This Taco Casserole elevates Taco Tuesday to a whole new level! Easy and healthy, this is a weeknight dinner idea your whole family will love.
We all know and love taco night, but let’s bring it to another level with this Taco Casserole! It has all the delicious taco components in one delicious taco bake. Ground beef (with veggies, of course), cheese, and layers of tortillas make this irresistible. I hope this one finds a place in your regular weeknight dinner rotation–I know it’s going to be in mine!
But can a casserole actually be healthy? Aren’t casseroles generally filled with an overload of cheese and condensed soup and the like?
Actually, casseroles can be healthy if you’re intentional with the ingredients and their amounts. That’s what I’ve done for you here. I’ve carefully chosen the ingredients for this taco casserole in just the right amounts to make this a well-balanced, healthy dinner choice. Ready to go? Let’s take a look!
Recipe Ingredients–What You Need
Grass-Fed Ground Beef
Beef gets a bad name, but it does have a number of important nutrients. Beef is rich in vitamins B12, B3, and B6. It’s also an excellent source of bioavailable iron, selenium, and zinc. Choosing grass-fed ground beef is important. Grass-fed ground beef is leaner ground beef than conventional beef (up to 2/3 lower in fat and calories!), and it also has a much better ratio of omega-three fatty acids to omega-six fatty acids.
Meat (and dairy products) from grass-fed cows are the richest known source of another type of good fat called Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA). Beef products from cows raised on grass and forage alone, can contain up to 5 times more CLA than those raised conventionally.
CLA is an important fat! It may be one of our most potent defenses against cancer according to a number of studies. (source)
With all of that said, there are options for a ground beef substitute if you prefer. You can use ground turkey in the same amount. Want this to be vegetarian? 2 cans of lentils in place of the beef will do the trick!
Crushed tomatoes are a great source of lycopene, which is an important antioxidant. Lycopene has been shown to have a number of health benefits, including reducing the risk of some types of cancer (source).
Tomatoes are also a good source of vitamins C and K as well as potassium.
Canned crushed tomatoes make this recipe super easy! They’re added to the taco base and create a tomato sauce for the ground beef.
Red Bell Pepper
I add red bell pepper to this taco casserole for an extra vegetable! Red bell peppers are an excellent source of vitamins A and C. They’re also a good source of fiber, folic acid, and B vitamins. Green peppers will work here, as well, if that’s your preference.
The bell pepper is diced small and added in with the taco meat for extra flavor and nutrition.
Yellow onion is a good source of chromium, which is a mineral that helps the body regulate blood sugar levels. Onions are also a good source of fiber and vitamins C and B-complex.
I add one small yellow onion to this taco casserole recipe. If you or your family are not onion fans, you can omit it. My kids are pretty picky about onions, but didn’t even notice these. Just dice them small enough and they’ll add flavor and nutrition without anyone even knowing they’re there!
I use my homemade taco seasoning for this recipe. It ‘s easy to make and keeps for a long time in the pantry. Plus, it’s free of any funky ingredients you can’t pronounce!
If you don’t have time to make your own taco seasoning, no worries. You can use a store-bought taco seasoning. Just be sure to check the label and choose one with high quality ingredients.
I recommend looking for organic or NON-GMO certified tortillas for your taco casserole. I used corn, but flour tortillas will work here as well. I actually use a tortilla that’s a blend of corn and wheat. Finding high quality tortillas isn’t easy, so make sure to pay attention to the ingredients. Look to avoid hydrogenated fats and additives like mono- and diglycerides.
Shredded Mexican Cheese
It can’t be a taco casserole without a little cheese, am I right? I didn’t overdo it, but added just enough to add that flavor and texture you crave. Cheese does provide some nutrition including calcium, phosphorus, and B vitamins.
I used a Mexican blend of four different cheeses.
Want to add more to your Taco Casserole? Here are some additional add-ins to make it even more hearty! Choose one or two of these to add to the beef mixture to customize for your family.
- black beans
- pinto beans
- green chiles
This delicious Taco Casserole is great when topped with your favorite traditional taco toppings. Here are some ideas:
- green onions
- crunchy tortilla chips
- jalapeno pepper
- sour cream
And that’s it for ingredients! Now let’s get cooking.
How to Make a Taco Casserole
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the onions, peppers, and ground beef.
- Cook the vegetables and beef until the beef is browned and the vegetables softened.
- Drain any excess grease from the pan.
- Add the can of crushed tomatoes and taco seasoning mix and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. The liquid should evaporate some and make a thicker mixture.
- Meanwhile, cut your tortillas into strips.
- In a square casserole dish, spread 1/3 of the ground beef mixture to the bottom of the dish. Top with 1/3 of the shredded cheese. Finally, cover the beef and cheese with tortilla strips for a tortilla layer.
- Repeat this process, ending with a final layer of beef and cheese on top.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Allow to rest for 10 minutes, then add any favorite taco toppings, then slice and serve.
Your whole family is going to love this delicious dish! It’s such an easy dinner idea and we think this can be served without anything on the side. But if you have hungry, hungry teenagers add some brown rice or Mexican rice as a side dish and they’ll be nice and full!
If you love Mexican recipes and Mexican-inspired flavors, I have some more recipes you may enjoy. Try these Cauliflower Tacos or these Crockpot Chicken Tacos. These Vegetarian Taco Bowls are really tasty and you’ll also love this Vegan Taco Salad! For even more taco night ideas, try these Black Bean Tacos or these Taco Stuffed Zucchini Boats. I’d say you have Taco Tuesday covered for a while.
If you make this Taco Casserole, or any of my other healthy recipes, please let me know! I’d love to see a photo–share it on Instagram and I’ll feature you. Please leave a comment and star rating below. It really helps other readers know which recipes are tried and true!Print