If you love delicious and easy dinner recipes, you’re going to fawn over this Cabbage Roll Casserole. Layers of softened and seasoned cabbage, intertwined with crushed tomatoes, and savory rice. A vegan’s dream dish that takes little effort and few ingredients.
Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Casserole
This is a casserole I grew up with and it was always served during Christmas time or New Year’s. It never involved cheese, only sour cream and lots of fresh dill. Traditionally, it is made with Passata, which is a thick tomato puree that is bottled up for winter time. The closest thing that comes to it is literally the crushed San Marzano tomatoes I suggest in this recipe. I love leaving some rustic pieces throughout the dish. You can literally puree the entire can if you prefer a smooth consistency.
I just adore recipes from my childhood, especially those served during the cold months because they were always comfort food. Never a bad memory attached to a recipe like that. I have fond memories of Vegan Bolognese, Cranberry Pie, White Bean Stew, and so many more. Anyways, back from reminiscing land! Go try this lazy casserole and make some fond memories while you’re at it.
How to Make Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Casserole
- Prep the soy curls – Soak the soy curls in hot water for 20 minutes then ring the water out of them. Mince them and mix them with the rice, nutritional yeast, and parsley.
- Saute – Heat a drizzle of oil in a skillet and saute the onions until translucent. Add the garlic and pepper flakes. Cook until fragrant. Add cabbage and toss. Cook until it starts to caramelize.
- Add the tomatoes – Place the tomatoes in a bowl and crush by hand. Add ¾ of the tomatoes, smoked sea salt, and dill to the cabbage.
- Layer – Place half of the rice mixture as the first layer in a round casserole dish. Followed with half of the tomato mixture. Place dollops of sour cream and some dill on top. Repeat with the remaining rice and cabbage mixture.
- Bake – Cook at 400 degrees for up to 15 minutes. Remove and let sit for 10 minutes. Serve and enjoy!
Tips and Variations
- Storage – Store in a sealed container for 3-4 days or freeze it in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
- Reheating – Reheat from the fridge by using the oven or microwave. If reheating from the freezer, let thaw mostly before using the oven or microwave.
- Make it a soup or stew – If you fancy more of a soup/stew version make sure to try my Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Soup that features a mix of fresh cabbage and sauerkraut, it’s to die for delicious and comforting to the max.
- Use leftover rice – You can use any brown rice leftovers you have or just simply cook it for this recipe with a bay leaf and a pinch of salt. I happened to make a brown rice pilaf the other day with sautéed carrot and onion and ended up using that. It was perfect!
- Use all the tomatoes – If you used an extra large cabbage head or prefer your casserole more tomato-heavy, you can use the entire 28 oz can.
- Substitute the sour cream – Instead of the vegan sour cream, you can opt for some vegan cheese like smoked gouda or crumbles of vegan feta.
- Make it simpler – To make it easier, you can just toss together the rice and cabbage mixture and bake it with a layer of sour cream in between. Top it with more sour cream and dill when serving.
- Soy curls substitute – The ground meat in the classic recipe is replaced with chopped up, protein-loaded non-gmo Soy Curls, but if you want, you can replace it with tempeh or chopped up mushrooms. Even some store-bought, Italian, plant-based sausage would work well. Get creative.
- What to Serve with Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Casserole? As with any casserole recipe, this one is easy when it comes to choosing sides. I love to go with a nice crusty bread, garlic/tomato bruschetta, potato flatbread, or quinoa flatbread to help scoop up that wonderful filling.
- Can you Freeze Cooked Cabbage Roll Casserole? Yes, absolutely this casserole freezes super well and for quite a while, if stored properly. It’s best to store it in an airtight container that’s meant for the freezer. If you do, it can last up to 3 months and still taste amazing when reheated. I tend to let the casserole sit out to thaw a bit before heating it back up. Cooking it while still frozen can dry it out, so opt for cooking it as little as possible when reheating.
- Is Cabbage Good for You? Yes and yes, cabbage is known to literally be one of the healthiest foods on the planet, loaded with nutrients, antioxidants and low in calories. It gives your skin a nice glow and also helps with lowering the cholesterol and controlling blood sugar so load up on it in every form you can, from raw coleslaw to cooked to fermented, It’s good to make cabbage a a part of your daily life.
- Buy Soy Curls Here!
