recipe is simply everything you love in a cabbage roll, unstuffed. Flavored with cardamom, oregano, and paprika, sweetened with freshly chopped apples.

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.

There is a 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.

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

Unstuffed Cabbage Casserole Meal Prep Ideas:

For busy weeknights:

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

Unstuffed Cabbage Casserole Ingredient Options

  • Ground Meat: Ground turkey, beef, and pork are delicious options.
  • Tomato Soup: 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.


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

  • Author: Stephanie Wilson
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
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This German Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls 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.


Units Scale

1 tablespoon olive oil
small head of cabbage, chopped
1 lb ground turkey or beef
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 cabbage. Heat 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 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

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Bake


  • Calories: 320 calories

Keywords: unstuffed, casserole, unstuffed cabbage casserole, cabbage rolls, unstuffed cabbage rolls, cabbage

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.

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