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20 Healthy Ground Beef Recipes That Make This Meat Great Again

If you’re tired of burgers and meatballs and want some new healthy and delicious ways to enjoy ground beef, then you need to check out these 20 recipes.

Ground beef is like the Swiss Army Knife of protein.

It goes well in all kinds of foods, it can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and it’s cheap, easy to cook and store, and, of course, delicious.

So, whether you’re prepping simple meals for the week, or wanting to do something special to impress your friends or significant other, it pays to know how to prepare ground beef.

If you’re like most people, though, you don’t know where to even start.

Should you just turn it into burgers? Meatballs? Sloppy Joe’s? Something else altogether?

Well, this article is going to show you just how great this humble meat can be.

As you’ll see, these 20 delicious ground beef recipes are easy to prepare, healthy, and packed with protein, and no matter what kind of cuisine you’re in the mood for, there’s something here for you.

Enjoy!

 

Ground Beef Grilled Cheese

Serves 2

Most healthy grilled cheese recipes add vegetables to infuse nutrition, but why not amp up the protein instead? With ground beef in the middle, grilled cheese becomes the ultimate comfort food.

Add in pickle slices, diced red onion, or chopped tomatoes, and it’s basically a cheeseburger grilled cheese.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

459

Calories

29 g

Protein

30 g

Carbs

25 g

Fat

Ingredients

3.5 oz. 93% lean ground beef

2 scallions, thinly sliced

1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

4 slices sandwich bread

4 slices gouda cheese

1 tsp. butter

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One-Pot Spaghetti & Meat Sauce

Serves 6

Spaghetti is one of the easiest dinners to make on autopilot. Yet there’s a way to prepare this simple ground beef recipe with even less work and get your healthy meal on the table in under a half hour.

Make pasta sauce from scratch, and you can cook the noodles in the same pan instead of boiling a pot of water.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

398

Calories

29 g

Protein

46 g

Carbs

10 g

Fat

Ingredients

1 lb. 90% lean ground beef

1 small onion, finely diced

Pinch of red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. salt

1 large carrot, shredded

1/3 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed

1 tsp. minced garlic

12 oz. whole-grain spaghetti, broken in half

1 large can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes with Italian herbs

4 cups reduced-sodium tomato vegetable cocktail (such as V8)

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Beef-Stuffed Eggplant (Imam Bayildi)

Serves 3

New recipes that focus on nutrition pop up all the time, so you never have to get bored with your healthy meal plan. But sometimes the best way to get inspiration is to look through culinary tradition.

These stuffed eggplants are a popular dish in Turkey, and it’s no wonder because they’re simple and adaptable. If you can’t find pomegranate molasses, reduce pom juice to make some, or substitute honey with a splash of balsamic vinegar.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

509

Calories

24 g

Protein

53 g

Carbs

26 g

Fat

Ingredients

2 medium eggplants (or 4 small)

9 oz. 93% lean ground beef

3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2/3 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp. ground cardamom

1/2 tsp. sumac

3 Tbsp. pomegranate molasses

1/4 cup raisins

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 cup tomato puree

2 Tbsp. pine nuts

1/2 tsp. ghee (optional)

Fresh basil or mint, for serving

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Hash & Eggs

Serves 6

This healthy ground beef skillet recipe is great for breakfast. And it’s such a simple meal that you’ll find yourself cooking it up all the time. In fact, it’s awesome to eat as a quick post-workout dinner.

Once you brown the beef and cook the potatoes until tender, make space to crack the eggs. Transfer the cast-iron skillet to the oven, and you’ll have perfect baked eggs in the middle of a potato and beef hash.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

216

Calories

21 g

Protein

9 g

Carbs

10 g

Fat

Ingredients

1 lb. 90% lean ground beef

1 large onion, diced

2 cups diced potatoes (about 3 medium)

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. chopped fresh parsley (optional)

6 large eggs

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Korean Ground Beef

Serves 4

This quick Korean recipe is an easy way to prepare ground beef. And you won’t need any specialty ingredients ordered online or sought out at the Asian grocery store.

There’s plenty of flavor just from soy sauce, sesame oil, and fresh ginger. Serve it as an easy Korean rice bowl, topped with chopped chives and spicy kimchi.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

337

Calories

32 g

Protein

15 g

Carbs

16 g

Fat

Ingredients

1 lb. 90% lean ground beef

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 Tbsp. pure honey (or more to taste)

2 tsp. sesame oil

3” fresh ginger, grated (or 1/2 tsp. ground ginger)

Pinch of red pepper flakes

3 green onions, thinly sliced

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Beef, Mushroom & Spinach Calzones

Serves 12

Making a calzone from scratch takes too much effort after a long day at work, so prepare a big batch when you have free time, and stash them in the freezer.

