Ground Beef and Zucchini Casserole is a delicious one pot meal that cooks in under 30 minutes. Loaded with savory ground beef, zucchini, corn, fresh herbs, and tender orzo in a rich tomato sauce, it's an easy weeknight dinner recipe that gets dinner on the table fast.
Easy Zucchini Ground Beef Casserole is the perfect way to make the most of fresh veggies from your garden or farmer's market,
I also love making this in the dead of winter to remind me that summer is still a thing.
This really easy one pot dinner comes together with ground beef, lots of zucchini, corn, and quick-cooking orzo in a thick tomato sauce.
Finished with a flavor blast of fresh Parmesan and feta cheese, this is a delicious and easy casserole the whole family will love.
This zucchini hamburger casserole is a complete meal in one pot made even better with a simple salad and a fresh loaf of French bread.
Get ready for this to become your favorite zucchini casserole recipe.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
Easy one pot meal that cooks in 30 minutes
Hearty and meaty zucchini casserole dish filled with fresh veggies
Great meal prep recipe -- leftovers make great lunches!
Easy recipe for a delicious casserole even picky eaters will eat
More Delicious Recipes
Please see the recipe card at the bottom of the post for full list of ingredients and exact quantities.
Ground beef. I use 80-85% lean ground beef, but you can use even leaner ground beef.
Chili powder. Chili powder adds mild, smoky, savory flavor to the tomato sauce.
Red pepper flakes. A little pinch of red pepper flakes adds a little kick. You can skip this or use more to your preferences.
Balsamic vinegar. A splash of balsamic helps give the tomato sauce more of a "homemade" taste.
Tomato sauce. You can use store-bought or homemade tomato sauce.
Orzo pasta. Orzo is a small, oval, rice-shaped pasta that cooks right in the pan.
Fresh zucchini. Cut the zucchini into thick slices to keep it from getting too soft in the casserole.
Corn. You can use fresh, frozen, or canned corn.
Fresh herbs. Fresh herbs like basil, parsley, thyme. or oregano add flavor during cooking and after. Use whatever fresh herbs you have and love.
Beef broth. I like to use reduced-sodium beef broth so I can control the salt levels in the dish.
Put your own spin on your zucchini ground beef casserole with these easy swaps.
Ground beef. Any ground meat like ground turkey, ground pork, or ground chicken
Fresh garlic. ½ teaspoon garlic powder (or more, to your taste)
Italian seasoning. A combo of basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and marjoram
Diced tomatoes. Any canned tomatoes like crushed, stewed, or whole
Balsamic vinegar. Mix a little Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce with a bit of lemon juice and maple syrup.
Orzo. Ditalini pasta, a small tube-shaped pasta. It may need another minute or two to cook -- and a bit more liquid.
Zucchini. Yellow squash -- some larger yellow squash may become softer than zucchini when cooked
Cheese. Fresh mozzarella cheese, sharp cheddar cheese, pepper jack cheese, or whatever cheese you love
How to Make Ground Beef and Zucchini Casserole
1. Brown the ground beef.
Brown ground beef, diced onions, salt, and black pepper in a deep large skillet or Dutch oven over medium to medium-high heat.
Cook for about 8 minutes or until the beef is no longer pink.
Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two. Drain any excess fat.
2. Make the tomato sauce.
Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, Italian seasoning, chili powder, red pepper flakes, and fresh herbs to the meat mixture.
Stir and cook for 3 minutes.
3. Mix in the vegetables.
Add the beef broth, orzo, corn, and thick-cut zucchini slices.
Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low.
Cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes, stirring a few times, until the pasta is cooked. Add more liquid as needed.
4. Add cheese, serve, and enjoy!
Remove from the heat.
Stir in the Parmesan cheese and top with crumbled feta.
Serve with sliced tomatoes, sliced green onion, and more fresh herbs.
Storage, Freezing & Reheating
Store leftover ground beef zucchini casserole in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Freeze zucchini ground beef casserole in a freezer-safe container for 2-3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator.
Reheat individual servings in the microwave for 1-2 minutes until warmed through.
Cut the zucchini into thick slices so they don't become too soft.
This is a great recipe to experiment with flavors. Taste as you go and adjust the seasonings and herbs to suit your preferences.
Stir the orzo a few times as it cooks to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan and to see if you need to add more liquid
Freeze leftover tomato paste in one tablespoon portions and grab them as needed.
Yes. Freeze leftover casserole in an airtight container for 2-3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator.
No, there is no need to peel zucchini before adding it to your zucchini ground beef casserole. The thin skin is actually a good source of nutrition, so it's a great idea to keep it on.
Too much zucchini? Besides pawning it off on your neighbors and co-workers, there are tons of things you can do with your bumper crop of zucchini.
Zucchini is delicious in casseroles, soups, and stuffed bell peppers, shredded and mixed into cakes, breads, burgers, and meatballs, and diced raw and mixed into salsa and salads.
Get the Stuff I Use
This Lodge Dutch oven is a roomy 6 quarts, perfect for soups, stews, and one pot casseroles.
This OXO cheese grater comes apart and stores flat in my utensil drawer!
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Ground Beef and Zucchini Casserole
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 small onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 14.5 ounces diced tomatoes, undrained
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh basil, parsley, or thyme
- ¾ cup dry orzo
- 2 cups thick sliced zucchini
- 1 cup corn
- 1 ¼ cups beef broth
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
- ½ cup crumbled feta
- Place the ground beef and diced onion in a large deep skillet, pot, or Dutch oven over medium to medium-high heat. Season with salt and pepper. Brown ground beef until it is no longer pink. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Drain any excess fat.
- Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, Italian seasoning, chili powder, red pepper flakes, and fresh herbs. Stir and cook for 3 minutes.
- Add the broth, orzo, corn, and zucchini. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes, stirring a few times, until the pasta is cooked to al dente. Add more liquid as needed.
- Remove from the heat. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and top with feta. Serve with sliced tomatoes, sliced green onions, and more fresh herbs.