UnStuffed Cabbage Roll Skillet

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This Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Skillet is a one pot meal, mimicking those time consuming cabbage rolls, ready to eat in minutes. An easy and delicious weeknight meal.

Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Skillet

Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls? Say what?  You bet!! There is nothing like making a version of a super time consuming recipe quick and super duper easy! Am I right?



Stuffed Cabbage Rolls - An Affair from the Heart
STUFFED CABBAGE ROLLS Traditional Stuffed Cabbage Rolls just like Mom always made. Meatball made of ground beef, rice and Parmesan cheese, wrapped in a cabbage leaf and topped with tomato sauce. (click the photo for the recipe)

My family loves cabbage, and when I make my stuffed cabbage rolls, they practically cheer.  I don’t make them very often though, because they do take quite a bit of time.



Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Skillet -- An Affair from the Heart

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Recently, I had purchased my corned beef and cabbage to make on Sunday, and then decided to push it back a week so my son and our “5th child,” my daughter’s boyfriend, would be home from college.  They both love that meal. So, I popped the corned beef in the freezer and the cabbage in the fridge.  Late Sunday night, I got an email that my youngest son would have an impromptu soccer practice Monday night.  Monday was already shaping up to be a crazy busy day, and I was trying to think of something I could make in a short amount of time, using the cabbage was a bonus.  I have seen different versions of this meal over the years, and had planned to try it when I made this Inside Out Cabbage Roll Soup,  (also a wonderful recipe)  and I decided Monday was the day!



Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Skillet

I asked the family as we ate, “so what do you think? Is this recipe a keeper?”  My husband replied “I think I actually like this better than cabbage rolls.”  SCORE —a keeper indeed!

See, typically that doesn’t work in my favor.  Usually, I am never quite lucky enough to have the easy one pot meal that is done in minutes be the chosen one over something that takes me hours to make! Hence the reason why I don’t gamble.  If given a 50/50 chance on something, I always lose.  I always figure money that would be gambled is probably better spent on shoes or something else anyway!



Ingredients for Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Skillet:

  • Lean Ground Beef
  • Cabbage
  • Onion
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Instant Brown Rice
  • Water, Salt and Pepper


It’s silly actually, just how easy this meal is to make. 


Unstuffed Cabbage Roll SkilletBrown your ground beef with some onion, (in a pinch, you can always replace a fresh onion with chopped dried onion)  and the rest is added in afterwards. 


Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Skillet

Water, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and brown rice are added to the ground beef, stirred together, then top with chopped cabbage.  Simmer until the cabbage wilts and the rice cooks. 


Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Skillet - An Affair from the Heart

Serve it right out of the skillet.   Less Dishes?  Please sign me up for less dishes!!



Easy Weeknight meals for Busy Families
EASY WEEKNIGHT MEALS FOR BUSY FAMILIES PART 1 This two part series will give you MONTHS of Easy Weeknight Meal recipes! {click the photo to be taken to Part One’s Recipes and link to Part Two}

Easy Weeknight Meals are recipes I can get behind, how about you?  In fact, I pride myself on having loads of recipes that make your time in the kitchen well spent.  Delicious meals, fewer ingredients, fewer dishes.  Plus — it’s keeping us out of the drive thru on those nights it feels nearly impossible to get a decent meal on the table for our family.  Skillet Meals are one of my favorites.  Being able to make a meal right in one pan, and set it on the table and get to eating, makes my life so much easier.  


Some of My Other Favorite Skillet Meals:


Stuffed Pepper Skillet
This STUFFED PEPPER SKILLET has all of the flavors of traditional stuffed peppers, with hardly any work. Ground beef, bell peppers, tomatoes, rice and cheese, a one pot simple meal that can be served right out of the skillet, in less than 30 minutes! (click the photo for the recipe)


Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Skillet

What types of kitchen products make this recipe even easier?   A Large Skillet with a Lid is necessary.  The cabbage takes up lots of room!   I love using my Bamboo Utensils for skillet meals.  They actually are my favorite of all of my utensils!  Of course a good cutting board and a nice sharp knife will make prep go nice and smooth.  



Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Skillet

This meal is great if you are trying to add fiber to your diet.  The tomatoes, cabbage and brown rice are perfect for that.  Brown rice has less carbohydrates than white rice, so using it helps with eating ow carb, too!

I’m hungry! Let’s get to dinner, shall we?? 










Overhead of Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Skillet
4.52 from 52 votes
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UnStuffed Cabbage Roll Skillet

This Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Skillet is a one pot meal, mimicking those time consuming cabbage rolls, ready to eat in minutes. An easy and delicious weeknight meal.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Skillet
Servings: 6 -8
Calories: 413kcal
Author: Michaela Kenkel


  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 medium sized onion chopped
  • 1 medium sized head of cabbage chopped
  • 1 cup instant rice I used Minute Brown Rice
  • 1 - 14.5 ounce cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1 - 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  • Brown ground beef with onion in a large skillet. (drain excess grease)
  • When browned, add tomatoes and tomato sauce, stir.
  • Add rice and water, stir.
  • Fold cabbage into sauce. Cover and simmer on medium low for about 20-25 minutes, stirring a occasionally. Rice and cabbage will be tender.
  • Salt and Pepper to taste, serve right out of the skillet!


Serving: 1g | Calories: 413kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 45g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 135mg | Sodium: 457mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g




Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Skillet - An Affair from the Heart


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  1. Totally in love with stuffed cabbage rolls and want to get married to this skillet so I don’t have to do all the work! I wonder since I’m already married if Brooks will be okay with me making it for dinner every night for the next month or two?

  2. I see a lot of recipes where they add onion with the ground beef and then drain. Why? Brown your ground beef, drain, then add your onion, otherwise you’re losing flavor.

  3. To make this a little faster, I add a package of shredded cole slow instead of cutting up a whole cabbage. Call me more lazy!

  4. I have no idea if my husband would mind the cabbage part or not. I haven’t tried cabbage on him in a long time. But what a fabulous idea, and so much healthier than a bunch of potatoes or tortellini! Thank you for this idea!

    1. I suppose that you could? But you’d still need to brown the meat before. Unless there is a reason you can’t, the stovetop goes quickly. If you made in the oven, you’d add the browned hamburger with everything else in into a pot with a lid and bake it on, I’d say, maybe 350? NOt sure how long as I have only made it in a skillet.

  5. Made this skillet dish. Loved it!!! So easy and do mich faster than making the rolls. I added more seasoning for flavor. Will definitely make this again. Thanks

    1. I am so happy that you loved it!! I agree – it requires some salt and pepper for sure! 😉 That is always one area that “to taste” seems to be the best option for different people’s palates. Thank you for taking the time to come back and share your thoughts, Rose.

  6. 5 stars
    I tried this tonight and it was delish!
    A few substitutions had to be made based on what I had on hand (I know, I know, don’t review the recipe if you’re not following it, but maybe others will have the same ingredients on hand). I subbed ground turkey and regular rice. I did add a bit more water since it was regular rice. I threw in a tomato bouillon cube for extra flavor instead of just salt and pepper. I also let it cook for about 15 mins before adding the cabbage, since regular rice takes longer and I didn’t want the cabbage overcooked. It was great! I served with a dollop of sour cream to top it off. Will be making again!

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