Then you’ll be able to reheat these beef and mushroom calzones whenever you’re starving. Pick up premade pizza dough to speed up the process, or use your favorite homemade recipe.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

717

Calories

46 g

Protein

86 g

Carbs

19 g

Fat

Ingredients

3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 lb. 90% lean ground beef

Salt to taste

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

8 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced (about 1 cup)

4 cloves garlic, minced

6 cups packed baby spinach (about 5 oz.)

1 large can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes

3 lbs. whole-wheat pizza dough

Cooking spray

Whole-wheat flour, for dusting

2 1/4 (about 9 oz.) shredded part-skim mozzarella

1 large egg, beaten

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Healthy Meatloaf Squares

Serves 4

Even if you don’t like traditional meatloaf, this stuffed variation may sway you. It doesn’t resemble a loaf of bread, and meatloaf becomes harder to resist when there’s a layer of creamy mashed potatoes in the middle.

You can use this trick with other veggies too, like sweet potatoes or mashed broccoli and cauliflower.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

551

Calories

45 g

Protein

54 g

Carbs

17 g

Fat

Ingredients

1 1/2 lbs. 93% lean ground beef

2 cups rice Chex cereal, finely crushed

1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce

1 medium carrot, grated (about 1 cup)

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

3/4 tsp. salt

3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

3 cups mashed potatoes

1/2 cup ketchup

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Simple Shepherd’s Pie

Serves 8

Shepherd’s pie is the ultimate beef and potatoes meal because you can enjoy them both in one bite. So if you only master one healthy casserole recipe, this should be it.

There’s more protein in the macros than anything else, plus there’s a mix of veggies for vitamins, fiber, and healthy carbs.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

378

Calories

30 g

Protein

25 g

Carbs

17 g

Fat

Ingredients

2 lbs. russet potatoes

4 Tbsp. butter

1/4 cup milk

1 1/2 lbs. 90% lean ground beef

1 yellow onion, diced

2 carrots, peeled and diced

2 stalks celery, diced

1/2 cup frozen peas

1/2 cup frozen corn

1 Tbsp. tomato paste

3 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 1/2 tsp. salt, divided

1 cup (about 4 oz.) shredded cheddar (optional)

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Quick Beef Lasagna

Serves 4

Instead of making a traditional lasagna, which requires browning the meat and softening the onions before layering it all together, make this one-pan meal.

This healthy ground beef recipe has everything you’d want in a lasagna, including the flat noodles, except it’s made in a skillet on the stove in just 15 minutes.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

587

Calories

45 g

Protein

43 g

Carbs

27 g

Fat

Ingredients

1/2 lb. 93% lean ground beef

2 cups diced onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 lb. pork breakfast sausage, cooked

8 oz. lasagna noodles

1 cup tomato sauce

2 cups water

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 cup (about 4 oz.) shredded mozzarella

4 oz. fresh mozzarella pearls

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Mexican Meatballs in Tomato-Chipotle Sauce

Serves 6

Ground beef meatballs don’t have to be served with marinara. They’re delicious in other kinds of cuisine, like Mediterranean, Chinese, and even Mexican food.

Albondigas often refers to meatball soup, but they can also be eaten with rice or tortillas. And these ground beef meatballs are hiding another kind of protein: hard-boiled egg is tucked into the middle.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

374

Calories

38 g

Protein

13 g

Carbs

19 g

Fat

Ingredients

Meatballs:

2 lbs. 93% ground beef

1 bunch fresh mint, sliced into strips

1/2 white onion, finely chopped

1 large egg, beaten

3 Tbsp. bread crumbs

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped

 

Broth:

2 lbs. Roma tomatoes

1 Tbsp. chopped white onion

1 clove garlic

2–4 Tbsp. chipotle in adobo

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

1 cup chicken broth (or vegetable broth)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

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Shepherd’s Pie Potato Skins

Serves 4

Beef and potatoes in less than a half hour? These might look like they require a ton of work, but ground beef-stuffed potato skins are faster to cook than a full shepherd’s pie. They’ll also freeze well, so you’ll have individual meals to reheat at your convenience.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

528

Calories

26 g

Protein

76 g

Carbs

14 g

Fat

Ingredients

8 oz. 93% lean ground beef

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 1/2 cups frozen mixed vegetables (or fresh)

2 Tbsp. flour

1 cup beef broth

1/2 cup water

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

4 large potatoes, scrubbed

1/2 cup milk

2 Tbsp. butter (optional)

Salt to taste

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Easy Picadillo Recipe

Serves 6

Picadillo means everything is minced or chopped, then cooked altogether, like in a potato hash. And this quick Mexican meal can be served in a number of ways.

