01 October 2009

The Best Cabbage Recipe Ever

I love this time of year. I love wearing long-sleeved shirts and warm layers. I love the chill in the air and the change in the leaves. I love turning the oven on and not the air conditioner. Which is why I want to share with you the best cabbage casserole recipe I have ever tasted.

Now I would not categorize myself as a fan of cabbage. When I think of cabbage, I usually think of coleslaw. If my Mom or a friend served it, I would eat coleslaw as a compliment to the chef, but I never buy it from the store or make it at home. It never sounds appealing to me. I like cabbage in a tomato-based vegetable soup once in a while, or in a church potluck casserole, but it has never been a regular item on my shopping list.

But every now and then, my 80-something neighbor will bring me half a head of cabbage because it is just too much for her and her brother to eat. And since I hate wasting food and since we have lots of mouths to feed, I decided to find something to do with all this cabbage we keep getting. So I found this recipe online. I don't know how I found the website, and I'm not a regular reader of it, but I like to give credit where credit is due. I have cooked it numerous times with different alterations to the recipe, and every time I make it I get compliments galore and kids asking for extra helpings. While I will post the recipe as it written, at the end I will leave my remarks for what I did to tweak it to our preferences.

This recipe was found on 12/11/08 at www.willowmanor.blogspot.com

Blackstreet's Cabbage Roll Casserole

3 cups chopped cabbage (I used coarsely shredded with carrots)
1/2 cup brown rice (I used 2 cups cooked rice)
2 onions chopped
1 lb ground meat (I used ground turkey)
1 large leek chopped (optional)
1 large can of diced tomatoes
1 cup of chicken broth
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. Italian blend seasoning
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
a good pinch freshly ground nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste (optional)

Saute onions (and leek) in a bit of oil until translucent, remove
from pan and put aside. Brown meat in the same pan, add brown
sugar and spices. Stir until sugar melts, add tomatoes, raw cabbage
and raw rice, onions and leeks. Stir until everything is mixed well
and pile into a large casserole.* Pour chicken broth into all the
nooks and crannies. Cover tightly and bake in a 350 oven for 30 to
40 minutes until bubbly and cabbage is tender, but not mushy.

*(I layered the ingredients in the pan in this order: meat, onions
and leeks, rice, tomatoes and cabbage. A doubled recipe fills a
13 x 9 inch pan.)

Merrilee’s recipe tips:

  • I prefer to cook the rice separately on the stove and spoon the casserole over it on the plate when serving. (I’ve never had great success cooking rice in the oven.)
  • Because I don’t bake the rice in the casserole, the cup of broth can be eliminated. However, if you use a lot of cabbage, the extra liquid might help it cook without drying out, so use your best judgment and experiment with it.
  • The recipe calls for ground meat. I have used ground turkey, diced ham, and even a can of black beans for the meat, and each time we loved it. (The secret is in the brown sugar and spices, I think!)
  • I never measure anything for this recipe; it’s all to-taste and whatever is on hand.
Enjoy the season!


  1. Hi Merrilee! So glad to hear you are enjoying this recipe. Now that the cooler temps are back, it's time to use the oven again.

  2. Thanks again for posting this recipe, Willow.

    I forgot to mention that I don't go to the trouble of layering everything in the casserole dish, either. It probably would taste even better if I did this, because it would look as beautiful as the picture on your website! And good food tastes even better when it looks good. But I love it anyway!

  3. Elizabeth Vanderzee03 October, 2009

    Oven is broken, but as soon as new one is bought will try it! I love the chill too, you know me, I'm hot lol I love sweaters and layers too! God Bless You1

  4. Elizabeth Vanderzee03 October, 2009

    Oh and check out www.recipezaar.com for more cabbage recipes or other ones

  5. Elizabeth, sorry to hear about your oven. I hope it gets fixed or replaced soon; I know how much you enjoy using it! And you told me about recipezaar last year I think. I have it on my bookmarks bar and use it regularly to find all kinds of recipes. Thank you for that!