Low Carb Cabbage Rolls make a perfect meal prep pick — plus, they're gluten free, paleo, Whole30-friendly, low carb, and keto!
As a kid, cabbage rolls kinda freaked me out. They were one of those meat mixture meals that, as adventurous an eater I was, I couldn't get my brain to accept as food.
As an adult, I love these kinds of meals. Each little cabbage roll is its own perfectly-portioned meal, allowing you to easily separate servings for leftovers. Plus, you prep a bunch at once, so lunch for the week is taken care of!
Ingredients for low carb cabbage rolls
Cabbage rolls come together in three different parts: The cabbage, the sauce, and the filling.
My biggest focus for this recipe was the sauce. Without the sauce, cabbage rolls are little more than meatloaf wrapped in veggies. Many cabbage roll recipes use canned tomato soup plus diced tomatoes as the sauce — such a shame!
For my version, I knew I wanted a sauce with a little more punch — using apple cider vinegar and no sugar added raisins, acidic tomatoes adopt a sweet-and-sour flavor that compliments the savory meat filling well.
Sure, I know it's a bit more complicated than dumping two cans together and calling it good, but the extra step here is simply to leave the sauce simmering while you prepare the filling. Not too bad, right?
Classic cabbage rolls use rice in the filling to bulk up the meat and prevent it from getting too tough. For my Whole30 recipe, I just swapped rice out for cauliflower rice. Easy does it!
My favorite casserole dish for this recipe
Your best bet for this recipe is a covered baking dish, like this one from Staub. You can always cover a dish in aluminum foil as well, but I always feel like I'm wasting my foil when it's only used to cover a dish!
You're also going to be boiling the head of cabbage whole — you can't cut it up because you need those precious leaves — so a big stockpot is a must.
If you don't have a large enough pot on hand, you can always try to peel the leaves off the head off cabbage before boiling. It's a pain, but doable.
More Whole30 casserole recipes
- Mushroom, Bacon, and Cauliflower Casserole
- Bacon-Topped Dairy Free Green Bean Casserole
- Bacon Buffalo Chicken Casserole
- Chicken Bacon Ranch Spaghetti Squash Casserole
- Spaghetti Squash & Meatball Casserole
For the cabbage and sauce:
- 1 large head green cabbage
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup no sugar added raisins (optional)
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the filling:
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- ⅔ cup riced cauliflower
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Place the entire head of cabbage in the pot, boiling for at least 3 minutes or until the outer leaves are limp. Remove cabbage from the water and cool for about 10 minutes, until they are easier to handle.
- Remove 10-12 whole leaves from the cabbage head, cut out the thick center ribs, and set aside. Core and chop up the remainder of the cabbage head. Spread along the bottom of a casserole dish.
- Heat olive oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until onions are soft and translucent. Remove ½ cup of the onion for use in the filling and set aside. Add the crushed tomatoes and their juices, apple cider vinegar, raisins (if using), sea salt, and ground black pepper to the saucepan. Stir to combine. Let the mixture come to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until ready to use.
- Chop up the cauliflower florets into large chunks. Add to a food processor and pulse until cauliflower has broken down into rice-sized pieces.
- Combine ⅔ cup cauliflower rice, ground beef, egg, tomato paste, the reserved ½ cup cooked onion, garlic, parsley, sea salt, and black pepper in a large bowl. Be careful not to overwork the mixture, or it will be tough after it’s cooked.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place approximately ½ cup beef mixture on one of the reserved cabbage leafs. Roll the cabbage around the mixture, tucking in the sides as you go. Place cabbage rolls in a layer on top of the chopped cabbage in the casserole dish. Repeat until you’ve used all the beef mixture. Pour the tomato sauce over the cabbage rolls.
- Bake, covered, for about 1 hour, until cabbage is tender and meat is cooked through. Serve immediately, or cool and refrigerate for up to a week. You can also freeze cabbage rolls for up to 3 months.
Keywords: cabbage rolls, low carb, Whole30, paleo, gluten free, keto, casserole