Looking for real comfort food that uses fresh vegetables? You need to try our unstuffed cabbage casserole. It's a truly satisfying casserole--just like a hug!
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Unstuffed cabbage casserole is made with fresh produce, pantry staples and a few other easy-to-find ingredients. Here's what you need to make it.
- Shredded Cabbage: red or green
- Vidalia Onion: sauteed in butter
- White Sauce: butter, flour, salt, white pepper, whole milk, and mayo to make it creamier.
- Cheese: extra sharp cheddar, cream cheese
- Toppings: corn flakes, Ritz crackers, saltine crackers, bread crumbs, or pork rinds
How to Make
Gather all the ingredients for the casserole. Chop the veggies, then grate the cheddar cheese. To make your own white sauce, you'll need butter, flour, white pepper, salt, and whole milk.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan, then add the flour. Cook the roux for 2 to 3 minutes to get rid of the raw flour taste, then add the salt and pepper and cook for 30 seconds.
- Gradually pour in the milk, whisking between each addition so the white sauce doesn't become lumpy. Bring to a boil and cook until thickened, then take it off the heat.
3. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the sweet onion until it's soft and lightly browned, then remove the skillet from the heat.
4. Place the corn flakes in a zip-top bag and crush them with a rolling pin. You'll want 2 cups of crushed corn flakes.
5. Place 1 cup of crushed corn flakes on the bottom of the casserole dish. There's no need to butter the pan, as this recipe has plenty of butter already and it won't stick. Add the chopped red cabbage and sauteed onion on top of the crushed corn flakes, then pour ¼ cup of melted butter on top.
6. Once the white sauce has cooled a bit, stir in the ½ cup of mayo and spread it onto the casserole. If you are planning on adding cooked meat, this would be the step. Read about meat suggestions under pro tips below.
7. Sprinkle on the extra sharp white cheddar cheese. Toss the corn flakes in butter and sprinkle on top of the casserole. Bake uncovered at 350°F for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
8. Serve while the casserole is still warm as a side dish or a meatless main course.
This particular version of this casserole shouldn't be frozen because it contains white sauce and mayo, but it can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
The best way is to cut it into thin strips. Start by removing the loose leaves and cut off the stem, so the bottom is flat. Then, slice the head in half from top to bottom, then slice into quarters. Remove stem and core from each wedge with one diagonal cut. Place the flat part of the wedge on cutting board and slice it into thin strips. For shorter strips, cut in half horizontally.
This particular unstuffed cabbage casserole recipe is very versatile since it can be served as a side dish with a variety of main dish meats. Try it and other similar dishes with roasted pork, braised lamb, corned beef, roasted turkey, or kielbasa sausage.
It's always a good idea to wash fresh produce. The leaves are tight against each other so you may find it easier to wash after it's been cut. Simply place the cut pieces in a strainer and wash with fresh water.
Eastern European countries like to serve carrots and parsnips on the side with this vegetable, as they are two root vegetables that can grow well in their climate, and taste wonderful together. In the United States, it is more common to see mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes served alongside this dish.
Make ahead: Make this unstuffed cabbage casserole a day in advance until the end of step 3. Cover tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 350 F, combine the crushed corn flakes with melted butter, and sprinkle on top. Bake for 30 minutes.
- Want to add meat? Try crumbled bacon, shredded pork, spicy sausage, or browned ground beef.
- Want a different topping? Try breadcrumbs with Parmesan cheese, or crushed Ritz crackers.
- Want more substance? Add 2 cups of cooked rice.
- Don't want a white sauce? Try 1 ½ to 2 ½ cups warm heavy cream with paprika, sugar, and cayenne.
- Want more veggies? Try chopped celery and grated carrots.
- Want a cheesy white sauce? Stir in ½ cup Parmesan and add a dash of Worcestershire sauce.
- Want this more keto friendly? Replace the white sauce with sour cream, add cooked ground beef, grated cheese, cayenne and pork rinds.
- Like nuts? Add chopped walnuts to the topping.
- Want to try a different variety of cabbage? Use green or savoy.
- Like your vegetables soft and tender? Pre-cook the shredded cabbage with the onions for 10 minutes.
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Unstuffed Cabbage Casserole
For the White Sauce
- 4 tablespoons salted butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon white pepper
- 2 cups whole milk
For the Casserole
- 8 tablespoons salted butter
- 1 medium Vidalia onion, chopped
- 2 cups crushed corn flakes
- 4 cups shredded red cabbage
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup whole milk, optional
- 2 ½ cups extra sharp white cheddar, grated
Making the White Sauce
- Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Gradually whisk in the flour and let it cook 2-3 minutes, then sprinkle on the salt and pepper and let the spices bloom for 30 seconds.
- Pour in the milk a little at a time, whisking constantly.
- Turn up the heat just past medium and whisk until the sauce boils, reduce heat to medium low, and let the sauce thicken.
- Remove the white sauce from the heat. It will continue to thicken as it cools.
Making the Casserole
- Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a small skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook until lightly browned, roughly 7 minutes.
- Sprinkle half of the crushed corn flakes in the bottom of your casserole dish. Place all the shredded red cabbage next, followed by the cooked onion. Pour 4 tablespoons of the melted butter over the vegetables.
- Blend the mayo with the white sauce, adding more milk if it is too thick, then evenly pour the sauce over the vegetable mixture. Sprinkle the grated cheese on the top of the casserole.
- Mix the remaining 4 tablespoons of melted butter with the rest of the crushed corn flakes and sprinkle on top of the casserole.
- Bake uncovered for 30 minutes at 350 F or until golden on top.
- Use green or savoy cabbage to change up the color and texture.
- Pre-cook the shredded cabbage with the onions for 10 minutes to have soft and tender cabbage.
This recipe was originally published on August 24, 2017.