Turn it into ground beef tacos with small corn tortillas, eat it with rice, or roll picadillo burritos for a big meal.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

434

Calories

55 g

Protein

7 g

Carbs

19 g

Fat

Ingredients

1 1/2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

1 lb. 93% ground beef

1/3 cup chopped white onion

2 cloves garlic

1 serrano pepper

1 1/2 cups diced potato (about 8 oz.)

1 lb. tomatoes, diced

1 beef bouillon cube

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

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Upside-Down Pepperoni Pizza Casserole

Serves 8

Craving homemade pizza, but don’t want to worry about rolling out or tossing the dough? This ground beef casserole flips pizza upside-down, with refrigerator rolls baked on top to replace the crust.

You can use this method with your favorite pizza toppings, so go ahead and swap out pepperoni for ham, bell peppers for olives, or whatever you like.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

492

Calories

37 g

Protein

35 g

Carbs

22 g

Fat

Ingredients

1 1/2 lbs. 90% lean ground beef

1 medium onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 package (8 oz.) mushrooms, sliced

1 can (4 oz.) black olives, drained

1 can (15 oz.) pizza sauce

5 oz. turkey pepperoni slices

1 cup (about 4 oz.) shredded part-skim mozzarella

1 package (16 oz.) refrigerated reduced-fat buttermilk biscuits, separated and cut in fourths

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Crock Pot Sloppy Joes

Serves 8

There’s no need to rely on canned sloppy Joes if you have a Crock Pot. The sauce will develop a lot more flavor, and you can even sneak in some veggies like carrots and squash.

If you grate them, either by hand or with a food processor, the small vegetables pieces will cook down enough to be hidden in the sloppy joe mix. Serve with large lettuce leaves for a low-carb ground beef dinner.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

491

Calories

37 g

Protein

51 g

Carbs

16 g

Fat

Ingredients

Beef:

2 lbs. 90% lean ground beef

1 large onion, grated

2/3 cups baby carrots, grated

2 small zucchinis, grated

2 small yellow squash, grated

 

Sauce:

1 1/2 cups water

2 1/2 cups ketchup

1 1/2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1/2 Tbsp. dried mustard

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 Tbsp. chili powder

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

8 whole-wheat burger buns

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Mini Meatloaf Pepper Rings

Serves 8

Meatloaf is a classic American dinner because it’s cheap, easy, and satisfying. But it’s about time we bring meatloaf into this millennium.

You’ll still need ground beef, egg, and bread crumbs. The difference is this meatloaf mix is cooked in a sliced bell pepper instead of a loaf pan, and it’s topped with tomato sauce, not bottled ketchup.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

416

Calories

39 g

Protein

16 g

Carbs

21 g

Fat

Ingredients

4 large bell peppers

2 lbs. 90% lean ground beef

1 1/2 tsp. Creole seasoning

1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs

1 large egg

1/4 cup (about 1 oz.) shredded Parmesan

Pinch of red pepper flakes

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

1 cup (about 4 oz.) shredded Italian cheese blend

1 large can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes

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Ground Beef & Wild Rice Alfredo

Serves 4

Alfredo sauce is great with pasta, of course, but that’s not all. Since it’s like pourable Parmesan, alfredo quickly upgrades any savory dish like this beef and rice skillet.

It’s adaptable, so use any veggies or leftover rice that you have in the kitchen. Once the ground beef is cooked, simmer everything in alfredo sauce, and dig in.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

491

Calories

35 g

Protein

25 g

Carbs

28 g

Fat

Ingredients

1 lb. 93% lean ground beef

1/2 cup diced onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup fresh white mushrooms, sliced

1 cup cooked wild rice (about 1/3 cup dry)

1 cup frozen peas, thawed

1 jar (14.5 oz.) alfredo sauce

1/2 tsp. dried basil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

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Beef Cabbage Roll Casserole

Serves 12

Beef and cabbage is a winning combo for a healthy dinner, but when they’re in a cabbage roll, it’s not that appealing to anyone who doesn’t enjoy eating their greens.

