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Sweet and Sour Beef Cabbage

Sweet and sour beef cabbage is a cheap and easy meal idea and is part of our free Meal Plan #2.

Ground beef, onion, lentils, and bell pepper and cooked on the stove. Chopped cabbage and a sweet and sour sauce are poured on top. Everything is baked in the oven for a delicious and filling recipe.

A large white pot with the sweet and sour beef and cabbage recipe inside.

Why We Love This Cheap Meal Idea

  • cabbage is a cheap vegetable that is healthy and filling
  • Ground beef can be paired with lentils to help stretch them out.
  • It’s sweet and sour! The sauce adds the perfect delicious taste to this recipe.
  • Everything is cooked in one pot. First, the ground beef is browned, then cabbage as added on top with sauce and baked in the oven.
  • Ground beef is inexpensive, but can easily be replaced with ground pork, ground turkey or ground chicken.
  • This recipe is part of our free MEAL PLAN #2. Inside I share 5 delicious printable recipes, a free meal plan, grocery list, and cooking video showing how to make them all. Click here to see the free Meal Plan #2!
  • For more one pot recipes try our easy one-pot spaghetti with ground beef, our one-pot chicken thighs with tomatoes and sweet potatoes, an easy weeknight dinner one-pot taco pasta, or our one-pot chicken burrito bowl.

Need more cheap meal inspiration? Try our 109 Cheap Easy Meal Ideas which are simple, perfect for busy nights, and budget-friendly.

Recipe ingredients on the counter in bowls including ground beef. chopped onion, celery, tomato sauce, bell pepper, brown sugar, lentils, garlic powder and rolled oats.

Recipe Ingredients

  • GROUND BEEF: 1 lb of ground beef is used as the recipe’s base. Feel free to swap with any ground meat including ground pork, ground turkey, and ground chicken.
  • LENTILS: Adding beans to ground meat can help to stretch it out and make it last for more meals. Lentils are smaller beans that are typically easier to digest than other bean styles.
  • VEGETABLES: Green cabbage is inexpensive and filling. It’s an easy vegetable to pair with ground beef. Other vegetables added to the recipe are yellow onion, celery, and bell pepper.
  • BASE INGREDIENTS: The flavor is made from tomato sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
Four images showing steps to make the recipe. First is pot with ground beef and chopped onion. Second is pot with chopped celery dumped on top. Third is spices and rolled oats dumped on top. Fourth is cabbage wedges and sweet and sour sauce poured over top.

How To Make Sweet and Sour Beef Cabbage

Everything is cooked in one pot, making clean-up easier. Here’s a quick overview with full instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

  1. Slice the cabbage into wedges. Mix the sweet and sour sauce ingredients.
  2. In an oven-safe pot, brown the ground beef with onion on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Drain excess grease. Stir in the lentils, chopped celery and bell pepper. Mix in spices and breadcrumbs.
  3. Add cabbage wedges on top of ground beef. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour the sweet and sour sauce on top. Cover and bake until cabbage is tender.

Leftover sweet and sour beef cabbage recipe can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave or in the oven.

Close up of baked cabbage wedges with ground beef mixture on top.

Recipe Tips

  • Cover the dish with foil while baking. This will prevent the cabbage from burning.
  • Use an oven-safe pot on the stove like a cast iron dutch oven. Then you don’t have to transfer anything during the cooking process.
  • The recipe is baked for about 1 hour. Smaller wedges of cabbage will cook faster if you’re in a pinch for time. Test for doneness by poking with a fork.
  • This recipe makes a great lunch and can be reheated in the microwave.
  • Feel free to serve with a side of rice, pasta or mashed potatoes for a more filling meal.
A white bowl with ground beef mixture and sliced cabbage with a fork.

More Beef Recipes

Sweet and sour beef with cabbage in a white pot.

Sweet and Sour Beef Cabbage

Print Pin Recipe
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • Slice the cabbage into quarters. Remove the inner core by slicing off with a knife. Cut each into 8 wedges. This recipe will use 6 wedges.
    Wedges of cabbage on a cutting board with a knife.
  • In a bowl, mix together the tomato sauce, white vinegar, brown sugar, ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp ground pepper. Set it aside for now.
    A white bowl with red sauce and a spatula.
  • Add the ground beef and onions to a large pot over medium high heat. Cook until the beef is browned.
    Two images of a white dutch oven. First with raw beef and chopped onion. Second with cooked beef and onion.
  • Stir in the lentils. Drain any excess grease from the pot.
    Two images of a white dutch oven. First with cooked beef and lentils dumped on top. Second with beef and lentils mixed together.
  • Add in the chopped celery and bell pepper.
    Two images of a white dutch oven. First with ground beef and celery and bell pepper dumped on top. Second with ingredients mixed together.
  • Add the garlic powder, rolled oats (or breadcrumbs), ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp ground pepper.
    Two images of a white dutch oven. First with oats and spices dumped on top of ground beef mixture. Second with all ingredients mixed together.
  • Add the ground beef to an oven-safe dish (if it isn't already in one). Spread into an even layer. Add the cabbage wedges on top. Drizzle the cabbage with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Pour the sweet and sour sauce overtop.
    Cover the dish with aluminum foil. Bake for 60-75 minutes, or until the cabbage is tender when poked with a fork.
    Two images of a white dutch oven. First with raw cabbage wedges on top of ground beef mixture and sauce pour on top of everything. Second with aluminum foil covering the pot.
  • Scoop 1-2 cabbage wedges with ground beef mixture on to each serving plate. Enjoy!
    Cooked sweet and sour beef cabbage recipe in a white large pot. Second is cabbage and ground beef recipe in a white bowl with a fork.

Recipe Notes:

  • Leftover sweet and sour beef cabbage recipe can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave or in the oven.
  • Cover the dish with foil while baking. This will prevent the cabbage from burning.
  • Use an oven-safe pot on the stove like a cast iron dutch oven. Then you don’t have to transfer anything during the cooking process.
  • The recipe is baked for about 1 hour. Smaller wedges of cabbage will cook faster if you’re in a pinch for time. Test for doneness by poking with a fork.
  • This recipe makes a great lunch and can be reheated in the microwave.
  • Feel free to serve with a side of rice, pasta or mashed potatoes for a more filling meal.
Nutrition
Calories: 618kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 81mg | Sodium: 1214mg | Potassium: 1642mg | Fiber: 24g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 855IU | Vitamin C: 126mg | Calcium: 180mg | Iron: 8mg

Please note these nutritional values provided above are just an estimate. Actual numbers will vary based on brands and ingredients you choose, and your preferred portion sizes.

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