Italian Beef & Cabbage

We’ve been eating this every winter for years.

I don’t remember where the original idea for the recipe came from, probably a ‘Ground Beef Cookbook’.

In the U.S. I used the traditional ‘white’ cabbage; here I use the ‘green’ or Savoy cabbage. Either work equally well.

Use any type of rice you like, but I use brown Basmati. It cooks in just 15 minutes.

A little bit of prep and an hour to bake and you have a hearty casserole full of good food: cabbage, brown rice, onion, garlic, tomato. Winter comfort food that’s not high in calories.

Sit back and relax while it bakes.

Add hot sauce or sprinkle with Parmesan before eating if you like.

Italian Beef & Cabbage

Total time: 80 minutes 60 minutes baking


  • 1/2 cup (3.3oz, 95gr) quick-cooking brown rice, cooked in
  • 1 cup (8oz, 240ml) beef stock, to yield 1 1/2 cups cooked rice  
  • 8oz ground beef (240gr mince)
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 15oz (450ml) tomato sauce

Italian Beef Cabbage


  • Cook rice.
  • While rice cooks: Heat oil in nonstick skillet.
  • Add onion, celery, garlic and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Add beef and brown, breaking it up as it cooks.
  • Add Worcestershire sauce, herbs, chili powder.
  • Cover and keep warm over low heat.
  • Add brown rice when done.
  • To assemble:
  • Put half (1 cup) of the cabbage into a baking dish, put the beef/rice mixture on top, then the rest of the cabbage.
  • Press it down a bit, then pour the tomato sauce over the top.
  • Cover and bake at 375F (190C) for an hour.

Print Recipe

Speaking of ‘Ground Beef Cookbooks’….

They were a staple when I was first cooking, such exotic titles as ‘100 Ways with Ground Beef’ or ‘Favorite Hamburger Recipes’.

Ground beef, at least at that time, was an economic staple and the cheapest way to get meat on the table.

Everything else was ‘better’.

When one was broke one ‘lived on hamburger’. One didn’t serve ground beef to company (unless it was hamburgers from the grill in summer, of course).

I don’t know if that’s still true in the U.S., not having bought meat since 1996, but it is definitely not true here.

There are no cookbooks specializing in ‘viande hachée’.

I didn’t realize this until the other day.

There was another pork sale. Pork sales are very common here and the deals are usually excellent.

Whenever I get the chance I buy large pork loin roasts and slice them into chops. That’s the only was I get thick-cut boneless pork chops.

Thursday I bought 2 pork loin roasts, totaling 10 pounds for $24.00 or $2.40 per pound. I also bought 3.5 pounds of pork sausages for $9.50 or $2.70 per pound.

Then I bought 14 ounces of ground beef, 15% fat, for $7.50 per pound.

Of course buying in bulk, like the pork, is cheaper. Ground beef is never on sale or available in bulk and the pork is not a lot more expensive when buying in small quantities.

A whole chicken, on the other hand…. Now we’re talking serious money.

7 thoughts on “Italian Beef & Cabbage”

  1. Here in Northern Wisconsin, dishes made with ground beef – usually something Mexican – are still popular at potlucks, tailgates and game-day parties. People are definitely eating it, because whenever I buy it at the grocery store, I have to jockey for place and practically perform contortionistic moves to reach my pound of ground chuck.

    Katie, this really sounds good, and very affordable, which I like because I want a new stove and refrigerator.

  2. I believe ground sirloin at our big box grocery this past week was $4.19 a pound. Ridiculous. I count myself lucky if I can buy ground chuck for under $2.79 a pound. Pork in our area has risen with the beef prices and though a bit less expensive, it’s negligible and the chicken! If I want boneless skinless chicken breasts, they’re over $5 a pound much of the time. Used to be I could buy a whole chicken for $0.19 a pound. Not anymore. They’re almost as expensive as one that’s been cut up.

  3. You’d laugh if you knew how much we pay for just about any kind of meat. Granted, we buy only organic, free-range, yadda-yadda, but it’s hideously expensive. On the other hand, it is better and it has encouraged us to control our portion sizes. 🙂

  4. argette, I love ground beef, and I was amazed when I realized how expensive it is here. Oh well, we buy it anyway LOL

    nightsmusic, we only have ‘ground beef’ at 2 fat percentages…. no ground sirloin or ground turkey or anything esle

    Kate, yours will come soon enough…. maybe 😉

    Zoomie, I can watch my beef out the kitchen window. Not the pork, tho, thankfully..

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