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17 Quick & Easy Ground Beef Recipes for Weight Loss

From slow-cooked meatballs to healthy tacos, we can help you whip up a healthy, cheap, protein-packed dinner in no time!

Red meat often comes up in conversations as being “bad for you,” but it can actually be a nutritious food and part of a healthy diet if eaten in moderation. Aside from delivering amino acids that increase satiety, speed up metabolism, and build lean muscle, beef contains healthy doses of iron, zinc, niacin, selenium, vitamin E, and B vitamins—nutrients that support blood formation, as well as brain and nervous system function. And it’s easy to incorporate red meat into meals, especially when you’re cooking with ground beef.

We know you probably have some questions around ground beef. Read on for the answers, plus 17 easy ground beef recipes you and your whole family will love.

Can I eat ground beef on a diet?

Yes, you can. See, The World Cancer Research Fund recommends limiting weekly consumption of red meat to three portions a week (about 12–18 ounces total). Consuming fat in excess, healthy or not, results in one thing: flab. Ground beef is sold with 5 to 30 percent fat, giving you the option to choose from 80-95 percent lean varieties. However, the leaner the cut, the lower the vitamin and mineral content. So no, you don’t have to stop eating red meat completely.

We recommend going for 90 percent lean, which yields fewer calories and fat than regular ground beef. When possible, it’s best to go for grass-fed. It’s naturally lower in calories and fat than grain-fed beef, and it contains more heart-healthy omega-3s, less saturated fat, and as much as four times the vitamin E.

How to cook ground beef

Ground beef is very simple to make, and it cooks fairly quickly. You just need a skillet and a stovetop, and you’re all set. Place the meat in the skillet—along with any seasonings—and wait for all the pieces to brown, stirring occasionally. That’s how you know the meat is done, but you can keep browning it in the pan for as long as you like to get that desired level of crispness. According to the USDA, you should cook ground beef within two days of purchasing it, unless you freeze the meat.

We consulted with Chef Will Savarese, executive chef at Robert’s Steakhouse in Atlantic City, New Jersey, to get some more insight on everything you need to know about cooking with ground beef, too, and his tips for perfectly browning prove just how simple cooking with ground beef is.

“Make sure you start with a hot pan with oil. Cook in small batches to get even color on it, and don’t overcrowd it,” he says. “When forming meatballs, patties, or working with ground beef, dip hands in cold water so [the meat] doesn’t stick to your hands.”

To destroy any bacteria, it’s suggested to cook ground beef to a minimum internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. You can use a meat thermometer to help you check the temperature. Speaking of…

How important is a meat thermometer when cooking ground beef?

Chef Savarese explains that while a meat thermometer isn’t necessarily essential, it is helpful, so there is no harm in using one when you’re cooking beef.

“Using a meat thermometer isn’t so important unless you are making a meatloaf that has other ingredients like eggs,” Chef Savarese tells us. “Or if people are older or younger [who] have immune issues, then I suggest you use one and [be sure] serve the meat at 160 degrees.”

What’s the difference between minced beef and ground beef?

When you’re cooking with beef and following along with a recipe, you might see “minced beef” or “ground beef” listed. But have no fear, it’s the same type of meat, just chopped up differently.

Minced is usually done by hand and diced small, and ground beef is ground using a grinder with different sized dies,” Chef Savarese says.

How can I tell if the ground beef I want to cook with has gone bad?

One thing you want to be careful of when cooking meat is checking to make sure it’s not spoiled. Savarese’s advice is classic: if you see or smell anything suspicious with your meat, then it’s most likely not good anymore.

“Use your nose and sight. The color goes pretty fast on ground beef, so use your nose,” he advises. “Then, use your hands and check the texture: [if it’s] sticky and tacky, [then it’s] no good. Rule of the kitchen: ‘When in doubt, throw it out.'”

What can I make with ground beef?

From chili to Shepherd’s pie to tacos, the possibilities are endless.

Here, we’ve compiled a list of 17 of the best, healthy, easy-to-make ground beef recipes you can make right at home.

1

Slow Cooker Beef Chili

Whether it’s winter or summer, we say anytime is a good time for a hearty bowl of chili. This recipe features staples like ground beef, kidney and black beans, cheese, and veggies for a spicy, protein-packed meal that will fill you up, yet still have you wanting seconds.

Get the recipe from Averie Cooks.

2

Slow Cooker Lasagna With Ground Beef

No meal pleases a crowd better than lasagna, and this version is whipped up in a slow cooker, so all you have to do is layer in all the ingredients and let it cook for a few hours. It’s perfect for busy weeknights or when you still need to get the rest of your dinner party in order before your guests arrive. This lasagna goes classic, mixing ground beef, spinach, ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, and fresh basil. Is your mouth already watering?

Get the recipe from Gimme Some Oven.

3

Meatloaf

OK, so we know meatloaf has a very distinct look to it, but there is still plenty of ground beef in there that makes up the loaf, so we naturally had to include it in our recipe roundup. And why not return to a classic dish from your childhood? This meatloaf is juicy and tasty, and we promise it’s unlike the ones you’ve had before.

Get the recipe from RecipeTin Eats.

