December Slow-Cooker Recipe: “Deconstructed” Stuffed Cabbage Stew

stuffed cabbage soup3I love stuffed cabbbage, but who has the time for all that blanching, stuffing, rolling, saucing…? This is my go-to slow cooker recipe for stuffed cabbage taste without all the fuss. 

You might remember we featured a chicken recipe from my latest book right here on AFH last spring. This stew recipe is also from my book, “Everyday Gluten-Free Slow Cooking.” Shameless self-promotion time: The book is  available on Amazon, and makes a nice gift—even for those who don’t care about gluten at all! Ok, that was the last plug for the book!Everyday  Gluten Free Slow Cooking cookbook

Now for a little info about the recipe:  This one takes just a little bit of time up front because the meat is cooked before adding it to the crock (see the note on this below). Other than that it comes together quickly and easily. After all, what’s the point of using a slow cooker if it doesn’t make your life easier? This month is a good time to get your machine out of the closet and use it to provide yourself with healthful meals that don’t need tending—leaving you more time to shop, socialize, work, decorate for the holiday, or get some stress-relieving exercise. Put this recipe together and stuffed cabbage stew will be ready and waiting at the end of the day when you’re famished and need a bowl of comfort food. Enjoy!

(Note, slow cooker recipes that use ground meat require the meat to be cooked first to avoid a greasy end product. I use ground beef for the flavor it provides to the dish, but feel free to substitute a combination of ground turkey and ground beef, or use all turkey if you like.)

“Deconstructed” Stuffed Cabbage Stew

Makes 8 servings (about 1 1/4 cups each)

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/4 pounds lean ground beef (at least 90% lean)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 (28-oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp beef bouillon (check if gluten-free if it matters to you)*
  • 1 Tbsp sugar (optional)
  • 1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp tabasco
  • 1/2 head cabbage (about 1 1/2 pounds), chopped
  • 3/4 cup brown rice (not cooked)
  • 1 (32-oz) pkg beef broth (I use Pacific Natural Foods brand)
  • shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)

Stuffed cabbage soup1. Warm the oil in a medium stock pot over medium heat. Add the beef and onion; cook until onion is soft and meat is browned throughout, about 8 minutes. Drain off the fat. Stir in the tomatoes, bouillon, sugar, Italian seasoning, garlic, pepper and Tabasco; mix well and set aside.

2. Place the chopped cabbage in the slow cooker crock. Sprinkle the rice over the cabbage. Spread the beef mixture over the rice (see photo at left); do not stir. Pour the beef broth over all; do not stir.

3. Cover and cook 8 hours on LOW (4 hours on HIGH). Stir the soup well before serving. Garnish each portion with shredded Parmesan, if desired.

* I’m assuming that not everyone who reads this will care about gluten, but if you do, be sure to check labels on things like broth and bouillon to make sure they are indeed gluten-free.


  1. Elizabeth says

    Thank you! My husband loves cabbage, cabbage soup, etc. He’s a truck driver and will even take a head of cabbage in the semi and cut it into slices and eat it like chips. I will definitely be making this for him.

  2. Jim K. says

    Your right. Stuffed cabbage is alot of work but well worth it. This is a great alternative, plus with the slow cooker, everything meshes together really nice.

  3. says

    Recipe LOOKS nice. But your print option printed it as 8 pages long! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE adjust that software so we can just print the recipe – which would have been under pages. I didn’t need the link of links to the @#$^ archives, the links to ‘contact us’ the list of ‘recent comments’ on OTHER posts, etc.

  4. Kathleen Conner says

    Hi–I love your blog. I just wanted to agree with Fern Miller–I want to make this, but am having to copy-paste to make something printable. Thanks!

  5. Anonymous says

    I don’t think this tastes like piggies at all….I did use Turkey maybe that’s why…it is delicious but not a piggie to me

Leave a Reply