This Keto-friendly Italian Ground Beef Casserole Recipe makes a meal even the kids will love! It’s suitable for low-carb, ketogenic, Atkins, diabetic, LC/HF, and Banting diets. This casserole is a grown-up version of Beef-a-roni!
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Sometimes my recipe inspiration comes from gourmet magazines, sometimes it comes from a restaurant menu. For this recipe, however, my inspiration came from Chef Boyardee. Yes, you read that right!
Chef Boyardee products weren’t a regular on our menu, when I grew up. That made them a special treat. My brother’s favorite were the Spaghetti-O’s. My favorite was the Beef-a-roni.
This recipe is a grown-up and carbed-down version of the stuff you get in a can. A garlic infused tomato sauce is stirred into ground beef and onions. Oregano and basil add that Italian flavor we love in our red sauces. Cauliflower stands in for carb-laden pasta. It’s all topped off with melted cheese goodness.
I resisted the urge to top this baby off with some sort of upscale Italian cheese. Nope, what this casserole needed was a basic cheddar or cheddar blend. It’s all about being kid-friendly.
In this Keto-Friendly Ground Beef Italian Casserole Recipe, I melt the cheese under the broiler. Everything else is already completely cooked, so there’s no need for a long baking time. Just a few minutes under the broiler and the cheese turns into that melted goodness we all crave.
This recipe is a frugal, quick meal that everyone will love. Looking for other low carb casseroles to enjoy? Check out my Low-Carb Baked Seafood Casserole Recipe, this taco casserole from Joy Filled Eats, this cheddar chicken and broccoli casserole from Tasteaholics, this keto beef taco casserole, or my Ultimate Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole. Enjoy!
Keto-Friendly Italian Ground Beef Casserole Recipe
This Keto-friendly Italian Ground Beef Casserole Recipe makes a meal even the kids will love! It's suitable for low-carb, ketogenic, Atkins, diabetic, LC/HF, and Banting diets. It's a grown-up version of Beef-a-roni!
- 1 pound cauliflower chopped
- 1 pound ground beef
- 4 ounces white onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 15 ounces tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
- 1 1/2 cup cheddar or Mexican blend cheese finely shredded, quantity divided
Spray an 8" X 8" baking dish with a non-stick spray.
Place 1 1/2-2 inches of water in the lower part of a steamer. Bring water to a simmer. Place cauliflower in the upper part of the steamer, cover, and fit the upper part of the steamer over the simmering water. Steam cauliflower until tender--about 10-12 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground beef, breaking it into small pieces with a spoon. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the outside of the beef is browned. Drain if desired.
Add onions to the skillet. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the meat is cooked through and the onions are tender. Turn heat to medium. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Stir in the tomato sauce. Add the basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.
Bring mixture to a simmer, stirring frequently. When mixture comes to a simmer, stir in reserved cauliflower and 1/2 cup of the cheese.
When cheese has melted and cauliflower has reheated, taste and adjust seasoning. Transfer the mixture to the prepared 8 X 8 baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining cup of cheese over the top.
Place rack about 8 inches below heat element in oven. Preheat broiler. (If pan is not broiler-safe, set oven to 425º Fahrenheit.) Place the casserole under the broiler (or in preheated oven if using the non-broiler option) until cheese has melted as desired. Allow to cool slightly before serving.
Serving size: 1/9th of the recipe
Total fat (g): 13
Carbs (g): 6
Fiber (g): 2
Protein (g): 18
I see that you steam the cauliflower but don’t see anything after that on what to do with it.
I just fixed it. Thanks for letting me know.
Can I make this with zucchini instead of cauliflower ? What about cabbage?
You could probably make it with either one. Be aware that zucchini might add a bit more water.
What kind of tomato sauce did you use for low carb?
I don’t remember the brand I used. I just read all of the labels at the store and found the one that had the fewest carbs.Be careful because you need to look at the serving size too since each brand may use a different serving size.
I use Rao’s
I don’t see a response to this but I am
Wondering too. How do you cut the cauliflower?
I chop the cauliflower into medium sized pieces–maybe an inch or so, but each piece varies a bit in size.
Delicious!!! Everyone in the family loved this recipe. Thank you!❤️
I got the ok to make this again from my pickiest eldest daughter.
Glad she liked it enough to want it again! Picky kids can be the toughest!
This was AMAZING! Thank you!!
If I don’t have a steamer can I microwave the cauliflower?
Sure! That should work fine.
I’d like to use riced frozen cauliflower. Suggestions?
