Ground Beef Casserole with Cauliflower Rice

4.81 from 124 votes
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Ground Beef Casserole is packed with fresh spinach, beef, and cheese, then combined with cauliflower rice and baked. A low-carb and Keto casserole the whole family will love.

Serving cheesey ground beef cauliflower casserole in a white baking dish


 

This ground beef casserole is an easy and delicious dinner recipe! Casseroles make everyone’s lives easier, and this one is a true timesaver. It is a fusion of lean ground beef and fluffy cauliflower rice, all baked to bubbly perfection. It requires minimal prep, and then you just pop it in the oven and forget about it for the next 30-ish minutes.

It’s low-carb and Keto, too. Swapping traditional rice for cauliflower rice significantly lightens the dish, making it not just tasty but also waistline-friendly. Get ready to make a meal that’s perfect for a cozy family dinner or as a meal prep solution, packing nutrition, convenience, and a whole lot of yum into one dish!

Why We Love This Ground Beef Casserole

  • Nutritious. This recipe is the epitome of comfort food but without guilt. The lean ground beef provides a protein boost, and the cauliflower rice offers a low-carb alternative to traditional grains. We add extra veggies like spinach for added sustenance.
  • Quick. The recipe is quick, making it a perfect choice for busy weeknights. This casserole can be on the table in 30 minutes.
  • Easy. Only uses simple, easy-to-find ingredients you’ll likely spot in your pantry and fridge.
Scooping out ground beef cauliflower rice from a baking dish.

Ingredients You’ll Need

This easy ground beef casserole recipe is quick to put together and perfect for feeding a crowd! It’s a comforting dish made with wholesome and simple ingredients, swapping out rice for cauliflower.

  • Olive oil: For sautéing the onions and garlic. You could use any other neutral cooking oil.
  • Yellow onion: White onion is a suitable substitute.
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic is almost always my go-to, but garlic powder (1/4 teaspoon per clove) will also work.
  • Ground beef: If you’d instead use ground turkey or ground chicken, that’s okay, too!
  • Italian Seasoning: You can also use a blend of dried oregano, basil, and thyme.
  • Sweet paprika: Adds a mild, sweet pepper flavor. Smoked paprika or regular paprika also works.
  • Salt and black pepper: Enhances the overall flavor of the casserole.
  • Baby spinach: Adds freshness and nutrients.
  • Frozen cauliflower rice: Substitute with cooked white rice or brown rice.
  • Sour cream: Adds creaminess to the dish..
  • Butter: Helps to blend the ingredients.
  • Dried basil: Adds a subtle herb flavor, or you could also add in dried oregano or parsley.
  • Milk: Helps with the desired creaminess.
  • Shredded Italian blend cheese: For the topping. Any shredded cheese you prefer.

    How to Make Ground Beef Casserole

    I can’t wait for you to make my tried-and-true recipe for the best ground beef casserole with cauliflower rice, packed with simple everyday ingredients and loads of cheese! Follow the step-by-step instructions below.

    1. Preheat: Set your oven to preheat to 375˚F.
    2. Saute: Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic.
    3. Brown: Add the ground beef and season it with Italian Seasoning, salt, and pepper. Continue to cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon until the beef is completely browned.
    4. Add: Add in the spinach. You might have to do this in batches, depending on the size of your skillet. Stir frequently for 1 more minute or until the spinach is wilted. Remove the skillet from the heat, drain liquid from the skillet, and set it aside.
    5. Combine: In a baking dish, combine cauliflower rice, sour cream, butter, and dried basil. Stir and mix until everything is completely combined and creamy. Add the prepared beef mixture to the baking dish and stir until everything is incorporated. Then, top it all with shredded cheese.
    6. Bake: Bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until the juices are bubbly and cheese is melted.
    7. Serve: Remove the dish from the oven and let stand for several minutes before cutting and serving.

    Recipe Tips

    • Be sure to let the casserole rest before serving. This will allow it to firm up and make it even prettier and more yummy on your plate. Trust me, it’ll be worth the wait.
    • Don’t cover the casserole. I know, that’s like casserole blasphemy, but since everything is already cooked and warm, it’s really not necessary. Baking it uncovered will allow the cheese to get bubbly and melty, which I really like!
    • More veggies? No problem. If you want to add more veggies to this casserole, you could throw in some diced and sauteed carrots, or some frozen peas or corn.
    • Meat options. You can opt to use ground turkey, ground pork, or sweet Italian sausage in place of the ground beef, if you prefer.
    • Make A Day Ahead: Prep this casserole in the morning or the night before, and tightly cover it. Keep it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake it. For even cooking, take the casserole out of the fridge about 15 to 20 minutes before it goes into the oven.
    Ground beef cauliflower casserole sliced with melted cheese over the top

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Should I cook the cauliflower rice before adding it to the baking dish?

    Yes and No. I have tried this casserole with both methods, and it works either way, but you should thaw the cauliflower if frozen because it’s easier to work it in the sauce. However, I prefer to precook it because it’s much easier to get a creamy consistency when the cauliflower is warm.

    How can I make this recipe vegetarian?

    This casserole can definitely be modified to be vegetarian. My favorite way to do that is by using mushrooms in place of ground beef. Mushrooms have a hearty meat-like flavor, and I bet you won’t even miss the meat! Another option is to make a lentil-based ground meat substitute. This is commonly done as a taco meat substitute and could work easily here. 

