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Low Carb Cabbage Lasagna

Are you looking for a pasta free lasagna that actually tastes like lasagna and turns out perfect every single time? You’ve come to the right place!

Baking dish with freshly baked low carb cabbage lasagna, one slice is being removed.

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This recipe was originally published on November 3, 2018 and has since been updated with new images and content, though the recipe itself has remained the same because, well, it was already perfect.

Tomatoey cheesy meaty goodness all layered together in one single dish? Yup, lasagna is pretty dang delicious if I do say so myself. It’s one of those epic meals I always get excited about especially when my mom says she is making hers. Yup, she makes the best lasagna on the planet. One of the funnest challenges I’ve had lately is trying to re create her lasagna.. low carb!

This incredibly delicious Low Carb Cabbage Lasagna is so close I’d bet even my brother would go crazy for it. He calls broccoli ‘death bush’ and cauliflower ‘bleached death bush’ so you can imagine how he would feel about cabbage replacing pasta!

My husband much prefers this Low Carb Cabbage Lasagna to it’s carb loaded cousin any day of the week! And believe me, I’ve been making it a lot lately, trying to perfect this recipe. I hope you love it as much as we do!

Freshly baked low carb cabbage lasagna, sliced into 12.

Why it works

  1. Skip the carb bloat by replacing traditional lasagna noodles with boiled cabbage leaves!
  2. The cheesy, meaty, tomatoey cabbage lasagna goodness is packed with flavour for a super tasty meal the whole family will love!
  3. This low carb cabbage lasagna reheats great, making this an easy packed lunch or leftover dinner.

Ingredients

  • avocado or olive oil
  • onion
  • red bell pepper
  • garlic
  • ground black pepper
  • spicy spaghetti seasoning
  • ground beef
  • marinara sauce
  • cottage cheese
  • green cabbage
  • fresh basil
  • mozzarella
  • fresh parmesan

Spicy Spaghetti Seasoning – One of my most favourite spice blends! I used to buy the Clubhouse Spicy Spaghetti Seasoning but now I make my own! If you don’t have any, and don’t want to make it yourself, it can be switched out for Italian seasoning.

Marinara Sauce – Be careful when buying pasta sauce as they can have lots of sugar and other additives. I generally make my own Keto Marinara Sauce, otherwise RAO’s is a great brand to buy and can be found in most grocery stores.

Baking dish with freshly baked low carb cabbage lasagna, one slice is being removed.

How to make Cabbage Lasagna

The two major steps before building this Low Carb Cabbage Lasagna are simmering the meat sauce until nice and thick and boiling the cabbage. I have made this cabbage lasagna a lot and find all of these steps necessary to get the best texture and flavour!

Meat Sauce

The meat sauce can take up to two hours to simmer until thick enough, so start on that right away.

Heat a medium saucepan on medium heat and avocado or olive oil. Dice up a small onion and half of a red pepper and add them to the pot once the oil is hot. Cook for a couple of minutes until the onion is translucent. Stir in minced/pressed garlic, black pepper, spicy spaghetti seasoning and the ground beef.

Cook until the beef is no longer pink, drain the excess grease and put back on the stove. Stir in the marinara sauce, cottage cheese and bring to a low simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 – 2 hours, stirring every 10 minutes or so to avoid burning. The sauce should be very thick once done. You can skim the grease off of the sauce during the cooking process. (I keep a little bowl and a spoon beside the pot and skim every time I stir)

Saucepan full of meat sauce.

Cabbage

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cut the core from the cabbage. I do this by carefully cutting around the core on an angle with a knife so that you end up with an empty space running halfway into the cabbage where the core used to be. This makes it easy for the leaves to peel away from the cabbage during the boiling process.

Cored cabbage lasagna.

Using a pair of tongs (no, don’t just toss it in the pot and run like the wind), carefully place the cabbage into the boiling water and reduce the heat to a low boil.

After about five minutes the leaves will start to peel away from the head. You can gently help them if you wish, but you will want to leave each leaf inside the boiling pot of water until they become super soft. Using the tongs, remove each leaf from the pot as they become soft, rinse with water and place on paper towel or clean kitchen towels to dry. It will take about 20/30 minutes to cook the whole head.

Freshly boiled cabbage leaves.

Assembly

Now it’s time to build this beauty!

Heat your oven to 350°. Thinly slice a dozen basil leaves, grate a whole wack of mozzarella and a bit of parmesan cheese. Combine the cheeses in a medium bowl, mix the basil into the meat sauce and spread 1/3 of the sauce evenly over the bottom of a 9×13″ baking dish. Spread the sauce with a spoon to ensure even coverage, then sprinkle 1/2c cheese over the sauce and cover evenly with 4 or 5 cabbage leaves.

