When I embarked on a healthier eating plan last year, one of my go-to dishes was Mexican ground beef recipes. To be honest, I had veered away from the meal for a while since my Italian mother used to make our tacos with marinara sauce when we were little (I kid you not… I still love you, Mom). Thankfully I gave the dish another try and learned I really liked the tasty meal when the meat was prepared the traditional way.
The meat (if it’s lean), veggies, and spices are actually pretty good for you, and I’ve found my favorite extras to include are onions and orange bell peppers, which tend to be just a little bit sweeter than the regular green variety. What’s more, it’s also such a versatile dish—you can eat it in lettuce wraps (my “better-for-me” go-to), puffy corn taco shells, burrito style, on top of a salad, or atop nachos on a splurge night. Below, find a few of our favorite Mexican ground beef recipes for extra busy weeknights (or any day, really).
BEEF PUFFY TACOS
We know this recipe says it’s for “tacos,” but you can use it for ground beef to make any of the aforementioned meals. It calls for sautéed onions and garlic, beef, and a seasoning of chili powder, cumin, paprika, onion powder, cayenne (for a kick), plus some salt and pepper. Cook the spiced meat in beef stock, and note that if it gets too watery, all you need is a bit of flour to thicken up the mixture.
BEEF AND BEAN BURRITOS
So maybe my mother wasn’t so wrong when it came to using tomato sauce on her tacos. This burrito recipe from Hola Jalapeño calls for adding tomato paste to the beef. Start by sautéeing some onions for about five minutes, and then add the meat. Before you put it in the pan, sprinkle it with a bevy of spices including cumin, oregano, and chili powder to bring on the flavor.
ONE-POT CHEESY TACO PASTA
Do you remember that amazing Hamburger Helper pasta-and-beef casserole you had as a kid? Well, this is the grown-up version, and all you need is one pan. Begin by browning the ground beef; then add salsa, taco seasoning, water, frozen corn, and your pasta of choice (no need to boil it first). Additional toppings are up to you, but we like diced tomatoes and small pieces of avocado.
crunchy ground beef tacos
What we love about each of these recipes is that the spices are just a little bit different, but it changes up the flavor so much. This particular taco recipe calls for you to incorporate tomato paste, garlic powder, smoked paprika, salt, onion powder, chili powder, cumin, and black pepper into the ground beef. The seasoned beef should be cooked through and then kept simmering for about five minutes for maximum yumminess.