More Vegan Dinners:
- Vegan Mushroom Bourguignon
- Vegan Steak
- Kelp Noodle Salad
- Cherry Tomato Basil Pasta
- Vegan Unstuffed Pepper Soup
P.S. If you make this recipe please come back here to rate it snap a photo and tag me with #VeggieSociety on Instagram, it always makes my day!
Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Casserole
- 1 large green cabbage shredded or chopped
- 1 large yellow onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic grated
- 28 oz can San Marzano tomatoes
- 1.5 cups cooked brown rice any simple leftover rice will work here
- 1 cup soy curls
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup fresh dill
- 1/4 cup onion chives chopped
- 1/4 cup Italian parsley minced
- vegan sour cream
- smoked applewood sea salt to taste
- 12 oz tub vegan sour cream
WFPB Plantricious Cashew Cream (sour cream replacement)
- 1 cup raw cashew pieces
- 1/2 cup water
- Place the soy curls in bowl and cover with hot water for 20 minutes. Drain and wring out as much of the liquid as you can. Transfer to a food processor and pulse a few times until chopped up into smaller pieces. Alternatively you can use a cutting board and mince them up by hand into small pieces.
- Combine the minced soy curls with the cooked brown rice, nutritional yeast and parsley. Set aside.
- Preheat your largest skillet over medium heat and saute the onion in a drizzle of olive oil and pinch of salt until translucent and begins to get a little color. (Omit oil and use a splash of water to be WFPB + Plantricious complaint).
- Stir in the red pepper flakes and garlic and cook just until the garlic fragrant taking care not to burn it. Add the cabbage and give everything a toss. You might need to work in batches here or just wait for the cabbage to wilt before adding more.
- Sautee the cabbage until fully wilted and it begins to get a little color and caramelize at the edges, about 20+ minutes.
- Meanwhile transfer the San Marzano tomatoes to a bowl and use your hand to roughly crush. You want a thick puree with some tomato pieces throughout.
- Transfer 3/4 of the crushed tomatoes to the pan with the cabbage and stir to combine, reserve the rest for later use. Season to taste with smoked sea salt and stir in the fresh dill if using.
- In a 10 inch round casserole layer half of the cooked rice and soy curl mixture and top with half of the cabbage mix.
- Top the cabbage layer with dollops of sour cream (or you can use cashew cream for WFPB + Plantricious compliance) and sprinkle with the chives or more fresh dill.
- Layer the remaining rice mix and top with the rest of the cabbage.
- Preheat your oven to 400”F and bake the casserole for 12 to 15 minutes until the top layer of cabbage starts to caramelize at the edges to your liking.
- Remove from heat and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving topped with more vegans our cream or cashew cream, garnished with fresh dill or chives to your liking.
WFPB + Plantricious
- Omit oil and the vegan sour cream from the recipe and use a splash of water for sauteeing. Use the cashew cream recipe to make this dish WFPB + Plantricious complaint. To make the cream combine the cashews and water and blend in a powerful blender until silky smooth.
- Storage - Store in a sealed container for 3-4 days or freeze it in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
- Reheating - Reheat from the fridge by using the oven or microwave. If reheating from the freezer, let thaw mostly before using the oven or microwave.
- Make it a soup or stew - If you fancy more of a soup/stew version make sure to try my Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Soup that features a mix of fresh cabbage and sauerkraut.
- Use leftover rice - You can use any brown rice leftovers you have or just simply cook it for this recipe with a bay leaf and a pinch of salt. I happened to make a brown rice pilaf the other day with sautéed carrot and onion and ended up using that. It was perfect!
- Use all the tomatoes - If you used an extra large cabbage head or prefer your casserole more tomato-heavy, you can use the entire 28 oz can.
- Substitute the sour cream - Instead of the vegan sour cream, you can opt for some vegan cheese like smoked gouda or crumbles of vegan feta.
- Make it simpler - To make it easier, you can just toss together the rice and cabbage mixture and bake it with a layer of sour cream in between. Top it with more sour cream and dill when serving.
- Soy curls substitute - The ground meat in the classic recipe is replaced with chopped up, protein-loaded soy curls, but if you want, you can replace it with tempeh or chopped up mushrooms. Even some store-bought, Italian, plant-based sausage would work well. Get creative.
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