* I like to cut the ribs from the cabbage before building the lasagna because I don’t like their texture, however my husband has no problem with the ribs. Totally a personal preference and because I’m the one who makes it, I remove the ribs.

Sprinkle just under 1c cheese over the cabbage, then half of the remaining meat sauce. Spread evenly with a spoon then add 1/2c cheese mixture and 4 or 5 more cabbage leaves. Cover the cabbage with just under 1c cheese, then spread the remainder of the meat sauce over the cheese. Add 1/2c cheese, 4 or 5 cabbage leaves and the remaining cheese mix.

Process collage of layering the cabbage lasagna.

Cover with tin foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the tin foil and turn the oven to broil. Broil the lasagna until the cheese is bubbly. Divide the lasagna into 12 and serve hot with extra chopped basil and grated parmesan cheese.

Freshly baked cabbage lasagna.

Watch the whole thing go down:

Expert Tips

One of the biggest issues you will come across with cabbage lasagna is too much liquid. I have included a few tricks on how to make sure you don’t have this issue!

  • Don’t forget the salt while boiling the cabbage leaves. Salt helps to remove liquid from the cabbage leaves to avoid a soupy lasagna.
  • Find the time to allow your sauce to simmer properly. If you increase the temperature to a high simmer you could end up burning your sauce and if you don’t simmer it long enough there could be too much liquid left and you could end up with a soup rather than a lasagna. The length of time it will need to simmer for depends on how liquidy the pasta sauce is that you choose. I’ve had times where it took 1 hour, and other times it took 2 hours.
  • Replace the ground beef for ground turkey for a yummy spin on this Low Carb Cabbage Lasagna.
  • Don’t forget to rinse the cabbage leaves with water after they have been boiled – this step helps to remove some of the salt from the dish.
  • I like to cut the ribs from the cabbage before building the lasagna because I don’t like their texture, however my husband has no problem with the ribs. Totally a personal preference and because I’m the one who makes it, I remove the ribs.
  • Be careful when broiling the melted cheese. Check in on it every minute because the cheese will burn quickly!
Baking dish with freshly baked low carb cabbage lasagna, one slice is on a plate with freshly grated parmesan cheese and basil.

Can you freeze cabbage lasagna?

YES! This Low Carb Cabbage Lasagna makes enough to feed my family for two meals, which means I’m totally off the hook for cooking for one meal after I’ve made this delicious dish! I either re-heat it for dinner sometime in the next 3-5 days (this is how long it will last in the refrigerator once cooked) or I will freeze half of the lasagna for another day when I know I will be too tired or busy to cook.

This lasagna will be fine in the freezer for up to 18 months! If you don’t want to part with one of your baking dishes, cool each piece completely, wrap in wax paper, then tin foil and keep in a heavy duty freezer bag. Wrapping each piece up individually makes for an easy lunch or dinner meal for one.

What side dishes go well with Low Carb Cabbage Lasagna?

What do you like to pair with your lasagna? I always think of Caesar salad and garlic bread. Here are a couple low carb suggestions to serve with your Low Carb Cabbage Lasagna:

One slice of low carb cabbage lasagna, topped with parmesan and basil.

Here are some other low carb recipes you might like:

Juicy Pork Tenderloin with Mushroom Sauce

Teriyaki Beef Skewers

Spaghetti and Meatballs with Zoodles

Crispy Chicken Burger

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baking dish with cabbage lasagna, one slice removed.

Low Carb Cabbage Lasagna

No more cabbage lasagna soup with this delicious recipe for Low Carb Cabbage Lasagna that turns out perfect every single time.
4.79 from 19 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Author: Aleta

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1-1.25 lbs ground beef or ground turkey
  • 1 tbsp spicy spaghetti seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 500 ml full fat cottage cheese
  • 1 recipe Keto Marinara Sauce or 1x 680ml pasta sauce
  • 1 medium head green cabbage
  • 12-15 large basil leaves
  • 500 grams mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Instructions

Equipment Needed

Meat Sauce

  • Heat a medium saucepan on medium heat and add the olive oil. Dice the onion and red pepper and add them to the pot once the oil is hot. Cook for a couple of minutes until the onion is translucent. Mince or press the garlic and add to the saucepan with the black pepper, spicy spaghetti seasoning and ground beef.
  • Cook until the beef is no longer pink, drain the excess grease and put back on the stove. Stir in the pasta sauce, cottage cheese and bring to a low simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1-2 hours, stirring every 10 minutes or so to avoid burning. The sauce should be very thick once done. You can skim the grease off of the sauce during the cooking process. (I keep a little bowl and a spoon beside the pot and skim every time I stir)

