one pot cabbage rolls (keto unstuffed lazy version)

I’m all about easy one pot meals, and I love cabbage rolls. So when I stepped upon this unstuffed lazy version I knew i have to make it. You know these days when you absolutely cannot be bothered spending more time in the kitchen than it’s absolutely necessary. Or you simply don’t have enough time to properly cook, but you still like to eat something homemade?

This lazy one pot unstuffed cabbage roll are perfect for these kind of days. What’s even better – it’s low carb, because we swap rice with cauliflower. All preparations will take you less than 30 minutes, than you just leave it on a small heat stirring it occasionally. Or you can pop all ingredients to a slow cooker (although it’s nice to fry the onion and meat first) and let it cook slowly without your attention.

This one pot unstuffed cabbage roll is full of flavour, aromatic, if you like it more on a spicy side, you can add some cayenne pepper or couple splashes of sriracha – Thai sauce made of mashed chilli peppers with garlic, vinegar, sugar and salt. Warm and hearty meal you can make even on a busy day and have for your lunch or dinner.

one pot cabbage rolls

(keto unstuffed lazy version)


  • 1 small white cabbage
  • 500 g pork (or beef) mince
  • 1 large white onion
  • 1 small cauliflower
  • about 500 ml tomato passata
  • salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika powder
  • 1-2 chopped garlic cloves
  • dried or fresh parsley for garnish
  • 1 tbsp butter


Finely chop onion, heat a large frying pan adding 1 tablespoon of butter. Fry onion until gold, than add minced meat, salt pepper and sweet paprika powder. Fry on a medium to high heat until meat becomes greyish – brown and won’t be raw any more.

In the meantime, chop your cabbage, it doesn’t need to be chopped in any particular way – should be quick and easy though. Also finely chop a cauliflower, you can also use a food processor if you have it on hand. I just chopped it in small pieces using a large knife.

When meat is ready add chopped garlic, cabbage and cauliflower. I used a large non stick pot to fry meat and onion, so I just added veggies to it. If you don’t have a pot like that transfer fried meat to a regular pot and add veggies. You need to be able to cover it with lid, to simmer gently. Also add passata, give it a good stir and cover the pot with lid lowering the heat so it will simmer slowly. Stir every now and then, keeping an eye it not burning on the bottom of the pot.

Cook until cabbage will become as tender as you like it. You can make it almost overcooked, or firm and crunchy. Add some more salt and pepper if needed, at the end garnish with parsley.

You can easily prepare this meal also using a slow cooker.


Finely chop onion, heat a large frying pan adding 1 tablespoon of butter. Fry onion until gold, than add minced meat, salt pepper and sweet paprika powder. Fry on a medium to high heat until meat becomes greyish – brown and won’t be raw any more.

In the meantime, chop your cabbage, it doesn’t need to be chopped in any particular way – should be quick and easy though. Also finely chop a cauliflower, you can also use a food processor if you have it on hand. I just chopped it in small pieces using a large knife.

When meat is ready, transfer it to a slow cooker, add chopped garlic, cauliflower and cabbage sprinkle with some more salt and pepper, pour over tomato passata and about 100ml of water. Give it a good stir and set up your slow cooker on “low” for about 4 hours. After 2 hours give it a good stir and check if it needs any additional seasoning.

Serve hot garnished with some parsley.


slowly cooked vegan cabbage rolls

This recipe was a total improvisation and actually it was made in the process of cooking. My idea was to make cabbage rolls with Quorn mince, because I wasn’t very keen to make cabbage rolls with pork or beef mince (pork mince cabbage rolls recipe). Don’t get me wrong, I love traditional cabbage rolls with mix of pork mince and rice or barley with delicious, creamy tomato sauce. But since we don’t have any barley or rice, that gives the roll this juicy gluey consistency, adding just meat sounded boring. So I wanted to make something more juicy and Quorn mince was a great idea. To make it less boring while frying the mince with mushrooms and onion, I decided to add some grated carrot. When all that was mixed I came up with the idea that addition of linseeds would make the filling more gluey, like when you add barley. And because my linseed jar stands next to the sunflower seeds I grabbed a handful of them as well.

To finish and add extra flavour added couple dried cep mushrooms – they have beautiful aroma and always add extra season to all mushroom dishes. And you just need a couple pieces to bring the wonderful mushroom flavour. If you don’t have cep mushrooms, you can use porcini mushrooms.