Luckily you can get all the same nutrition in this healthy casserole, which mixed the cabbage with tomato sauce and ground beef.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

277

Calories

27 g

Protein

26 g

Carbs

6 g

Fat

Ingredients

2 lbs. lean ground beef

1 onion, chopped

1 large can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes

3 1/2 lbs. head cabbage, chopped

1 cup dry long-grain rice

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

3/4 tsp. garlic powder

2 can (14 oz. each) beef broth

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Hearty Quinoa Mac & Chili

Serves 5

Hamburger helper is a fast and easy meal, but it’s lacking a lot in terms of nutrition.

Make this dinner from scratch instead, so you’re getting the tasty ingredients you’re craving without added preservatives. And if you sprinkle a handful of shredded cheese on top, it’s a healthy chili mac and cheese.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

438

Calories

39 g

Protein

54 g

Carbs

8 g

Fat

Ingredients

1 1/2 lbs. 97% lean ground beef

8 oz. quinoa macaroni (or whole-wheat macaroni)

1 Tbsp. minced garlic

3/4 cup chopped red onion

2 Roma tomatoes, diced

1 can (15 oz.) low-sodium black beans

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 Tbsp. chili powder

1 tsp. smoked paprika

1 tsp. ground cumin

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

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Beef Zucchini Burgers

Serves 6

When you don’t know what to do with ground beef, the go-to recipe is burgers. But it’s not always as simple as dividing the meat and throwing it on the grill, especially if you want a healthy burger patty.

This recipe includes zucchini, not just for the nutrition, but also to ensure you’ll have juicy beef hamburgers even if you use a leaner meat.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

364

Calories

35 g

Protein

3 g

Carbs

22 g

Fat

Ingredients

1 1/2 lbs. 90% lean ground beef

1 1/2 cups grated zucchini

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

2 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 cup sour cream

5 oz. feta cheese, divided

2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Hot sauce to taste

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Skinny Beef, Vegetable & Barley Soup

Serves 4

A soup or stew can be delicious with any cut of meat, but something like a lean roast will require lots of time to cook. Make ground beef soup instead, and you won’t have to wait.

This recipe is ready on the stove in an hour, or you can prepare it in the morning and let your Crock Pot do the rest.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

570

Calories

56 g

Protein

60 g

Carbs

12 g

Fat

Ingredients

1 lb. 96% lean ground beef

2 containers (32 oz. each) reduced-sodium beef broth

1 can (14.5 oz.) reduced-sodium beef broth

1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes

3/4 cup dry pearl barley

1 1/2 cups carrots, sliced

1 1/2 cups celery, sliced

1 1/2 cups chopped onions

1 1/2 cups chopped zucchini

2 tsp. minced garlic

2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 bay leaf

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1/2 tsp. dried sage

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

3 cups fresh spinach

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OVER 100,000 PEOPLE HAVE USED MY COOKBOOK TO GET THE BODY THEY WANT EATING THE FOODS THEY LOVE. WILL YOU BE NEXT?

What if I told you that just about everything magazines and trainers “teach” you about dieting is wrong?

What if you could build muscle and lose fat eating “naughty” foods every week?

What if you didn’t have to suffer through low-carb dieting to get lean? In fact, what if you could eat all the carbs you wanted?

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Well, I have good news.

All these “fantasies” can be a reality...if you know how to do a handful of “little” things correctly.

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I'm Mike and I'm the creator of Muscle for Life and Legion Athletics, and I believe that EVERYONE can achieve the body of their dreams.

If you like my articles, then you'll love my bestselling books. They'll show you exactly what you need to do to build muscle and lose fat without hating your diet or living in the gym.

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  • madmanwithabox5

    Hey Mike! I’ve noted a few discrepancies on some of the nutrition facts that are posted on these pages vs. the facts that are posted on the linked recipes (both at Legion and MFL). In this case, it’s the beef/veggie/barley stew. It says “serves 8” but gives nutrition facts as 570 cal, 56 protein, 60 carb, and 12 fat which, based on looking at the recipe, would be more like the nutrition for 4 servings.

    Really nothing more than a minor glitch when I’m trying to meal plan for the week but it did throw me a curve when I realized that I didn’t buy near enough groceries if I’m going to eat that all week. Am i missing something about the way you figure these out?

    • Doh, lemme see what happened. Thanks for the heads up.

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