Cabbage

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Don't skip the salt, it helps to take moisture out of the cabbage leaves.
  • Cut the core from the cabbage. I do this by carefully cutting around the core on an angle with a knife so that you end up with an empty space running halfway into the cabbage where the core used to be. This makes it easy for the leaves to peel away from the cabbage during the boiling process.
  • Using a pair of tongs (no, don't just toss it in the pot and run like the wind) carefully place the cabbage into the boiling water.
  • After about five minutes the leaves will start to peel away from the head. You can gently help them if you wish, but you will want to leave each leaf inside the boiling pot of water until they become super soft
  • Using the tongs remove each leaf from the pot as they become ready, rinse with water to help remove some of the salt and place on paper towel or clean kitchen towels to dry. It will take about 20/30 minutes to cook the whole head; you will want about 12-15 leaves.

Assembly

  • Heat your oven to 350°. Thinly slice the basil, and grate the mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Combine the cheeses in a medium bowl, mix the basil into the meat sauce and spread 1/3 of the sauce evenly over the bottom of a 9×13" baking dish. Spread the sauce with a spoon to ensure even coverage then sprinkle 1/2c cheese over the sauce and cover evenly with 4 or 5 cabbage leaves.
  • * I like to cut the ribs from the cabbage before building the lasagna because I don’t like their texture, however may husband has no problem with the ribs. Totally a personal preference and because I’m the one who makes it, I remove the ribs 😛
  • Sprinkle just under 1c cheese over the cabbage then half of the remaining meat sauce. Spread evenly with a spoon then add 1/2c cheese mixture and 4 or 5 more cabbage leaves ( ribs removed if you like )
  • Cover the cabbage with just under 1c cheese, then spread the remainder of the meat sauce over the cheese. Add 1/2c cheese, 4 or 5 cabbage leaves and then top with the remaining cheese mix.
  • Cover with tin foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the tin foil and turn the oven to broil. Broil the lasagna until the cheese is bubbly. Divide the lasagna into 12 and serve hot!

Notes

One of the biggest issues you will come across with cabbage lasagna is too much liquid. I have included a few tricks on how to make sure you don’t have this issue!
  • Don’t forget the salt while boiling the cabbage leaves. Salt helps to remove liquid from the cabbage leaves to avoid a soupy lasagna.
  • Find the time to allow your sauce to simmer properly. If you increase the temperature to a high simmer you could end up burning your sauce and if you don’t simmer it long enough there could be too much liquid left and you could end up with a soup rather than a lasagna. The length of time it will need to simmer for depends on how liquidy the pasta sauce is that you choose. I’ve had times where it took 1 hour, and other times it took 2 hours.
  • Replace the ground beef for ground turkey for a yummy spin on this Low Carb Cabbage Lasagna.
  • Don’t forget to rinse the cabbage leaves with water after they have been boiled – this step helps to remove some of the salt from the dish.
  • I like to cut the ribs from the cabbage before building the lasagna because I don’t like their texture, however my husband has no problem with the ribs. Totally a personal preference and because I’m the one who makes it, I remove the ribs.
  • Be careful when broiling the melted cheese. Check in on it every minute because the cheese will burn quickly!
Nutrition Facts
Nutrition facts are an estimate only! The ingredients you choose could have different nutritional values than the ingredients I have used.  
 * Net carb count excludes both fibre and sugar alcohols, because these do not affect blood sugar in most people.
Deduct fibre from total carbs to get 8 g net carbs per slice.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 322.4kcal | Carbohydrates: 10.7g | Protein: 24.4g | Trans Fat: 20.6g | Sodium: 745mg | Fiber: 2.7g | Net Carbs: 8g
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40 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made this tonight. I simmered the sauce for a full 2 hours. I was so concerned that there was not enough actual sauce for the lasagna, that I actually poured a small amount of the leftover Rao’s on the last layer of cabbage. It was perfect. My kids (5, 5, and 7) pushed the cabbage to the side but devoured the meat sauce and cheese. I still have tons of cabbage leaves left I figure I’ll use as wraps.

  2. Nikishapiro

    Can you assemble ahead a bake later?

  3. 5 stars
    Hands down the best lasagne I have ever had.

    • Wow thanks Tracy, I am so glad to hear it!

      • If I want to use ricotta instead of cottage cheese (what I have on hand) do I still simmer it in the sauce? Or do I just add it into the cheese layer?

      • That’s a great question Tawni! You could do either. Personally, I would simmer it in the sauce to help reduce as much moisture as possible, though because ricotta doesn’t have as much moisture as cottage cheese, it wouldn’t be as much of an issue if you added it to the cheese layer.

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