Preheat oven to 375°. In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink, breaking beef into crumbles. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Drain. Stir in 1 can tomato sauce and next 6 ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, 5 minutes. Stir in rice and bacon; remove from heat.
Layer a third of the cabbage in a greased 13x9-in. baking dish. Top with half the meat mixture. Repeat layers; top with remaining cabbage. Pour remaining tomato sauce over top.
Cover and bake 45 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with cheese. Bake until cheese is melted, about 10 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. If desired, sprinkle with coarsely ground pepper.
Test Kitchen Tips
Minimize mess by using 90% lean ground beef or ground sirloin (so you can skip the draining step) and use coleslaw mix (so you don't have to chop cabbage).
Try serving with a splash of red wine or cider vinegar.
Take this with a grain of salt: Our tasting panel finds salt preferences vary widely. We recommend adjusting according to your dietary restrictions, if any, and taste. Remember the hidden sources of sodium, like bacon, cheese, and canned sauces, soups and vegetables.