Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls


Un-stuffed cabbage rolls are really, really good and really, really good for you. Cabbage (especially the red variety) contains significant amounts of polyphenols that provide anti-inflammatory benefits. And who wouldn’t want anti-inflammatory benefits in the back country after a long day on the trail?

Kitchen Cook Time and Prep: This recipe makes enough stew for 4-6 back country servings and takes about 1 hour 30 minutes to prepare.

Tools: You will need a large Dutch oven or stock pot to cook with. In the back country you will need a stove and a pot to boil water. A spoon or spork would be helpful.

Back Country-What to Expect: There is a lot of meat in this dish, as well as large chunks of cabbage.  It is best to pre-hydrate the meal a couple hours before cooking to allow the meat to properly absorb enough water so as not to drain your cooking fuel.

Try this recipe out, let me know if you have any questions or comments below, and make sure you share this recipe with your friends that love cabbage rolls and of course, the back country.

Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6
  • 4 cups cabbage, chopped
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 bell pepper (red, green or yellow), diced
  • ½ lb mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp Herbs de Provence
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp fresh cracked pepper
  • 12 oz home-canned tomatoes, pureed
  • 12 oz homemade chicken stock
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 lb ground turkey, or pork
  • 2-4 tbsp tomato paste
  1. In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, melt coconut oil. Once melted add onion, mushrooms and garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes, or until onions begin to soften, and then stir in the chopped cabbage. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until the cabbage has softened. NOTE: When I make regular cabbage rolls, I save the cabbage hearts to use for this recipe. It usually takes the hearts of two large cabbages to make 4 cups of chopped cabbage. Wrap in plastic wrap or zip-lock freezer bag and keep in the freezer until ready to use.
  2. While cabbage is cooking, brown ground meat in a large fry pan, breaking up the meat as it cooks. Once meat mixture is completely cooked, transfer to metal strainer and run under hot water until all fat has been washed away. Add meat to the Dutch oven and stir into the cabbage mixture.
  3. Stir in herbs, salt, bell pepper. Allow 2-3 minutes for the bell pepper to begin to soften than add tomatoes. Reduce heat to a simmer, add tomato paste and cook for a further 30 minutes.
Back Country Preparation

Allow to cool to room temperature. Place 1½ cup per serving of mixture on the fruit roll-up trays on your Excalibur. On the meat setting (155 - 165 degrees), dehydrate for 8 hours, or overnight. Once fully dry, break up and seal into vacuum seal bags with ⅓ cup camp rice/instant rice. Store in freezer until ready to head into the back country.
To rehydrate I add 1½ cup of water a few hours before you intend to eat. Store in a strong resalable bag. I've been using resealable vacuum seal bags and they work perfectly. At meal time it only requires 3-5 minutes of simmer time before it's ready to eat.
Alternatively, bring 1 ¾ cups of water to a boil. Add the dehydrated contents and allow to come to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and allow rice to absorb the liquid. Serve and enjoy

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