For the cabbage I used spring greens, as they have quite large leaves. Young white cabbage with outer looser leaves will also work great and savoy cabbage is very good as well if you find a big one.

Instead of cooking them on the stove I decided to gently cook them in the slow cooker and it was a really good idea. They were not overcooked, kept it’s shape and all the falvours came through. The filling was juicy, delicate and fulfilling. Don’t expect them to have strong flavour, they are gently spiced, so you can feel the taste of each ingredient. I like more gentle tastes, so for me they are delicious. My partner who loves spicy food and stronger flavours found it a bit too delicate for him, but still really tasty.

Because we like cabbage rolls with some sort of sauce, I used remains of liquid (full of cep mushroom aroma) to make the creamy sauce. I used extra thick double cream, because we don’t mind dairy. But if you want to stick with vegan option, simply add coconut cream or coconut milk. Add some extra salt and pepper if needed and you have delicious and flavoursome wild mushroom sauce.

I will definitely repeat this recipe more times. Even though preparations are a little bit more time consuming, the outcome is good enough to spend some time in the kitchen. I highly encourage you to try this cabbage rolls even if you’re not vegan.

slowly cooked vegan cabbage rolls

INGREDIENTS (for about 12 rolls):

  • 500g no meat mince (Quorn mince in my case but you can also use soya mince)
  • 1 brown onion
  • about 150g white mushrooms
  • 2 medium carrots
  • large leaf spring greens or other cabbage with quite large leaves
  • couple dried pieces of wild cep mushrooms (other dried wild mushrooms will be also very good)
  • natural rock salt and coarse pepper to taste
  • good pinch of sweet paprika powder
  • pinch of garlic granules
  • handful of linseeds
  • handful of sunflower seeds
  • little bit of olive oil or butter for non vegan option


If you use dried wild mushrooms it is the best option to soak them in a small amount of water over the night or at least couple hours before you start preparing cabbage rolls. They need quite a long time to become soft and soaking is the best thing to do.

First prepare the filling. On a large pan heat a small amount of olive oil, finely chop onion and fry until golden. Rinse or peel white mushrooms and also chop and add to onion. Fry until they become soft. Next add mince. I used frozen Quorn mince. I you use soya mince just pop it into a pan with a little bit of water, so it will soak it and become soft. Add all the spices: salt, pepper, sweet paprika, garlic. Let it fry slowly for couple minutes, stir it from time to time. Then switch of the heat and let it sit for a while to cool down slightly.

In the meantime take a large pot (big enough to fit cabbage leaves) and boil some water. Break of the biggest leaves from the spring greens and rinse them thoroughly under running water to get rid of remains of soil. Now place 2-3 leaves in a boiling water, cover the pot with lid and wait 2-3 minutes until leaves become soft but still firm. Don’t cook them for too long because they will break and you won’t be able to pack them with filling and roll them. Gently remove them from the pot and place on the drainer to cool down. Do the same with the rest of cabbage leaves. I had about 12 leaves.

When the leaves are cooling down, finish with the filling. Peel and grate carrots and add them to mince. Also ad a handful of linseeds and a handful of sunflower seeds. Give it a good stir, so all the ingredients combines.

Prepare a slow cooker by placing a little bit of olive oil on the bottom (or slice of butter in my case) and adding soaked wild mushrooms with the water they’ve been soaking in.

Take a large cutting board and place a cabbage leaf (If the stem of the leaf is a bit to stiff and hard, just slice it off to make it thinner and flat), put 2 heaped tablespoons of filling (more or less depending how big your leaves are), fold the sides of the leaf and start rolling. Try to be gentle but also roll them tight. Place the roll in a slow cooker. Do exactly the same with the rest of the leaves, placing the rolls in the slow cooker. Add some water (or veggie broth if you have on hand) lust enough to cover the first layer of rolls. Season with an extra pinch of salt.

Set the slow cooker on “low” and cook for 3 hours. Cabbage rolls are ready to be eaten. Take them gently from a slow cooker and serve. Leftovers of liquid will be a great base for sauce, especially that it’s full of delicious wild mushroom flavour. Simply pour it to a saucepan and add coconut cream or coconut milk, or if you like me don’t mind dairy, add extra thick double cream. Slowly and carefully heat and pour over cabbage rolls.

