I have one more recipe for all you gardeners with a zucchini surplus. This time, I combined the zucchini with ground beef to make a casserole. Because we all need easy dinner recipes for busy weeknights!
I had a couple priorities with this casserole. Keep it low carb was one, so that means no rice or pasta. I also wanted to avoid using a can of soup, but still wanted a simple ingredient list. I was delighted when I was able to accomplish all these goals.
The primary ingredients are of course ground beef and zucchini. The “sauce” is a can of diced tomatoes and a half can of tomato paste. To give the dish a little Italian flavor, I add onion, garlic, Italian seasonings and, of course, cheese. Because there’s no such thing as too much cheese!
How to make this ground beef zucchini casserole
Start by browning the onions and ground beef. While that is browning, I like to slice up the zucchini. With a food processor this is about a one-minute job, but it can certainly be done by hand. Just try to get the slices as evenly thin as possible so they all cook at the same speed.
Once the meat is brown, add the garlic and seasonings. Then add the can of diced tomatoes, the tomato paste, and water. Mix well to make a sauce and to fully incorporate the meat. Simmer this mixture for about 10 minutes.
Mix in the zucchini and Parmesan cheese, then transfer to a casserole dish. Top with shredded cheese, cover and bake for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake for 10-15 minutes more. Allow to rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.
How to serve this casserole
Because the zucchini will release water when heated, this does end up being a little “soupy” in texture. It makes a fantastic bowl meal! I eat it just as is, to keep my carbs in check. But it is also great with a side of rice or noodles (or zoodles!) if you want to round out the meal a little more.
If you want less liquid in the casserole, you could bake uncovered for the whole time to promote evaporation. Use a larger (deeper!) casserole dish for this to minimize the sauce from bubbling too much and making a mess in the oven!
If desired, you could also finish with a few minutes under the broiler to brown the cheese on top. Browned cheese . . . mmm.
You’ll want to make this easy casserole a regular in your meal rotation!
Zucchini Casserole with Ground Beef
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil for cooking
- 1 onion medium yellow, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 pound ground beef
- 14 oz can diced tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese shredded
- 1 pound zucchini sliced
- 1 cup cheese Italian blend
- Heat oil in skillet on medium heat. Add onions and cook 2-3 minutes until softened but not brown.
- Add ground beef. Break up the meat and cook, stirring regularly, until fully brown, about 4-5 minutes. (Drain any excess fat at this point, if applicable)
- Add Italian seasoning, salt and pepper and minced garlic. Stir and cook for one minute.
- Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and water. Mix well to make a sauce. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 7-10 minutes.
- Add Parmesan cheese and zucchini and stir until well coated in sauce. Remove from heat.
- Transfer mixture to a 2- to 3- quart casserole dish. Top with shredded Italian cheese.
- Cover and bake in a 375F oven for 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes uncovered. Remove from oven and allow to rest at least 10 minutes before serving.
Nutrition values are estimates only, using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.