Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls

Unstuffed Cabbage rolls casserole with tender pork lion bites – Polish style. Prepared with white (Dutch) cabbage in the oven, without the hassle of rolling. The perfect one pot dish is here.

Baked sweet cabbage with pork

Baked white (Dutch) cabbage with tender pork lion, topped with fresh ground black pepper. Our family enjoys this simple budget-friendly meal during colder fall and winter months – or whenever fresh cabbage is available. 

We love this simple family meal as it combines the sweet freshness of cooked cabbage, enhanced by fresh black pepper & topped with juicy pork meat bites.

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • White (Dutch) Cabbage – fresh. Substitute with sour cabbage or sauerkraut for a change of taste.
  • Pork loin – or other part of the animal that has some fat on it.
  • Tomatoes fire roasted tomatoes are perfect.
  • Onions – for sautéing
  • Oil – vegetable oil or even lard go well with this meal.
  • Spices: paprika, salt, black pepper, cumin and dried savory spice.


COOKING METHOD: One can either choose to make this meal entirely on stove top or saute ingredients and then bake in the oven. I’ve found that a combination of stove top cooking and subsequent short baking provides the best results – in terms of time saving and taste. Nevertheless, my grandmother used to cook this meal on the stove top entirely. Personally, I love having that ”baked ” touch to the meal, therefore I apply a combination of the two methods.  At the end, it’s generally up to ones preferences. 

MEAT: Depending on where you source pork meat from, pork lion can sometimes become try to the taste. Therefore, one can better choose pork meat parts with fat on (like pork chops). When cut in pieces pork fat dissolves in the cooking process, providing even richer taste to cabbage. 

VEGAN (MEATLESS): If one’s looking for savory cabbage recipe, made with fresh white cabbage that is also vegan – simply omit adding any meat and cook as usual. This meal is absolutely delicious either way. 

WHITE CABBAGE AS SIDE MEAL: If you choose to cook white cabbage (or sauerkraut) without the meat, then this meal turns to a wonderful side meal to any roast. 

SEASONAL: Last but not least, this recipe can easily be adapted to use sauerkraut in spite of fresh white Dutch cabbage. We, usually make the fresh version whenever white cabbage is in season  (usually during fall/winter months). 

Vegetarian / Vegan white Cabbage recipe suitable for roast dinner


Baked Cabbage Stew with tender pork and delicious tomatoes. Firstly boiled, then baked this cabbage stew recipe is tender and delicious. Can be prepared vegan too.

Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls with Pork

The European Dish
Simple unstuffed cabbage rolls with tender pork pieces baked in the oven. Easy recipe with fresh or sour cabbage (fermented cabbage), farm pork meat and a handful of spices.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Eastern, European
Servings 6 people


  • 1 (approx. 3-4 pounds/2 kg) white Dutch cabbage core removed & finely chopped
  • 1 lb. (500g) pork lion, cut in small pieces
  • 2 onions cleaned & minced
  • 1 can tomatoes (or 2-3 fresh tomatoes)
  • 4 tbsp. vegetable oil (or lard)
  • 1 tsp. sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1 tsp. dried savory spice optional
  • fresh ground black pepper (to taste)
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup water or more as needed


  • Wash cabbage under cold water. Then remove core and cut the rest in small strips. Then in a large mixing bowl sprinkle some salt and squish shredded cabbage until it reduces it size in half. All salt should be used for squishing the cabbage (see tips above).
  • In a large sauce pan add chopped onion and vegetable oil. Saute until onion becomes soft. Then add tomatoes, paprika, cumin and mint. Add pork lion (previously chopped into small pieces) and saute for 5-10 min until meat changes color.
  • Then add previously shredded & squished cabbage and water and bring to a boil. Cook on stove top until cabbage and meat are almost cooked. Then transfer into large baking pan and bake for about 10 min on 350 F/180C (or until cabbage starts to get brownish on top).
  • Serve warm and sprinkle some fresh ground black pepper on top.


Head over recipe to see best tips on how to cook this meal. 
Keyword farm pork, fermented cabbage, sour cabbage, unstuffed cabbage rolls
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1 Comment

  1. jess
    March 25, 2022 / 12:49 pm

    5 stars
    Made this for dinner tonight. Simple and delicious. Hubby was skeptical but loved it too.

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