Deconstructed Cabbage Rolls (for the smashers, choppers, mooshers and squishers)

All of the flavour of a cabbage roll with none of the...uh...roll.
All of the flavour of a cabbage roll with none of the…uh…roll.

My Polish/Ukranian heritage has planted in me a deep-seated love for cabbage rolls (holubchi)– but my hand-eye coordination in the kitchen leaves me better suited for smashing with reckless abandon than to delicately rolling “little pigeons”. So, for the smashers, choppers, mooshers and squishers, I present this delicious (and low-cal) “deconstructed” cabbage roll recipe.


  • 2 tsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 lb extra lean ground turkey or extra lean ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 head green cabbage & 1/2 head of purple cabbage, coarsely chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 & 1/2 jar of tomato sauce, low sodium & low sugar
  • 2 cups low-fat mozzarella/vegan cheese (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a large glass casserole dish with non-stick spray.
  2. Heat 1 tsp of olive oil in a large pan, add the cabbage and cook over medium-high heat until the cabbage is wilted and about half cooked, turning it over several times so it all wilts and cooks. Season with salt and fresh-ground black pepper. Remove and set aside.
  3. In a large frying pan on medium heat add 1 tsp olive oil, chopped onion and cook over medium heat until the onion is translucent and starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic, dried thyme, and paprika and cook about 2 minutes more. Then add the ground turkey and cook until it’s browned and cooked through. Add in the tomato sauce and simmer until it’s hot and slightly thickened, about 5-8 minutes.
  4. In the casserole dish, layer the cabbage mixture on the bottom and then meat mixture on top of the cabbage. Cover tightly with foil and bake 40 minutes, or until the mixture is just starting to bubble on the edges.
  5. Remove foil and sprinkle on cheese (if using). Bake uncovered an additional 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and starting to slightly brown.

Serve over brown rice.

Serves 4: 423 calories (with cheese and ½ cup brown rice), 254 calories (no cheese/rice)

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