It’s no secret that ground turkey and chicken have become fan-favorite ground beef substitutes. In taco bowls, pasta sauces, stuffed peppers and more, these white meat alternatives have spread their wings and taken over the meat department in supermarkets all over. While we still love a good ground beef burger or chili from time to time, there’s something about revisiting and lightening up an old favorite recipe that’s so satisfying. Here’s the thing, though: Have you stopped to wonder if, from a nutrition standpoint, these alternatives are really better than beef? The answer can vary, as health isn’t one-size-fits-all. And, of course, we all have different relationships to food. But, and here’s a spoiler, if you follow a high-fat diet, are looking for a simple solution to your meal prep woes, or are on the search for easy low carb recipes with ground beef, this is the article for you.
We’re here to break down the benefits of the popular animal protein, why it’s great for batch cooking, and share 11 recipes that are low carb but high in deliciousness. Let’s dive in.
Is Ground Beef Good for You?
Ground beef is a good option for ketogenic diets because of its high fat content. Chicken and turkey are often leaner than ground beef, so if you’re someone who follows a keto diet, you’ll find ground beef to be a better choice.
What Type of Ground Beef is Best for Low Carb Recipes?
If you’re following a ketogenic diet, 80% lean, 20% fat is a good option for bringing that high fat content. Feel free to opt for a lower lean percentage if you’d like.
Can Ground Beef be Frozen?
If you like to meal prep, buying ground beef in bulk at the beginning of the week is an easy way to cut time out of cooking. Just divide the portions for each recipe into zip-top bags, flatten the meat as much as you can, press out any excess air and freeze! You can keep the meat frozen for up to four months.
How Do You Thaw Ground Beef?
One benefit of flattening the ground beef before freezing is that it thaws more quickly! More surface area = faster defrosting = less time from freezer to table. Depending on how flat your meat is, you can defrost ground beef in the refrigerator in under two hours. Or, you can run a frozen bag under cold water to thaw it in under ten minutes! Just place the bag in a bowl in the sink, let the cool water run over it, and voila! Defrosted meat, in a pinch.
What Kinds of Recipes Use Ground Beef?
All kinds! Ground beef is perfect for meatballs, soups, stuffed veggies, pastas, bowls, and so much more. Below are some of our favorite easy low carb recipes with ground beef that will make you (and your stomach) fall in love.
Feature image by Tieghan Gerard
Persian Pomegranate & Pistachio Meatballs
Why We Love It: These easy lamb and beef meatballs bring together nutty pistachios and sweet pomegranate to create something unique, unforgettable, and undeniably tasty. Plus, you can make them a few days in advance and pop them in the oven when you’re ready to serve. From dinner party to date night, these meatballs are sure to impress.
Hero Ingredient: Red pepper flakes bring a little heat to create that sweet and spicy balance we all love. Business in the front and party in the back, no?
Why We Love It: This lasagna has all the components of your favorite comfort food while still packing in plenty of veggies. It’s gluten-free, dairy-free and just plain delicious. Plus, zucchini ribbons take the place of pasta here so you can enjoy an Italian favorite without the bloat.
Hero Ingredient: Homemade pesto really makes this dish shine with its herby, garlicky glow. You’ll also likely have some left over for the rest of the week. Always a win.
Sunday Meatballs from Half-Baked Harvest
Why We Love It: Simple and bursting with flavor, these easy meatballs are a winner any day of the week. These delights are moist, well-seasoned, and—best of all—cheesy. They’re welcome in my kitchen any time.
Hero Ingredient: For this recipe, I’ll call it a “hero method.” Soaking the bread in milk before using it to build the meatballs is key. Moist bread = moist meatballs = happiness.
Healthy Shepherd’s Pie from The Modern Proper
Why We Love It: Talk about comfort food! Shepherd’s pie is about as comfy as it gets. And this recipe is no exception. With a few healthy swaps, this reimagined shepherd’s pie brings the lovable warmth of the traditional pie to a lighter level.
Hero Ingredient: Parsnip purée sits atop rich, saucy beef and veggies to create the perfect balance of tomato-sauciness and creaminess. With a just-browned top, plunging your fork (or spoon?) into the pillowy purée is just magical.
Mexican Stuffed Peppers from Foodie Crush
Why We Love It: This one-pan-wonder is perfect to whip up on busy weeknights because it’s low on prep and high on flavor. Or, if you make them ahead of time, these stuffed peppers can even be cooked from frozen. It’s the weeknight recipe you’ve been waiting for.
Hero Ingredient: You can use either store-bought or homemade salsa to spice up your stuffed peppers—just make sure it’s a good one. Salsa is a one-step addition that accounts for the garlic, tomatoes, and spices in the filling. Choose wisely!
Taco Stuffed Avocados With Chipotle Sauce and Cilantro Lime Ranch from Half-Baked Harvest
Why We Love It: These taco stuffed avocados are a refreshing addition to your weekly rotation for when taco night seems a little bland. They’re loaded with texture and flavor and make for the most satisfying lunch or dinner.
Hero Ingredient: Chipotle sauce, obviously. Tieghan uses mango-pineapple jam, chipotle peppers, and orange juice to bring this dynamic sauce to life. It’s the perfect complement to that oh-so-creamy avocado.
Taco Soup from The Modern Proper
Why We Love It: Gone are the days of juggling meat-seasoning, lime-cutting, cheese-sprinkling, and tortilla-warming all at once. This recipe combines all the flavors and ingredients of taco night into one tasty bowl. Sign me up.
Hero Ingredient: Homemade taco seasoning is the unsung hero of this soup. With chili powder, paprika, and cumin bringing all the smoky and savory flavor, you can’t go wrong with this foolproof mix.
Korean-Inspired Ground Beef and Kimchi Bowls from The Defined Dish
Why We Love It: This Korean-inspired beef and kimchi bowl is so easy to throw together on weeknights and packs a bunch of different flavors into one lively bowl.
Hero Ingredient: Thinly-sliced cucumber acts as a cooling palate cleanser between flavor-filled bites. Crisp, refreshing, and mild, this veggie topper is the perfect finish for these easy ground beef bowls.
20-Minute Thai Basil Beef and Lemongrass Rice Bowls from Half-Baked Harvest
Why We Love It: When I’m craving Thai food in a pinch, I usually opt for takeout. Let’s face it, it takes time and patience to do it justice. But this bowl defies all boundaries and delivers complex Thai flavors in less than 30 minutes. Consider me sold.
Hero Ingredient: Fresh basil and toasted sesame seeds are quintessential flavor and texture components that really elevate this dish.
Spaghetti Squash Meatball Boats from Fed + Fit
Why We Love It: Nutty, slightly sweet spaghetti squash is, hands down, one of my favorite vegetables to use all throughout the year. Not only is it versatile, but it’s so easy to throw in the oven with the skin on. The same is true for these spaghetti squash meatball boats. The roasted, caramelized tops cap off the squash’s soft interior that makes you want to dig right in. This one will have you hooked, trust me.
Hero Ingredient: Once again, you can opt for store-bought or homemade tomato sauce depending on your commitment level here. No judgement either way.
Sunday Chili from Pinch of Yum
Why We Love It: I’m not the biggest fan of beans in chili, but this one works. While you aren’t getting a bean in every bite, there’s enough to make the chili a little heartier. It’s thick, spicy, and deliciously rich. And the best part is, your leftovers will taste even better than they did for dinner.
Hero Ingredient: Bacon gives this chili a next-level spin. It brings all kinds of fatty, smoky flavors that make this chili a must-try for your next easy weeknight dinner. Easy dinner, done.
What’s your favorite ground beef recipe? Share the link with us below!
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