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A spoon scoops up cabbage roll casserole from a baking dish.

Cabbage Roll Casserole

Valerie Brunmeier
A saucy ground beef and rice mixture is layered with cabbage and cheese to create this comforting Cabbage Roll Casserole. This freezer-friendly casserole is a great make-ahead meal for a busy day
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 25 mins
Resting Time 5 mins
Total Time 1 hr 55 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories 466 kcal


  • 1 pound 90% lean ground beef
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • ½ cup diced celery
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste, divided
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup uncooked long grain white rice
  • 25 ounces marinara sauce (look for a gluten free or low sodium variety with no added sugars)
  • 15 ounces canned petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 ¾ cups low-sodium beef broth
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 head green cabbage coarsely chopped (remove and discard tough center core)
  • 2 ½ cups shredded part-skim Mozzarella cheese
  • ¾ cup finely grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese


  • Coat a deep 12- to 14-inch non-stick skillet or sauté pan with non-stick cooking spray and place over MEDIUM heat. Add the ground beef and cook, stirring to break up the meat, until cooked through and no longer pink, about 5 to 6 minutes. Drain off the excess grease and transfer the beef to a plate and set aside.
  • Return the empty skillet to the heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent and celery is tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for an additional 2 minutes. Return the beef to the skillet and season with ½ teaspoon salt, basil, thyme, oregano, and black pepper. Add the uncooked rice, marinara sauce, petite diced tomatoes, beef broth, and parsley, and stir well to combine. Bring the mixture to a low boil then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender (taste to check).
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 13- x 9-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • While meat mixture is cooking, add remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a Dutch oven and place over MEDIUM heat. When oil is hot add the cabbage and season with remaining ½ teaspoon salt and black pepper, to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or just until cabbage is softened and fork tender. The cabbage will begin to brown but if it begins to burn, lower the heat under the pot. Remove the pot from the heat.
  • Scatter half of the cabbage across the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Spoon half of the meat mixture over the top and sprinkle with half the mozzarella and Parmesan. Repeat layers with the remaining cabbage and meat mixture. Reserve remaining cheese for later.
  • Cover the baking dish with foil and transfer to the preheated oven. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil, sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese over the top, and continue to bake for an additional 15 minutes until cheese is melted and lightly browned. Remove from the oven and allow the casserole to sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.


Make-Ahead Instructions:
Transfer the unbaked, foil covered casserole to the refrigerator overnight. Remove it from the refrigerator 30 minutes before you are ready to bake it and increase the baking time as needed to warm it through. Follow the instructions as written to top with the final layer of cheese and bake until melted.
Make it a Freezer Meal:
Cover the completely cooled, unbaked casserole with a layer of plastic wrap and then wrap the entire dish in a layer of heavy duty foil. Label the foil with the date and contents and freeze for up to 2 to 3 months. For two meals, divide the mixture between two smaller freezer-safe containers.
Reheating the Frozen Casserole:
Allow the Cabbage Roll Casserole to thaw completely in your refrigerator for 24 to 48 hours before baking for the best result. Remove the foil and plastic wrap and then replace the foil layer and bake according to the recipe directions, allowing additional time for the casserole to heat through.
Storing Leftovers:
Cover and refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave or conventional oven and enjoy!


Calories: 466kcalCarbohydrates: 37gProtein: 29gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 68mgSodium: 993mgPotassium: 993mgFiber: 6gSugar: 11gVitamin A: 667IUVitamin C: 51mgCalcium: 494mgIron: 4mg
Keyword cabbage roll casserole
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