Unstuffed Cabbage Bowl

INLINE_ Stuffed Cabbage 1If you love stuffed cabbage but want to do away with white rice and the time consuming task of stuffing and rolling cabbage leaves, this recipe is for you. The dish is slightly lighter, and the flavors are brighter than in traditional stuffed cabbage, but this unstuffed cabbage bowl is still full-blown comfort food.

To make the bowl, shredded cabbage is sautéed just until soft, without losing its bright green color and soft crunch. The meat is simmered in onion, garlic, tomato sauce and a pinch of cinnamon. Layered in a bowl, the meat and cabbage are topped with a dollop of sauerkraut and an abundance of fresh parsley.

This bowl is a tasty combination of protein, a leafy green (parsley), sulfur-rich vegetables (cabbage, onion, garlic), and fermented food (sauerkraut). It’s a healthful meal that’s just as flavorful and comforting as traditional stuffed cabbage—but not nearly as much work.

Servings: 4

Time in the Kitchen: 30 minutes



  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided (60 ml)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 ¼ pounds ground beef (567 g)
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon (1.2 ml)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (5 ml)
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce (240 ml)
  • 1 head green cabbage, shredded
  • ½ cup finely chopped parsley (120 ml)
  • Sauerkraut, for garnish



Over medium heat, cook the onion in 2 tablespoons/30 ml olive oil until the onion is soft, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and ground meat. Season generously with salt and pepper. Add cinnamon and thyme.

Use a spatula or wooden spoon to break up the meat as it cooks. When the meat is starting to brown on the outside but still a bit pink in the middle, add tomato sauce. Simmer 20 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.

In a wide skillet, warm the remaining olive oil over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the cabbage. Saute until the cabbage has wilted slightly but is still bright green and a little crunchy, 3 to 5 minutes. Don’t over-stir the cabbage while it cooks, give it a chance to brown a little against the hot skillet. Season with salt and pepper.

In each serving bowl, layer the meat and cabbage. Garnish with sauerkraut and plenty of parsley.

Stuffed Cabbage 2

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13 thoughts on “Unstuffed Cabbage Bowl”

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  1. Suggested rewording to yesterday’s blog from Mark:
    It should read “the last several months” instead of “the last several weeks”. It has been since early September…
    One note before we get going… I know folks have experienced continuing issues with the forum since the site upgrade, and I appreciate the feedback that’s come in. It’s been a frustrating knot to untangle the last several weeks, but I want you to know I consider the forum a centerpiece of Mark’s Daily Apple and the Primal Blueprint community. Getting the forum back to full capacity is a top priority for me and my staff. We’re working on it as I speak. Thanks for your patience on this, gang, and hang tight!

    1. Please also fix (or better yet, ELIMINATE) the Captcha box. It doesn’t always appear, and when it doesn’t, you can’t post a comment. Like now, for instance. The only way I can comment is to reply to someone else’s comment.

      Regarding the recipe… try using diced eggplant instead. I’ve done this for years since I’ve always found the hamburger/rice mixture too heavy and dense for my taste. Eggplant makes for a lighter, healthier dish, provided you aren’t sensitive to nightshades. You don’t have to pre-fry it. Just peel and cube it and mix in with the other ingredients prior to stuffing the cabbage or peppers.

      1. Omg yes please get of the captcha. I can’t say how many of my IMMENSELY INSIGHTFUL worlds of wisdom the community has missed out on due to the captchas disfunction! 🙂

  2. Cabbage is a very versatile vegetable and this dish looks yummy. Another term to unstructured would be deconstructed, which would apply to any dish that is served open face instead of stuffed in the usual way.

    If you like the taste of Indian food look up a recipe by the name Gujarati-Bombay or Indian fried cabbage (there’s more then one).

  3. Just want to check in to say that I made this and it’s delicious and it shall return to my kitchen again in the future!

    I did season the cabbage with some salt and pepper, and added it to thinly sliced caramelized onions. I made copious amounts of the beef and it freezes really well, too!

  4. Is the tomato sauce passata? It’s pretty vague just putting ‘tomato sauce’.

    1. No, the tomato sauce is tomato sauce. There’s this stuff, comes in cans or jars, called “tomato sauce”. That’s what this recipe is calling for. It’s actually a very specific thing.

  5. Another great recipe. Thank you. Cabbage is so flavorful. Every time I prepare cabbage I always add some healthy greens into the mix that I don’t like to eat on their own – like Dandelion greens and chard. I used the grease left over from prepping the ground beef and cooked the veggies in there. Added so much more flavor. I doubled the ground beef and kept the tomato sauce at a minimum (contains sugar!!!) – Also I never cook in Olive Oil. Its not meant for higher heat. At least not the Virgin stuff. Thanks again for this recipe.

  6. THIS is DELICIOUS!!! Just made it tonight! The cinnamon makes this! Don’t eliminate anything!