Easy Cabbage Roll in a Bowl (Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls)

This super easy cabbage roll in a bowl recipe has everything you know and love about stuffed cabbage rolls, but in a simple one-pan dish. This quick and healthy dinner is sure to be a new favorite for your whole family.

If you love cabbage, try my Inside Out Egg Roll recipe next!

A skillet full of unstuffed cabbage roll with a large serving spoon.

Why you’ll love it

Unstuffed cabbage rolls, deconstructed cabbage rolls, cabbage roll in a bowl…. whatever you want to call it, this hearty dish is a 10/10.

I love traditional cabbage rolls (I grew up eating golumpkis!), but it can be pretty labor intensive to stuff cabbage leaves for a meal if you don’t have the time.

If you’re someone who struggles to prioritize healthy eating during busy weeknights, one pan dishes are just way more realistic.

This cabbage roll in a bowl recipe is full of lean protein, veggies and fiber for a super delicious and nutritious meal.

The best part about this one is that it stores and reheats extremely well. Honestly, I think it’s even better and more flavorful the next day.

You can easily meal prep a big batch of this for quick, re-heatable meals.

Ingredients for cabbage roll in a bowl on a countertop with labels.

Ingredients

  • Cabbage: You’ll need a chopped head of cabbage for this one. I recommend picking a small-ish one because you’ll get a lot of cabbage!
  • Cooked rice: Brown rice has a tiny bit more fiber than white rice but honestly, they’re not super different nutritionally! Since there’s already lots of fiber from the cabbage in here, I go for white usually.
  • Ground turkey: You can use lean ground turkey, ground chicken, or lean ground beef for this recipe. All of them are delicious!
  • Garlic and onion: You’ll need 3-4 cloves of garlic and a yellow onion.
  • Crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce: Make sure to choose unseasoned tomato products for this one. To add more flavor, you can choose fire-roasted crushed tomatoes.
  • White wine vinegar: You’ll need a small amount of white wine vinegar to add some tang. Regular white vinegar can work too.
  • Brown sugar: Just a tiny bit of brown sugar helps to cut the acidity of the tomatoes. You can leave this out if you prefer to.
  • Salt & black pepper
  • Water
  • Olive oil

How to make cabbage roll in a bowl

  1. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet on medium heat.
  2. Add the ground turkey to the pan and break apart with a spatula. Brown the turkey for about 9-10 minutes, moving the meat around regularly with the spatula to prevent burning the bottom of the pot.
Two images showing ground turkey with onions, garlic and cabbage being sauteed in a skillet pan.
  1. When the ground turkey is browned, lower the temperature to low heat, add garlic and onion and cook for 2-3 minutes until onion is translucent. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.
  2. Next, add the cabbage and mix well. Add water and cover with a lid. Cook for 5-6 minutes until the cabbage starts to soften, stirring occasionally.
Two images showing ground turkey with onions, garlic and cabbage and tomato sauce being cooked in a skillet pan.
  1. Add the remaining ingredients: rice, tomato sauce, brown sugar, and white wine vinegar. Add the remaining salt and pepper.
  2. Mix well and simmer on low for about 10 minutes until tomato sauce is reduced and cabbage is soft. The mixture should have a thick texture like the inside of a cabbage roll.
A skillet full of cabbage roll in a bowl being scooped up by a large serving spoon.

Recipe Tips

  • Stir regularly! To prevent burning when you’re making a one-pan dish, make sure you’re checking on the dish regularly and stirring. Don’t let the ingredients sit for too long or you run the risk of burning the bottom.
  • Choose a small-ish cabbage: A cabbage yields a lot of chopped cabbage, which is awesome because cabbages are so cheap. If you use a cabbage that’s too big, you may need to add a bit more rice and tomato sauce.
  • Dice, dice dice! Make sure your cabbage and onion is diced into small pieces that are pretty similar in size so that everything cooks evenly.
  • Don’t rush the cooking process! One of the key steps of this recipe is reducing the tomato sauce a big so that it reduces and deepens the flavor. The last step of simmering uncovered is absolutely key for the best flavor (and this is why the leftovers are so good).
  • To store:
    • In the fridge: Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can also meal prep ahead of time and store in individual portions.
    • In the freezer: Freeze in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 2 months. Simply microwave in 30-60 second increments when ready to eat!
  • Season to taste. Adding enough salt and pepper to this recipe is super important, so make sure to taste at the end and season accordingly. If it needs more, add just a pinch at a time to prevent over-salting.

Variations

  1. Make it a vegetarian-friendly or vegan cabbage roll in a bowl by swapping the meat for plant-based crumbles.
  2. Add shredded Brussel sprouts to vary your veggies and add even more nutrients.
  3. Use pre-shredded coleslaw mix or chopped cabbage and pre-chopped onions to make your life easier and make this meal even quicker. Coleslaw mix will make it a little different, but still delicious nonetheless!
  4. Add a bit of chili paste, red pepper flakes or hot sauce for a spicy kick.
  5. Add half cauliflower rice and half regular rice if you’re looking for something a bit lower carb.
  6. Use chicken broth, veggie broth, or beef broth instead of water to add a bit more flavor.

More One-Pot Meal Ideas:

Easy Deconstructed Lasagna (Lazy Lasagna)

Easy Healthy Philly Cheesesteak Casserole

Easy Deconstructed Stuffed Peppers (One Pot!)

Inside Out Egg Roll (Easy 20 Minute Recipe!)

Easy Dump and Bake Meatball Casserole

A skillet full of unstuffed cabbage roll with a large serving spoon.

Easy Cabbage Roll in a Bowl (Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls)

All of the same flavors and ingredients of classic stuffed cabbage rolls in an easy and healthy one-pan dish that your whole family will love.
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Course: dinner, Main Course
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 247kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 small cabbage chopped, about 6-7 cups
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 cups cooked rice white or brown
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup water you can also use chicken or beef broth
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 15 oz crushed tomatoes regular or fire roasted
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce plain
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar white vinegar will also work

Instructions

  • Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet on medium heat.
  • Add the ground turkey to the pan and break apart with a spatula. Brown the turkey for about 9-10 minutes, moving the meat around regularly with the spatula to prevent burning the bottom of the pot.
  • When the ground turkey is browned, lower the temperature to low heat, add garlic and onion and cook for 2-3 minutes until onion is translucent. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.
  • Next, add the cabbage and mix well. Add water and cover with a lid. Cook for 5-6 minutes until the cabbage starts to soften, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the remaining ingredients: rice, tomato sauce, brown sugar, and white wine vinegar. Add the remaining salt and pepper.
  • Mix well and simmer on low for about 10 minutes until tomato sauce is reduced and cabbage is soft. The mixture should have a thick texture like the inside of a cabbage roll.

Nutrition

Calories: 247kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 786mg | Potassium: 721mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 334IU | Vitamin C: 53mg | Calcium: 91mg | Iron: 2mg

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It's me, Jamie!

I’m a Registered Dietitian dedicated to helping you break free of the all-or-nothing dieting with balanced and realistic healthy eating.

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Meet Jamie

I’m a Registered Dietitian and I’ve been exactly where you are, right now. The all or nothing dieting, the constant food guilt, the scale obsession, absolutely no balance with food…. Sound familiar?