No-noodle Lasagna – La dolce vita

Enjoying the good life with abandon but without any of the guilt.

Enjoying the good life with abandon but without any of the guilt.

I’ve really been slacking on posting vegetable recipes regularly. It has been ages since my last Veg of the Week post.  But this discovery is so fabulous it really deserves the special honour of being vegetable dish of the month. Actually this is my most exciting discovery this year.

Now I thought I would lure you in by describing this as a no-noodle lasagna. If I had been more forthcoming in my description, I am sure I would have scared you off. But now I have got you reading, I will reveal what the best replacement is for regular lasagna sheets. It is not zucchini (too moist), nor aubergine (too chewy) it is…. white cabbage.

Crazy I know! But believe me, it works!!

I will own up that I really do not like white cabbage. I am still haunted by childhood memories of limp, grey, funky smelling cabbage leaves wrapped around greasy, tasteless rice and mince. Couldn’t stand the stuff.

Never thought I would ever post a white cabbage recipe, but here I am raving about the stuff. Once you briefly blanch the leaves in boiling water and layer them with a Bolognese sauce and cheese, you have the most amazing carb-free lasagna. The cabbage leaves have a comforting bite that is similar to al dente pasta sheets; lightly chewy but soft at the same time.

You can stick to your regular recipe for traditional Bolognese sauce. Just make sure you meat sauce is on the dry side as the cabbage sheets will not soak up moisture as lasagna sheets do. For this dish I added plenty of mushrooms to bulk up the sauce with some extra fiber and minerals. As you are being unconventional already, I suggest you skip the effort of making a béchamel and give the below combination of ricotta, cottage and cream cheese a whirl. I really enjoyed both the texture and flavour it added to the dish.

The result is an amazing lasagna that has the same comfort as a regular lasagna but is just that little bit healthier. And like a regular lasagna I feel that this one tastes even better reheated the next day. So, make sure you make a double portion…. at least.

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(inspired by the blog ‘Simple Roots Wellness‘)
Serves 3-4

500g mushrooms
2 onions
2-3 garlic cloves
(300g-) 500g mince
1 can of peeled and chopped tomatoes
a pinch of chili flakes
1/2 tbsp honey
optional: a dash of Worcestershire sauce
salt, pepper
about 1/2 head of white cabbage (the outer leaves are a little handier then the ones closer to the core)
optional: 10g of chives
2 eggs
200g cottage cheese
100g ricotta cheese
100g (light) cream cheese
1 tsp mustard
100g cheese for grating



Make the sauce

  1. Bring a very large pot of water to the boil (I use the largest pot I have.)
  2. Slice the mushrooms and fry them in a wide pot or large deep fry pan until just tender. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  3. Chop the onion and fry in the same pan.
  4. When the onions are translucent, mince the garlic and add it. Stir until fragrant.
  5. Add the mince meat and stir, breaking it up, until the meat has just coloured.
  6. Add the tinned tomato.
  7. Season the sauce with chili, honey, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.
  8. Allow the sauce to simmer whilst preparing the rest of the dish. Stir once in a while and add a little water if it starts to get too dry. (When you assemble the lasagna the sauce should be quite thick as the cabbage leaves do not soak up liquid as regular lasagna sheets do.)

Prepare the cabbage

  1. Carefully peel the leaves off the head of cabbage. Cut out the thick ribs. You are looking for looking for the amount of leaves that will comfortably cover a teatowel when placed next to each other.
  2. Place the leaves into the boiling water until they turn opaque (about 2-3 min, but can vary depending on the amount of water). Using a slotted spoon remove the leaves and lay them on a kitchen towel to dry. Depending on the size of your pot you might have to do this in a few batches.

Make the sauce

  1. If using, chop the chives.
  2. Whisk together the two eggs.
  3. Add the ricotta, cottage and cream cheese and blend.
  4. Season with mustard, salt, pepper and add the chives.

Assemble the lasagna

  1. Heat the oven to 175C.
  2. Place 1/4 of the meat sauce in the bottom of a dish (about 20x35cm).
  3. Top with 1/3 of cabbage “noodles”.
  4. Add 1/4 meat sauce and 1/2 the cheese mix.
  5. Another layer using 1/3 of the “noodles”.
  6. 1/4 meat and the rest of the cheese mix.
  7. The rest of the “noodles”.
  8. The remainder of the meat.
  9. Bake in the oven for 20 min. The dish can be prepared until this step and then refrigerated to be finished another day.
  10. Grate the cheese and sprinkle on top.
  11. Bake for another 20 min.
  12. Allow to rest before 5-10 min before serving.


