Cabbage Roll Casserole

Cabbage rolls are a classic in so many cultures for good reason, but they do take a bit of effort. And while we all might love cabbage rolls, we might not love the work that goes into them quite as much. But that’s where this casserole comes in. It has the same flavor as the classic, but you don’t have to roll a single thing and that means you get to crush a cabbage roll craving with very little work.
Cabbage Roll Casserole is an easy family favorite. It combines all the delicious flavors of stuffed cabbage rolls with a lot less time and effort. This delectable casserole makes eight healthy servings and leftovers heat perfectly in the microwave.

This Cabbage Roll Casserole is probably the most popular recipe on this site – and for good reason, it’s ridiculously delicious! I’ve yet to try my hand at making traditional cabbage rolls, I have to admit I’m a little apprehensive. I do love to order them in restaurants however, and my inspiration for this dish was making them a bit more accessible and easy. While this casserole is certainly not directly related to a traditional cabbage roll, all that flavor is still there.

I get a lot of feedback about the cheese not being necessary as it is not present ever in a traditional roll, but I absolutely love what it adds to this casserole. All that zesty tangy deliciousness combined with that ooey gooey cheese really does make this one of my favorite things to eat. 🙂

2 lbs ground beef

1 white onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 (24 oz) jars marinara sauce

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried dill

1/2 teaspoon dried sage

1 teaspoon salt

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1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 cups cooked white rice

4 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

1 medium head (2 lbs) cabbage, shredded

1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 375°F and grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with butter or nonstick spray.

In a large skillet, cook ground beef and onion over medium heat until meat is cooked through. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more.

Drain grease and stir in 1 jar of the marinara sauce, along with the thyme, dill, sage, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in bacon and rice and remove from heat.

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Line baking dish with a third of the cabbage. Evenly top with half of the meat/rice mixture. Top with another third of the cabbage, remaining meat mixture, and final third of the cabbage.

Pour remaining jar of marinara sauce over the top. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes.

Remove foil, top with cheese and bake until cheese is bubbly and melted, 10-12 minutes.

Let rest 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!