8 Healthy Ground Beef Recipes That Are Weeknight Easy
Continuously rising grocery costs can make meat seem more like a luxury item than a weekly shopping staple. Thankfully, the affordability of ground beef allows us to still enjoy the protein source so many of us love, with the added bonus of being a quick-cooking choice.
Because people cannot live on burgers alone — though many of us certainly would if we could — we’ve collected eight different healthy recipes using ground beef. Whether you’re in the mood for a classically inspired meatloaf, a soba noodle salad, or a lasagna made with zucchini instead of pasta, we have a dinner recipe that you’ll want to put on your table soon.
While you can use any version of ground beef for these recipes, we recommend opting for grass-fed and finished if you’re looking (and cooking) for the best health value possible. Grass-fed beef is well-proven to have a better nutrient profile, from higher amounts of vitamin A and E to more omega-3 and antioxidants. It’s also naturally leaner, meaning you’ll get more protein per dollar spent.
Soba noodles are a healthier choice than their wheat counterparts because they’re made with buckwheat, which is actually a seed, not a grain, and has been shown to reduce cholesterol levels and have anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects. This spicy beef soba noodle salad pairs soba, ground beef, and thinly shredded vegetables with a Korean-inspired sauce. The fermented chili sauce known as gochujang adds heat and tang, soy sauce works in place of salt, and a squeeze of honey rounds things out nicely. And of course there’s plenty of fresh ginger and garlic to keep your immune system strong.
These lettuce wraps are inspired by larb gai, a dish that hails from northern Thailand and traditionally involves ground chicken, which you could absolutely use here as well. We love the non-traditional addition of the herby yogurt sauce, which is cool, creamy, and brightly flavorful. Swap out the sugar for coconut sugar or a little honey for a lower GI option, and feel free to throw in any vegetables you like — some julienned carrots and bell peppers would do well here.
Everyone knows the filling of an egg roll is the best part, and it’s also the healthiest. Feel free to cast those friable wraps aside for this inside-out egg roll recipe, which is full of the flavors we love in egg rolls without anything deep fried. Dark soy, sriracha, and sugar-free Swerve “brown sugar” give you everything you could want in an egg roll sauce, and the delightful filling includes lots of bean sprouts, cabbage, and scallions, along with plenty of ground beef. It can all be cooked in a single large pan, and comes together in 35 minutes from start to finish.
If you’ve never put golden raisins or cinnamon in your meatballs before, now’s the time to start. These Greek-inspired meatballs with quinoa and arugula salad will have you rethinking the way you used to make them, and you’ll be sold on the pairing of white quinoa and peppery arugula. Tossed with a simple dressing of lemon juice and olive oil, the arugula is perfectly light alongside the meatballs. Cook the meatballs on the stove or in the oven — whichever is easier for you.
It can be tricky to use zucchini slices as pasta, so we appreciate the salting and blotting efforts of this zucchini lasagna with bolognese sauce recipe because it will leave you with the ideal zucchini texture. The bolognese sauce is much faster and simpler than your average version, so don’t expect the ground beef to be melt-in-your-mouth soft like your grandma would make. That said, this recipe allows you to make a super-healthy lasagna in under an hour, so we don’t mind the quick version of this sauce one bit.
These beef burrito meal prep bowls are an excellent option for making lunch for up to four days ahead of time. This recipe calls for brown rice, but you can absolutely substitute for quinoa, cauliflower rice, or wild rice, if you prefer. This is a really balanced lunch option packed with protein, fiber-rich carbs, and healthy fats. We like to throw in some seared fajita vegetables, too, for added flavor, color, and vitamins.
So you know you can make noodles out of zucchini — aka zoodles — but the truth is you can spiralize tons of different vegetables, from broccoli stems (boodles) to sweet potatoes (swoodles) and yellow squash (yoodles? We have no idea, honestly. This vegetable noodle naming craze has gotten out of hand). Anyway, this recipe for yellow squash noodles with meatballs and olive tapenade is a delicious, healthful, and unusual way to enjoy a meatball “pasta dinner.”
Good food brings people together. So do good emails.