Instant Pot Cabbage Rolls Unstuffed
These unstuffed instant pot cabbage rolls taste exactly like my grandmother's without all the work! They're a breeze to make in about a third of the time. And just delish.
Servings (change as needed): 6 -8
- 2 teaspoon oil
- 1 pound lean ground beef (or ground chicken or turkey or plant-based meat substitute)
- 1 medium onion, yellow or sweet (about 2 1/2-3 cups chopped)
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped (3 tsp)
- 5 cups cabbage chopped (about a 2 lb cabbage)
- 1 medium carrot, diced small to ~1/4 inch
- 3 cups fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped (optional) to be added after pressure cooking
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or more to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 3 cups Tomato sauce I used Costco White Linen Marinara sauce
- 1 cup beef or chicken broth plus extra if too thick, particularly the next day
TURN ON SAUTÉ BUTTON ON INSTANT POT. Let it heat until it says HOT while you chop vegetables.
SAUTE: Add oil, then ground meat (or chicken). Saute until browned, about 3 minutes. Add onions and garlic. Saute another 2 minutes. Add cabbage, carrots and all seasonings. Stir well and saute 1 minute. Press CANCEL.
ADD LIQUIDS: Add broth and tomato sauce on top of vegetables and meat. DO NOT STIR.
SET PRESSURE COOKER: Place lid on top of instant pot and set valve to 'SEALING', then set PRESSURE OR MANUAL button on High for 5 minutes (use + or - buttons). The Instant Pot will take about 10 minutes to come to pressure depending on size of pot before it starts the 5 minute cooking process. When finished (it will beep), do an 8 minute natural release. Then quick release the remaining pressure by turning valve to VENT using a spoon (be careful as the steam may be quite strong from the pressure). When button drops, you can open the lid.
FINISH AND SERVE: Give the cabbage and beef mixture a good stir. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add baby spinach if desired and stir 1 minute until wilted. The unstuffed cabbage rolls will thicken upon standing and even more in the fridge. Serve in bowls (over white or brown rice if you like) with a dollop of sour cream or with crusty warm bread for dipping.
Make Ahead: This is a perfect make ahead recipe. It tastes even better on day 2 or more (it will keep for at least a week in the fridge). Store it in an airtight container. It also freezes well for 2-3 months.
Can you double the recipe? I would NOT suggest doubling the recipe if you have a 6 quart instant pot. If you have an 8 quart pot, you should be fine.
Adjustments for thickness: If too thin after cooking, select the sauté button and cook the cabbage rolls down for a few minutes until desired thickness. Another tablespoon of tomato paste may help as well. If too thick (and it will be the next day), add a bit of water or broth.
No Instant Pot? Use the stove top instead: Sauté meat, onions and veggies as per recipe above. Add seasonings, broth and tomato sauce. Heat to a boil. Cover, lower heat to simmer and simmer the unstuffed cabbage rolls for 30-40 minutes until cabbage and carrots are tender.
Nutrition values are estimates.
Calories: 193kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 47mg | Sodium: 1181mg | Potassium: 1012mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 3754IU | Vitamin C: 38mg | Calcium: 83mg | Iron: 4mg