    Can I freeze a casserole before baking?

    This ground beef casserole makes for a great freezer meal. I love to make it for my new mom friends or where a parent has just undergone surgery. This is also a great freezer meal idea for meal prep, making weeknight dinners a little easier for you. This casserole can stay in the freezer for about 3 months. All you have to do is defrost it and bake it in the oven when ready.

    Overhead view of Cheesy Ground Beef Cauliflower Rice Casserole in a baking dish.

        How to Store Leftovers

        Once the casserole is baked, leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

        To reheat, allow the casserole to reach room temperature, then heat it at 375˚F until warmed throughout. For individual portions, scoop your desired amount into a bowl and microwave, stirring midway, until hot.

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          4.81 from 124 votes

          Ground Beef Casserole

          This ground beef casserole with cauliflower rice is easy to put together and perfect for feeding a crowd! It's a comforting dish made with simple ingredients.
          Prep Time: 15 minutes
          Cook Time: 25 minutes
          Total Time: 45 minutes
          Servings: 4

          Ingredients 

          • 1 tablespoon olive oil
          • 1 small yellow onion, diced
          • 3 cloves garlic, minced
          • 1 pound lean ground beef
          • 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
          • ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
          • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
          • 6 ounces fresh baby spinach
          • 10 ounces frozen cauliflower rice, cooked according to the directions on the bag
          • 1 cup sour cream, or plain yogurt
          • 1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
          • ½ teaspoon dried basil
          • 2 to 3 tablespoons milk, if needed
          • 8 ounces shredded Italian blend cheese, or any other shredded cheese that you have/prefer
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          Instructions 

          • Preheat the oven to 375˚F.
          • Heat the olive oil in a large 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for 20 seconds.
          • Add ground beef and season it with Italian Seasoning, paprika, salt, and pepper.
          • Continue to cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, and cook until beef is completely browned.
          • Add in spinach – you might have to do this in batches, depending on the size of your skillet – cook, stirring frequently, for 1 more minute or until spinach is wilted.
          • Remove from heat, drain the liquid from the skillet, and set aside.
          • In a 9×13-inch baking dish, combine cooked cauliflower rice, sour cream, butter, and dried basil; stir and mix until completely combined and creamy. If sour cream and butter aren’t melting completely, stir in some milk. The cauliflower rice should be warm enough to melt the butter.
          • Add prepared beef mixture to the baking dish; stir until everything is completely incorporated. Top with shredded cheese.
          • Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, or until bubbly and cheese is melted.
          • Remove from oven and let stand for 7 to 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

          Notes

          • Add vegetables. Feel free to add more veggies like sauteed carrots or frozen peas.
          • Substitutes. Swap ground beef with turkey, chicken, pork, or Italian sausage.
          • Don’t cover. Avoid covering the casserole with foil before baking to let the cheese melt and bubble up.
          • Rest. Let the casserole rest for a few minutes after baking and before serving.
          • Make ahead. Prep the casserole a day ahead, store it in the fridge, and bring it to room temperature 15-20 minutes before baking.

          Nutrition

          Serving: 10ounces | Calories: 553kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 120mg | Sodium: 314mg | Potassium: 982mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 4556IU | Vitamin C: 49mg | Calcium: 274mg | Iron: 5mg

          Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

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          186 Comments

          1. Lisa Blaser says:

            Made this tonight mainly because I had the ingredients and we just loved it! Low carb, easy and delicious. Highly recommend. Great weekend dinner on a cold night. I used herb and garlic cauliflower rice. The flavors were perfect.

          2. Donna says:

            Can you use yogurt in place of sour cream?

          3. Andrea B says:

            Made this tonight. I made a few substitutions as of what I had in the house. I didn’t have a spinach, so I threw in some cooked broccoli I had. Used some cream cheese in place of all the sour cream and jalapeño cheddar cheese. Husband and I liked it very much.

          4. Sheryl says:

            Made this last night. Since I was missing spinach and dried basil, it was pretty good. I will make it again, I bet it will be better.

          5. Pamela McCulley says:

            Love these recipes!! Presentation says it all!!!

          6. HelStu says:

            Absolutely delicious! Hits all the taste-buds. Cheesy, savoury, piping hot, mmmmmmmm! Whole family enjoyed it. I make a whole casserole of it for myself and freeze individual portions for a quick re-heat in the air fryer now. No excuses for high carb snacking, I’ve got a delicious portion of this ready in minutes while I whip up some veggies or a little salad for my side.

          7. AlanC says:

            What an excellent recipe- excess cauliflower from the garden is a problem no more!

          8. Nicole says:

            Hate cooking, LOVED this recipe! Crazy delicious! My husband is on gluten free, dairy free diet so I had to make a few dairy changes but it was still so tasty. SO happy to have new, healthy recipe to add to his limited repertoire! Thanks!

          9. Erin says:

            SO good, loved this! Will definitely be making again.

          10. Summer says:

            None of my family members (me included) liked this, which is so sad since I love all the ingredients separately! For some reason it just didn’t taste great together for us. There was a weird “sweetness” to the dish. Maybe it’s because we used Lactaid sour cream, which is slightly sweeter than normal. Also…didn’t care for the Italian seasoning and basil in it. This recipe might’ve tasted better with Mexican seasonings instead, like a taco casserole or dip for tortilla chips.