I remember as a child visiting my Grandma Dorothy. She always greeted us with a bowl of her famous sweet and sour cabbage rolls. I could have devoured a whole pot of these Jewish meatballs...they were that good.
Now, you can make Grandma's best cabbage rolls in an unstuffed cabbage rolls version in an Instant Pot or pressure cooker! Talk about a huge timesaver!! I hope you like this unstuffed, easier Instant Pot Meatballs recipe as much as we do!
If you love this recipe, check out my Grandma's Homemade Chicken Soup recipe too!
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As my grandmother got older, arthritis kicked in. It was hard for her to roll the cabbage rolls, so she started making unstuffed cabbage rolls. She would use the meat and rice to create meatballs, then shred the cabbage, and finally toss it all in a pot.
It was so much easier this way, and even better the meatballs retained their delicious flavors! It was like she was able to take the recipe apart. I hope you love this deconstructed version of Grandma's cabbage rolls as much as we do.
Which is better stovetop or Instant Pot.
For this recipe, I am giving you the directions for the traditional slow-simmered recipe. This is the same one my grandmother would allow to simmer for hours.
I am also going to show you how easy this recipe is to make in your Instant Pot or pressure cooker. I will be honest that the flavor is deeper when you make this recipe stovetop, but if you are in a hurry, the Instant Pot is definitely your friend.
These sweet and sour meatballs get better as they sit in the refrigerator. Have you ever had a recipe where this happened? If you make these in the Instant Pot...make sure you save some for the next day!
Either way, this is our family's comfort food! This recipe is gluten free and full of love!
More Delicious Gluten Free Comfort Foods:
- Grandma's Homemade Chicken Soup is the best cold and flu buster ever.
- These Sloppy Joe's from Scratch are healthier made with ground turkey.
- Love comfort foods? This Instant Pot Mac n Cheese is so good.
- Shepherd's Pie is the ultimate comfort food!
First, set your Instant Pot or pressure cooker to sauté. Add onions and sauté for 4 minutes. Add half the cabbage in for the last minute. For stovetop, brown the onion until softened. Add the shredded cabbage.
Add ground beef to a bowl with uncooked rice, and egg. Mix well. Form small meatballs. (This is the same for both stovetop and pressure cooker!) Some people call meatballs with rice inside Porcupine Meatballs.
Can you make this recipe low fat?
You can definitely make this recipe low fat by using ground turkey or ground chicken instead of beef.
Can you use gluten free bread crumbs instead of rice?
You are welcome to substitute breadcrumbs instead of the rice but note the liquid levels in this recipe will be way off because you will not be cooking the rice inside the meatballs porcupine style
Put the meatballs on top of the cabbage.
Add the rest of the ingredients to the Instant Pot or pot. Close the lid and set the Instant Pot to 40 minutes (stew setting).
Can you make this recipe stovetop?
This unstuffed cabbage rolls recipe can easily be made stovetop!! If you are cooking stovetop, check periodically to see if you need to add more water. Simmer on low for 1-2 hours. (Technically, it is ready in an hour, but cooking it longer allows the flavors to really blend in.)
When the Instant Pot beeps that it is done, follow Instant Pot directions to release the pressure. DO NOT open the lid without doing this first.
More delicious Instant Pot recipes to try:
- This Instant Pot Potato Cheese Casserole is a huge hit with everyone...potatoes and cheese, what is not to love about that?
- My Grandma's homemade soup in an Easy Instant Pot Chicken Soup version
- You can make gluten free pasta in the Instant Pot with this easy Instant Pot Tuscan Chicken Pasta recipe
- My favorite Instant Pot BBQ Meatballs are perfect for a party.
If you love meatballs, check out these popular Gluten Free Meatball Appetizer recipes!
Grandma's Unstuffed Cabbage Recipe
- 14 ounces diced tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons lemon
- 1/4 cup brown sugar (coconut sugar works too!)
- 1/3 cup raisins
- 1 onion
- 4 cup cabbage (1 medium cabbage)
- 1/3 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup grape jelly (apricot jam also works)
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
- 1 cup rice (uncooked)
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups water
- Set Instant Pot to sauté and cook onion and olive oil for 4 minutes. The last minute, add the cabbage. (Stovetop: brown onion with olive oil until the onions are soft. Add cabbage to the pot.)
- In a large bowl, add ground beef, egg, and uncooked rice. Mix well. Form small meatballs.
- Add meatballs and the rest of the ingredients to the Instant Pot or stovetop pot.
- Instant Pot, set it to stew and cook for 40 minutes. Stovetop: cover and set to low temperature. Simmer 1-2 hours.
- Serve hot
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