Smoky Unstuffed Cabbage


When I was home in Michigan last week, my mom made unstuffed cabbage for a family dinner one evening. Everyone raved about it and I really enjoyed it too. In fact, most of us even went for seconds! I think what surprised me most about this meal was the fact that I’d never made it before! I don’t know why it never crossed my mind, especially since it’s way easier than stuffing cabbage leaves with meat (only to tear the leaves and have them fall apart).

Anyway, I decided to make my own variation when I got back to Portland. I made a smoky version by adding bacon and fire roasted tomatoes, and tweaked a few other things as well. It turned out mighty tasty and even though I like the recipe my mom made, it’s fun to come up with a new twist.

Smoky Unstuffed Cabbage


  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 strips quality pork bacon, chopped
  • 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 heaping Tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 14.5 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 4 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 Tbsp bone broth or low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 medium head green cabbage, chopped


  1. Add the chopped bacon to a large pan over medium heat. After a minute, add the onion, garlic and celery. Continue to cook for a few minutes.
  2. Next, add the ground beef and break up the meat with a spatula. Add the dried parsley and season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Continue to cook for 5-7 minutes or until meat is browned and cooked through.
  3. Add the fire roasted tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir over medium-low heat. Once mixed through, remove from heat and pour mixture into the slow cooker. Top with chopped cabbage and then pour the bone broth on top. Add more sea salt and pepper to taste, if desired.
  4. Cook on low for 6 hours or until cabbage is soft.
  5. Serve in bowls by itself or over mashed cauliflower. Also, as a treat, pair it with homemade almond flour biscuits.

9 thoughts on “Smoky Unstuffed Cabbage

  1. Craving4More September 18, 2013 / 4:41 pm

    Yum! Looks great. I love cabbage so much. I feel like it’s an often misunderstood brassica. Poor cabbage – we need to continue to promote – it’s not just for sauerkraut 🙂

    • paleoinpdx September 18, 2013 / 8:50 pm

      I completely agree and am also a huge cabbage lover! Red, green, savoy…they’re all good. I even had grilled cabbage when I was home…so delicious!

  2. Kari September 18, 2013 / 6:12 pm

    I am going to try this one! Thank you!

  3. shaneatkinson82 September 19, 2013 / 11:01 am

    I, as a man, hate to say this out loud but will. “Pinned” to my wife’s board of course. Looking forward to seeing if she makes this look and taste as good as the pic.

    • paleoinpdx September 19, 2013 / 2:12 pm

      Nah, you don’t need to be ashamed of that! I’m sure your wife appreciates it anyway 😉 The recipe is easy, so I’m sure she won’t have a problem making it look and taste good!

  4. Paula September 23, 2013 / 4:46 pm

    I made this over the weekend after my neighbor gave me a huge hunk of cabbage–so easy and REALLY delicious! I let a lot of the liquid cook out and then served it in an acorn squash (that might sound a little weird, but it tasted good together…..and I was out of cauliflower)!

    • paleoinpdx September 23, 2013 / 6:32 pm

      What a great idea to serve it in an acorn squash! I love winter squash, so it doesn’t seem weird to me. I think I’ll have to try it that way next time. Thanks for the idea and for trying out the recipe! Glad you enjoyed it!

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