You can freeze them (without creamy sauce), but keep in mind that each time you’ll reheat them cabbage will get softer and more prone to break. So it’s the best not to reheat them many times. Spring greens have quite gentle leaves, white cabbage will be a little bit stronger.


keto cabbage rolls

Oh that’s one of my favorite! Cabbage rolls. Traditionally made with pork mince and rice or barley, and kind of tomato bechamel sauce. Here adjusted to the keto diet, but still delicious.


I always serve them with tomato sauce, the best when the sauce takes the flavor from the cabbage, melts together perfectly. They are more time consuming and not the easiest, if you don’t have practice. But you can double the portion and freeze some of them for later.

The key here is the cabbage. Traditionally we use white cabbage. The best is the young, spring one, where the leaves are not very tight. UK’s supermarket white cabbage is not the best for that, because it’s very small and tight as hell. That’s why I usually use savoy cabbage, leaves are more loose and soft. You could actually use any kind of cabbage, that has big enough leaves to roll the stuffing. Try both ways and choose whatever is best for you.

You can take off the leaves and simmer them one by one, as I always do, or cook the whole cabbage, set it to cool down and then take off the leaves. I always choose the first option, I feel like it’s quicker and easier. At least for me.

And of course you can go wild with the stuffing (not that wild on keto though). You can mix meat with some wild mushrooms, add some broccoli or cauliflower “rice”, or other veggies allowed on keto diet. I used here what I had in my fridge – onions, mushrooms and peppers, always goes good together.

Did you know that cabbage is full of vitamin C (great antioxidant) and K (responsible for clotting the blood)? Other nutrients as well. And like the other cruciferous vegetables, helps to reduce inflammation in your body. It’s full of fiber, so it’s good for your digestion. Helps also to grow friendly bacteria to protect your immune system. Isn’t this great? So even if you are a little bit bored with cabbage on keto diet, try to smuggle it anyway to your meals.


keto cabbage rolls

INGREDIENTS (for about 12 rolls, but it depends of the size of leafs):

  • savoy cabbage or white cabbage (1 or 2, depends of the size)
  • 500 g good quality pork mince
  • 1 yellow or red pepper
  • 1 onion
  • few mushrooms
  • salt to taste
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 tbsp clarified butter or other fat like goose or duck or olive oil
  • about 500 ml beef broth or other bouillon

Also for the sauce you will need:

  • about 250 ml of passata or couple spoons of tomato paste
  • coconut milk
  • little bit of coconut flour to thicken the sauce if desired


Let’s start with cabbage. If you use savoy cabbage, take off the biggest leaves, as many as you can. Boil some water in a pot and simmer the leaves for 2-3 minutes (you can put two or thee at once). They should be half done. Tender enough to roll easily but al dente, so they won’t torn. If you use white cabbage you might need to cook it for some time – you put whole cabbage to hot water and simmer until it gets soft enough to take the leaves off. Sometimes if the cabbage is not very tight, leaves goes off more easily without cooking. So you need to choose the best method for what you’re working with.

After cooking let the cabbage to cool for a while. In the meantime prepare the stuffing.

Use 1 tbsp of fat to stir fry onion, pepper, add mushrooms. All finely chopped. At the end add chopped garlic. Let it to cool for a moment so you won’t burn yourself. Mix all veggies with pork mince, add some salt and pepper.

Now it’s time to roll. I always cut off the top of the thick nerves of the cabbage, so they become more flat and easy to roll. Put the leaf flat and cut off the top of the nerve, parallel to the leaf. Than put portion of stuffing at the end of the leaf where the nerve starts (you have to adjust the amount to a size of your leaf) and roll as you roll a wrap or burrito. So roll the bottom, where you’ve put the stuffing, then fold the sides and roll the rest. Do it quite tight, but gentle not to break the cabbage. Do the same with all the cabbage leaves and all the stuffing.

Take a large pot or a deep pan, would be great if it would be a non stick. Melt the second spoon of fat. Put all your cabbage rolls, ideally next to each other. Then fry them slightly on both sides.

Pour the broth, so it covers the rolls and cover the pot with a lid. Simmer on a very small heat for about 30 to 50 minutes – depends of the size of the rolls. Add some passata (or tomato paste) and give it another 10 minutes. At the end add some coconut milk, and if you like the sauce to be more on a thick side, add one or two teaspoons of coconut flour.

For me the best tastes reheated, when sauce gets the flavor from cabbage. Enjoy!