Ground Beef Taco Casserole

Tacos are delicious. They are the best.


They are kind of messy to eat. And that’s okay if you’ve got lots of napkins. Or you’re at home with clothes on that you are willing to sacrifice to the taco experience. I know if you don’t overload the taco shell and instead use the just-right amount of tasty filling, they won’t explode and drip down your hands and all over your shirt. I also know that’s not ever going to happen.

Making this casserole eliminated the problem. I was able to eat Ground Beef Taco Casserole without having to do a load of laundry or smell like tacos for the rest of the evening. Yay.

Here’s how the casserole comes together:

First thing to do is to get the ground beef and cook it.

Ground beef.

Next thing to do: prepare the vegetables.

Onion, red pepper and garlic.

Chopped onion, red pepper and garlic.

Onion, red pepper and garlic, chopped.

After that, drain and rinse the pinto beans.

Pinto Beans.

Now that the ground beef is cooked…

Cooked ground beef.

…take it out of the pan and put the chopped vegetables in.

Cooking the onion, pepper and garlic.

While the vegetables are cooking, grate the cheese.

Two piles of cheese.

There is time enough to measure the spices.

The spices.

After the vegetables have cooked for 5 minutes, add the ground beef, pinto beans…

Add the pinto beans (hte whatfoodimade action shot™!).

…just-measured spices and seasonings to the pan.

Cook for 2 more minutes.

After those 2 minutes of cooking, take the pan off the heat and add the salsa and 3/4 of a cup of the grated cheese.

Add the salsa and some of the cheese.

Load all the ingredients into a baking dish.

Loaded in a casserole dish.

Top with the rest of the cheese and bake in a preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Covered with cheese.

Ground Beef Taco Casserole.


While waiting for the casserole to cook (or while letting it stand out of the oven after it’s been cooked if you’re quick), chop the lettuce, dice the tomato and find the sour cream. Use these on top of each serving.

Ground Beef Taco Casserole.

The recipe:

Ground Beef Taco Casserole
Serves 4 to 6

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for the baking dish
1 pound ground beef
1 medium white or yellow onion, diced
1 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste
15 ounces tomato salsa
1 1/2 cups shredded mild cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, divided
1 cup chopped romaine lettuce
1 medium tomato, diced
Greek yogurt or sour cream, for serving

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350℉. Coat a 9×13-inch baking dish with oil; set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large, high-sided skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the beef and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until browned and cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a plate, then drain any fat from the skillet.

Reduce the heat to medium, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil, and heat until shimmering. Add the onion, pepper, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally until softened, about 5 minutes. Return the beef to the pan and stir in the beans. Add the chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, and tomato paste, and stir to combine. Cook for 2 minutes.

Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the salsa and 3/4 cup of the cheese. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle with the remaining 3/4 cup cheese.

Bake until the cheese is melted and casserole is heated through, about 20 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Top with lettuce and tomato, and serve with Greek yogurt or sour cream.

Recipe Notes
Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.


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