A delicious, cheesy hamburger casserole – a classic comfort food! I owe this very flavorful hamburger casserole recipe to Alix. Alix wrote, a few weeks ago, “I’m a big fan of you and your blog. I’m a university student who “went health nerd” a couple of years ago and frequently use your recipes. I recognize a lot of healthified childhood staples here. One “staple” I’m always looking for a healthier version of is a particular casserole I loved growing up. I guess you could call it a “hamburger casserole” – ground beef, pasta, pasta sauce, mozzarella, gravy … you know, all the food groups. I was wondering if you had a healthy version of this or a similar dish you could share. Would love to give it a try.”
Alix’s hamburger casserole sounded delicious, so I was happy to make a healthier version. I simply omitted the pasta, browned the ground beef and onions, added pizza sauce and cheese, and baked. This hamburger casserole is saucy, so definitely serve it on top of something – tonight I served it over plain shirataki noodles (make sure you rinse, boil and dry them in a hot skillet first), but cauliflower rice should work well too.
- Olive oil spray (make your own using a spray bottle)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 lb. lean ground beef
- 1 medium onion (6 oz), chopped
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 cup pizza sauce (Rao's has a clean ingredients list; their spicy tomato sauce is amazing)
- ½ cup (2 oz) sharp cheddar, shredded
- ½ cup (2 oz) part skim mozzarella, shredded
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a 1-quart baking dish with olive oil spray.
- Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat, about 3 minutes.
- Add the beef, onions, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often and breaking up the meat as it cooks into small chunks, until beef is no longer raw (a little pink is fine, it will continue cooking in the oven) and onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook, stirring, 1 more minute.
- Stir in the pizza sauce and mix until well-incorporated.
- Turn the heat off. Stir in the cheddar and mix until melted and incorporated into the beef mixture.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the mozzarella. Bake 30 minutes. While the casserole bakes, prepare your cauliflower rice or shirataki.
- Allow to rest 10 minutes outside the oven, then serve.