Serve with

  • A green salad made from lettuce leaves or green beans

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Some of the health benefits of cabbage

  • White cabbage are a Good source of vitamin C and folate and potassium
  • Cabbage is filled with antioxidant power. This enables our systems to fight free radicals and clear up toxins, including potential carcinogens.
  • The fiber in cabbage keeps your blood sugar levels from fluctuating and also regularizes bowel movements. Cabbage is anti – inflammatory vegetable
  • Eating cabbage may also reduce the risks of heart disease, stroke and cancer, specifically colon cancer.
  • It speeds healing of ulcers and improves digestive health.
  • Raw cabbage cleans the waste from the stomach and upper bowels which improves digestion and reduces constipation.


More recipes replacing carb with veg


  1. Oh, this looks delicious! Personally, I love cabbage and even have fond childhood memories of the stuffed variety. What a great substitute for noodles…you’re genius!

    • afracooking said:

      Sorry for the delay in reponse – it has been a crazy week. Maybe I should give stuffed cabbage another go and see how I feel about it now. I have noticed how much my tast has changed over the years. 🙂

  2. Darya said:

    Oh I love the idea. It reminds me of a deconstructed stuffed cabbage, Italian style. Sounds delicious, and I am sure it must be!

    • afracooking said:

      Sorry, I am sooo late responing – mad week! I love your description of this dish – deconstructed 🙂

  3. That really does sound and look pretty fabulous! Very impressive! You’re a super star x

    • afracooking said:

      Took me way too long to get back to you. I’ve had quite the week!! You are so sweet! Big, big hug!

  4. Liz said:

    I must say I also have mixed feelings about cabbage, so I shall try this recipe and probably replace it with Swiss chard, which I don’t mind at all. It sounds delicious though with the ricotta, cottage and cream cheese and mince meat and mushrooms. Thanks for sharing!

    • afracooking said:

      Hello Liz, the last days have been such a whilwind of activity I have had absolutely no time for blogging. So sorry it took me this long to get back to you! What a great idea to use swiss chard. I must give that a try.

  5. vanyadhanya said:

    lovely comforting dish

    • afracooking said:

      It has taken me ages to get back to you (crazy week!) Thank you for your sweet compliment!

  6. I love cabbages! And this delicious veggie-loaded lasagna is just perfect for my low-carb diet.

    • afracooking said:

      So sorry it has taken me this long to get back to you. It has been a mad couple of days. Since I have been low carbing it, pasta has been almost banned from my kitchen in the last few years. I love that I can now make lasagna without the stog of all those noodles 🙂

  7. Such a good idea…perfect recipe as we get ready for summer! Thanks so much for sharing! =)

  8. Karen said:

    What a terrific idea. I am one of the people who likes cooked cabbage and would definitely enjoy this dish.

    • afracooking said:

      So sorry it took me ages to respond (mad week). Yes, I would have thought you are someone who like cabbage 🙂 After discovering this dish I really will experiment more with it!

  9. A great & tasty genius idea! Way healthier too! It looks freaking delicious too! MMMMMM! My dinner for tonight,…yeahhh!

    • afracooking said:

      Sorry it took me so long to reply – it has been quite a week! I am so happy you like the recipe. It really has become one of my favourites!x

      • Mine too! x

  10. This looks like a great way to make a healthier version of lasagna.

    • afracooking said:

      Thank you so much Mary!

  11. This looks amazing! I love making lasagna without noodles, once I used spinach and sweet potato inbetween the layers and it was so tasty! Your version looks fabulous 🙂

    • afracooking said:

      Apologies for getting back to you so late – what a week! Now your take on lasagna sounds fabulous! I must give that a try 

  12. There’s an amazing dish I tried, a long way back. it was the tastiest and loveliest Tuscan Cabbage stew, made with layered cabbage, cheese, stock and (bread.) They treated it almost like a peasant’s lasagne, this is a far tastier version, but (still reminds me) of it’s humble roots. I can definitely believe this would be equally satisfying too. 🙂

    • afracooking said:

      That is a fabulous sounding dish – I have never eaten anything like it. Have to google that! And thank you for your lovely compliment 🙂

    • afracooking said:

      So lovely of you do drop by and leave me a line! I am sorry it took me so long to get back to you!! It has just been totally mad lately! But now that I finally have a few moments I am heading straight over to your blog!

    • afracooking said:

      So so sorry that it took me ages to get back to you – it has just been mad lately. Hope you are well and cannot wait to finally have the time again to check out your fabulous posts and recipes 🙂

  13. Koko said:

    This is very creative! I actually don’t mind cabbage at all, and I bet this would be delicious!!

    • afracooking said:

      It has been ages since I have had any time to spend on blogging – it is so lovely to come back and find such a sweet comment! Thank you!

  14. Liz said:

    I never thought I would use white cabbage to make lasagna, wow! I am actually thinking of reducing carb in my diet and if this tastes the way you describe it then I would love to try it too! The photo is great and the presentation is awesome. Thanks for sharing and giving me a new dimension to cabbage!

  15. Very clever idea! I bet it tastes wonderful. And so healthy too.

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