4

Shepherd’s Pie Loaded Baked Potatoes

Originally a way to use leftovers, Shepherd’s pie has become a menu staple in Irish pubs around the U.S. Channel your inner Irishman (or woman!) and whip up this savory meal—this time, it’s on top of baked potatoes!

Get the recipe from Cupcakes and Kale Chips.

5

Swedish Meatballs

Transport your tastebuds from Ireland to Sweden with these gravy-battered meatballs. Pair them with mashed cauliflower or veggie noodles for a balanced meal.

Get the recipe from Damn Delicious.

6

One-Pot Beef Stroganoff

If you’re looking for a classic meal that only requires one pot, this is the one for you. Not only is there less cleanup, but for this dish specifically, you’ll want the pasta to be perfectly coated in all the flavors that come from the ground beef and broth. What’s a good beef stroganoff if it’s not dripping in flavor, right?

Get the recipe from Taste & Tell.

7

Ground Beef and Broccoli

Drop the takeout menu once and for all with this recipe. When you’re craving Chinese food, it’s easy to just call your local restaurant, but why not try your hand at making classic dishes like beef and broccoli? This recipe is ready in 15 minutes and requires just one dish. Plus, you’ll be saving yourself tons of calories and eating a meal that isn’t drowning in sodium as takeout often tends to be.

Get the recipe from FiveHeartHome.

8

Taco Salad With Ground Beef

A twist on the basic taco is to turn it into a taco salad. But don’t worry, just because you’re ditching the shells (and saving yourself some calories!) you won’t miss them, as this recipe amps up every other ingredient. Yes, that means more meat, beans, and veggies! You can even skip the sour cream and swap in plain Greek yogurt in its place for an even healthier version.

Get the recipe from Averie Cooks.

RELATED: 150+ recipe ideas that get you lean for life.

9

Cheesy Avocado Quesadillas

Avocados are always a go-to weight-loss food, so why not add them to a quesadilla? According to research published in the journal Diabetes Care, a diet rich in monounsaturated fat can prevent abdominal body fat distribution by actually turning off certain fat genes. And that’s not all—a study published in Nutrition Journal found that participants who ate half a fresh avocado with lunch reported a 40 percent decreased appetite for up to 5 hours afterward. This idea has us thinking about stuffing less cheese and more avocado into our quesadillas.

Get the recipe from Damn Delicious.

10

Beef Enchiladas

When you’re craving Mexican food, don’t think about heading to the drive-thru when you can whip up some enchiladas right at home that are guaranteed to be the much healthier option. The best part about this recipe is that you can easily freeze the leftovers, so you’ll have more on hand.

Get the recipe from Diethood.

11

Stuffed Bell Peppers

It’s important to make sure you’re meeting your daily veggies servings, so why not make them the star of the dish? Here, bell peppers are stuffed with ground beef, rice, mushrooms, corn, plenty of herbs, and some cheese for a hearty dish that will truly leave you feeling full and satisfied.

Get the recipe from Foodie Crush.

12

Asian Beef Ramen Noodles

Ramen noodles might get a bad rep, but this recipe proves they can be tasty and hey, pretty good for you, too! With the addition of ground beef, onion, garlic, and beansprouts, you just need one pot and a few minutes to have this tasty meal ready to eat.

Get the recipe from RecipeTin Eats.

13

Ground Beef Stuffed Manicotti

Manicotti is one of those comfort foods you might turn to, and making these stuffed shells yourself will make you appreciate the dish even more. Pasta filled with meat, cheese, and sauce? Nothing is better. Plus, this is another meal you can easily freeze and heat up when you need a quick dinner. Pair it with a salad, and you’re good to go.

Get the recipe from Taste & Tell.

14

Fajita ‘Nachos’ With Avocado Crema

Fiber-filled bell peppers take the place of tortilla chips in this flavor-packed nacho recipe. Chili powder, ground cumin, salt, and garlic powder make up the fajita seasoning that gives the ground beef a special kick, and Greek yogurt, avocado, and lime juice make for a tangy avocado cream sauce.

Get the recipe from Fit Foodie Finds.

15

Ground Beef Tacos

All you need is 15 minutes to cook up this perfectly seasoned beef, and you’re on your way to some truly delicious tacos. You simply have to cook the meat in a skillet, and once it starts browning, you add in cumin, paprika, garlic powder, chili powder, salt, and pepper. This creates taco beef that isn’t saucy, so you can go ahead and add homemade pico de gallo to each taco for some added “sauce.”

Get the recipe from How Sweet Eats.

16

Crockpot Mexican Casserole

crock pot mexican casserole well plated recipe Courtesy of Well Plated

A crock pot or other slow cooker is a great way to whip up healthy dishes while cutting down on prep time. This Mexican casserole combines classic ingredients like black beans, ground beef, bell pepper, cheese, corn, and spices with protein-packed quinoa and Greek yogurt for a filling and wholesome meal.

Get the recipe from Well Plated by Erin.

17

Chimichurri Beef and Rice

If you’re not as familiar with chimichurri sauce, prepare to have your tastebuds awakened. The herb-based Argentinian sauce is usually paired with steak, but here, it’s added to ground beef and rice for a one-pan dinner you’re going to turn to again and again.

Get the recipe from Cooking Classy.

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