Riced frozen cauliflower would cook a lot faster than florets. I wonder if you even need to cook it before putting it in the casserole. Because it is frozen, it might add a bit of water to the dish and thin it out a bit. I think if I were to use it, I would just sauté it a few minutes in a bit of butter to get rid of excess moisture, then use it like I did the florets. You may be able to get away with just using it straight from the bag. Let me know how it goes!
Would using mozzarella cheese instead of cheddar/Mexican blend work?
Thank you for the recipe, I am excited to try it out!
I use frozen
Glass baking dish under the broiler? No problem?
I haven’t had any issues doing this for short periods of time. It literally takes only a minute or so. You won’t want to have the dish super-close to the heating element. Feel free to use another type of pan if you like. Of course, you should follow the instructions on your bakeware.
Ok… i jate people who change things… but i had to for various reasons.
All i had on hand was riced cauliflower… i cooked that for a few minutes…added to the rest of the ingredients..also I don’t have a broiler so just baked it for 15-20 minutes until the cheese was melted.
My husband loved it. Said it reminded him of rice instead of cauliflower. He thought it was one of the better ‘keto’ casseroles
I have made…
So… it was still a hit. Thank you for putting this recipe out… we very much appreciate it and will make it again..
We must think alike! I just made a taco casserole using riced cauliflower. It works beautifully and I didn’t even defrost it first. This one has to cook longer, though.
So if I am using the Trader Joe’s riced cauliflower-fresh, not frozen, do I need to cook it first? Or can I just add it and will the cooking of the casserole cook it enough? I dislike soggy cauliflower. Anything to save save time and a dish, lol!
For this recipe, I would cook it first since it’s really only in the oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese. If you prefer, you might be able to get away with not cooking it first if you use the baking instructions for our Low-Carb Mexican Taco Casserole. This bakes a lot longer and should cook the little bits of rice. I haven’t tried this, but I use frozen cauliflower rice in the Mexican casserole and it comes out fine.
Absolutely amazing, EVERYONE LOVED IT. Great way to stay keto.
Yay!I’ll take that as a win!
I only had rice cauliflower so I used about a cup and a half and it came out awesome! Hubby lived it too!
Yay! Glad you both enjoyed it!Cauliflower rice is a great substitution.
Hi, I’m wanting to assemble this in the morning and cook it at night. Should I not steam the cauliflower as long, since it will probably take longer to warm up after being in the fridge all day? Thoughts?
I think you could go ahead and lightly steam the cauliflower. I would assemble it and then refrigerate and then bake in a preheated 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 30-40 minutes or until bubbly in the center.
Well, lazy me decided to make this in my cast iron frying pan and then run it under the broiler. **I did steam the frozen cauliflower in its microwavable bag and then stir it in with the other ingredients just before adding the cheeses. MMMMM!
I used riced cauliflower worked nice! Looks great! First time making it. Tasted very good.
Yay! Glad it was a hit!
I wanted to know if I could substitute broccoli for the cauliflower, my grandkids hate cauliflower.
That should work fine. It will look and taste a bit different than the original recipe, but I think it would turn out.
First time making it and it was delicious! I love that it’s easy to make too
That keto-friendly Italian ground beef casserole looks absolutely fantastic. Beautiful photos, too. I look forward to trying this.
This is delicious. I will definitely make this again.
Oh my! This keto-friendly Italian ground beef casserole was delicious and so easy to make! Will have to try this for my family. Thanks so much!
I look forward to trying this recipe tonight!
Substituting the tomato sauce for pasata. Hopefully still taste good!
This keto friendly italian ground beef recipe looks delicious and I’m sure my family would love this. Thanks for sharing this. I hope to see more healthy new recipes from you!
Amazingly delicious! I used the already riced cauliflower and Paul Newmans tomato sauce.
Used 28oz can San Marzano tomatoes for the sauce. Doubled the amt. of ground beef. Used Parmesan & mozzarella cheeses to make it truly Italian. Kept the amt. of cauliflower the same.
this recipe woks like a charm just not really sure what to do with the caluflour
What is a serving size? One cup?
There are 9 servings in this recipe. I cut the casserole into 9 pieces like a hashtag so the serving size is 1/9th of the recipe..
I already had riced cauliflower so I used that and it came out absolutely wonderful!! I have been doing a keto-friendly diet with my extended family and I have a feeling this will be a winner!! We have been doing a lot of taco meat but I wanted something different and am so glad I tried this!! Delicious!!