These unstuffed cabbage rolls take the classic stuffed cabbage recipe and make it easy enough for a weeknight dinner! No rolling needed, just cook cabbage, rice, plant-based ground beef, seasonings, and tomato sauce in a single skillet.
Unstuffed cabbage rolls are a great alternative to traditional stuffed cabbage rolls. They are so much easier to make because they don’t require any rolling or stuffing the cabbage leaves. They also save you time in the kitchen because all the ingredients can be combined and cooked together at once—yep, this is a one-pan recipe!
The vegan unstuffed cabbage roll recipe is packed with all the familiar stuffed cabbage flavours you love, minus the meat. Instead, we swap in vegan ground beef crumbles; they do a great job soaking up all the seasonings and sauce, along with the rice.
Because there’s no need to boil cabbage leaves or cook a separate filling, this vegan unstuffed cabbage rolls recipe comes together seriously fast, and with minimal effort. You’ll have a hearty, healthy, flavourful dinner ready in under an hour—and most of that time is hands-off! When it comes to easy vegan meal ideas, it doesn’t get much better than this, friends.
Notes on Ingredients
Scroll down to the recipe card to find the ingredient quantities and recipe instructions.
- Olive oil
- Sweet or yellow onion
- Vegan ground beef crumbles – I used Gardein crumbles; if you’re using frozen, thaw them first.
- Paprika – Sweet paprika is best, but smoked paprika will add a subtle smoky flavour, which is tasty too.
- Dried thyme
- Black pepper
- Golden raisins – These are optional, but they add a nice contrast with the savoury flavours in this recipe.
- White or brown rice
- Vegetable broth or water – You can use store-bought or homemade vegetable broth.
- Crushed tomatoes
- Green cabbage
- Vegan sour cream – This is an optional topping; plain vegan yogurt can be used instead.
What Kind of Cabbage Do You Use for Cabbage Rolls?
For traditional cabbage rolls, you’d always use green cabbage. That’s also what I use for these vegan unstuffed cabbage rolls. That said, because the cabbage leaves aren’t being stuffed, you can use a different type of cabbage; savoy would work, but I don’t recommend red cabbage, as the colour of the finished dish may be unappetizing.
How to Make Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls
Ready for a satisfying plant-based dinner? Here’s what you’ll need to do.
Cook the aromatics. Heat the oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven set over medium heat. Cook the onion for about 5 minutes, or until it’s softened. Add the garlic and cook for about a minute, or until it’s fragrant.
Add the rest of the ingredients. Stir in the vegan ground beef, oregano, salt, paprika, dried thyme, and black pepper. Then, add the raisins, rice, broth or water, crushed tomatoes, and cabbage; stir to combine.
Simmer. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 30 to 35 minutes minutes, or until the cabbage and rice are tender, stirring occasionally.
Serve. Divide the vegan unstuffed cabbage into bowls and serve with a dollop of vegan sour cream.
Tips for Success
This vegan unstuffed cabbage roll recipe is easy as can be, but these additional tips will help you make sure it turns out perfect.
- Start with a large skillet. If you don’t have one, use a Dutch oven. You’ll need a large enough pot so that the ingredients can fit comfortably and have room to be stirred without making a mess.
- Add more liquid if needed. The rice will soak up the broth or water, so check the skillet occasionally; if you notice it seems dry, stir in a bit more liquid.
- Add a pinch of sugar. Stuffed cabbage rolls have a bit of sweetness to them; if you’re not using the raisins, you might want to add a pinch or two of white or brown sugar to cut some of the acid from the tomatoes.
Here’s some inspiration to help you put your own spin on this vegan unstuffed cabbage recipe.
- Make this recipe more budget-friendly by swapping the vegan ground beef with cooked lentils. Stir them in a few minutes before the cooking time is done.
- Add some diced bell peppers or mushrooms for extra flavor and nutrition.
- If you’d like to make these vegan unstuffed cabbage rolls spicier, add a pinch of red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, or your favorite hot sauce.
This vegan unstuffed cabbage rolls recipe is a meal on its own, but you can round things out by serving it with vegan cornbread or vegan buttermilk biscuits, which are perfect for soaking up the tomato sauce at the bottom of the bowl!
How to Store Leftovers
Leftover vegan unstuffed cabbage rolls can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. You can reheat this dish in the microwave or in a skillet over medium-low heat.
Can This Recipe Be Frozen?
Yes, you can freeze vegan unstuffed cabbage rolls for up to 3 months; store leftovers in a freezer bag or freezer-safe airtight container. Let them thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then reheat in the microwave or in a skillet.
Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls
- 1 tablespoon olive oil 14 grams
- 1 medium sweet or yellow onion diced (approximately 2 cups or 250 grams)
- 3 garlic cloves minced (1 tablespoon or 8 grams)
- 1 13.7 ounce bag vegan ground beef crumbles, dethawed (I used the Ground Be’f by Gardein) 390 grams
- 1 1/2 teaspoon oregano 1 gram
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt 10 grams
- 1 teaspoon paprika 2 grams
- 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme 1 gram
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 1 gram
- 1/4 cup golden raisins optional, 40 grams
- 2/3 cup white or brown rice uncooked, 125 grams
- 2 cups vegetable broth or water 480 grams
- 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes 794 grams
- 1 small green cabbage core removed and chopped (approximately 6 cups or 535 grams)
- Vegan Sour Cream for serving optional
- In a large skillet or dutch oven pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Cook onion until softened (approximately 5 minutes).
- Add garlic and cook until fragrant (approximately 1 minute).
- Stir in vegan ground beef crumbles, oregano, salt, paprika, dried thyme, and black pepper.
- Add the raisins, uncooked rice, broth or water, crushed tomatoes, and cabbage, and mix to combine.
- Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer covered for 30 – 35 minutes min until the cabbage and rice are tender. Stir every few minutes while simmering. Serve with vegan sour cream if preferred.