Lazy Cabbage Roll Casserole

Lazy Cabbage Roll Casserole

As much as I wanted my next stab at cabbage rolls to be another rolled variety with a different filling I decided to go lazy on you. I had a Twitter friend suggest doing lazy cabbage rolls and the idea has stuck with me ever since I originally posted this Buckwheat Cabbage Rolls recipe.

So here I am making a totally lazified version of cabbage rolls based on what I figured must go into a Lazy Cabbage Roll Casserole.

Most Lazy Cabbage Roll Casserole recipes out there contain ground meat, rice, shredded green cabbage, and tomato sauce. Really, it’s not unlike what goes into regular meat-and-rice-filled cabbage rolls, right? Deconstructed into a casserole dish and baked.

I decided my vegan version of Lazy Cabbage Roll Casserole needs a couple different things – some of it is to maximize the true laziness potential and some of it is because I want more than just rice … I want something to replace that ground meat and make it feel worth it.

I confess there was even one time that I used shredded coleslaw mix instead of shredding/grating a head of green cabbage. Talk about ultimate laziness, right? Sure there’s little bits of carrot and purple cabbage in those bags of coleslaw but the majority of the mix is green cabbage anyway.

Something different for this version of Lazy Cabbage Roll Casserole is that I also added some wine sauerkraut because I love the zippiness of sauerkraut and I think it does amazing things to this dish. Also, all you have to do is open a jar, drain it and dump it. Yes, extra lazy!

As far as a meat replacement I chose to do a beluga lentils that had been cooked in a rich beefy-flavored broth to add some depth to them. You can use green lentils cooked in broth or even use canned lentils if you’re into easy peasy.

I chose to make this recipe in the Ninja 3-in-1 Cooking System which I received free while attending IFBC in Portland this past summer. This recipe is ideal for the Ninja because it doesn’t require multiple pots and baking dishes. You can make the entire casserole in this one pan. I realize you don’t all have Ninja’s and that’s okay … I’ve provided the instructions for regular cooking methods too.

You can read more about what I think of the Ninja over here. But I’d like to talk a bit about it for cooking this particular recipe. It was my first thing I’d attempted in this thing and was kind of blown away by being able to fry onions in what appears to be a slow cooker. I know that sounds kind of lame. I got excited over frying onions. But really I was most excited about not having all the cooking happen in one place.

Look at me frying onions in the Ninja.

frying onions in the Ninja

add in the beluga lentils

And now look at me simmering broth and lentils in the Ninja!

add some 'beef' broth

And now watch as I am slow cooking in the Ninja.

cabbage, sauerkraut, and tomatoes

Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or vegan margarine
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1½ cups beluga lentils
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 "beef" bouillon cubes
  • 1½ cups uncooked rice
  • 1 medium head cabbage, shredded (about 8-10 cups)
  • 1 500ml jar wine sauerkraut, drained (2 cups)
  • 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 280z can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ tablespoon paprika
  1. Turn the Ninja cooker to 'Medium' on the 'Stove Top' setting.
  2. Melt vegan margarine. Add onions and garlic and saute about 2 minutes until they begin to soften.
  3. Add beluga lentils, first amount of water and bouillon cubes. Turn cooker to 'Low' and cover. Let simmer for 25 minutes to cook lentils.
  4. Add rice, shredded cabbage, sauerkraut, crushed and diced tomatoes, water and seasonings. Stir to combine.
  5. Turn the Ninja cooker to 'Low' on the 'Slow Cooker' setting. Set the timer to 6 hours. Stir every couple hours.


Traditional Cooking Instructions:

  1. Heat margarine in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and saute about 2 minutes until they begin to soften.
  2. Add lentils, water and bouillon cubes. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for 25 minutes until lentils are cooked.
  3. Transfer lentils to a slow cooker. Add rice, shredded cabbage, sauerkraut, crushed and diced tomatoes, seasonings and water. Stir to combine. Turn slow cooker on Low for 6 hours. Stir every couple hours.

Or … even better, why not win a Ninja for yourself and make this recipe in it!?

Win A Ninja 3-in-1 Cooking System!

Ninja 3-in-1 Cooking System

Thanks to the kind folks at Ninja I’m excited to be able to offer one Ninja 3-in-1 Cooking System for free to one of my readers! I’ll be drawing one winner and making the announcement here on the blog in early March, 2013..

You can have up to five (5) entries into this draw. Use the handy dandy Rafflecopter widget below to participate in this giveaway.

This draw is open to residents of the United States only. I am sorry fellow Canadians. I promise I’ll make it up to you.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. says

    This recipe looks so good & easy! I have one question. Does the Ninja cooker have a non stick cooking surface? Is it that non stick coating?
    I would prefer to use my stainless steel dutch oven or a casserole dish in the oven. I’m a weirdo who has gone back to less cancer causing substances in my cooking processes. I’ve eliminated plastics also. I’m such a fanatic, I know. (otherwise, the Ninja cooker looks like a cool tool).

    • says

      Hi Vicki,

      You’re not a weirdo at all. I’m the same way. It is a non-stick finish but I’ve been trying to find out what it’s made of. I haven’t heard back from the company yet on that. I am not a fan of non-stick generally either. In fact, if I think about it … this may be my only non-stick thing in my kitchen now. I also do not use plastics. So if you’re a weirdo then so am I! 😀

      You can definitely make this using a crockpot and I am sure it would work in the oven too. Just make sure your lentils are cooked before you bake it. I would bake it at 350F for maybe 35-45 minutes, just check on it as you’re cooking it. Enjoy!

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