This straightforward Beef Zucchini Casserole is a tasty and pleasing pasta bake, loaded with garlicky beef, tender veggies, hearty orzo, and three sorts of melty cheese. The right dinner for colder climate!
A Garlicky, Beefy Pasta Bake with Loads of Melted Cheese
Casserole season is right here! It’s official. 🎉 And, I’m kicking us off with this garlicky, beefy, tacky pasta bake, a.ok.a. beef zucchini casserole. This recipe is simply the ticket to ease us into cozy Fall dinners!
With all its comforting taste and heat, melty deliciousness, my meaty zucchini casserole goes to be on common rotation from now till spring. I can nearly assure it! 👌
I make this straightforward casserole with floor beef, tender-cooked orzo pasta, and veggies, plus tons of cheese (naturally). It’s hearty, it’s filling. It’s every part I dream about in a Sunday dinner. All of the elements get sautéed in a single pan, after which the oven does the remaining.
What You’ll Want
Let’s go over what you’ll have to make this delectable beef zucchini casserole. Under is a roundup of the elements, with the total quantities obtainable within the recipe card:
- Orzo: This can be a sort of small pasta you’ll find in most grocery shops. It appears a bit like rice, however it’s not a grain! See under.
- Olive Oil: For sautéeing the elements.
- Zucchini: You’ll want about 1 pound of zucchini (sizes could fluctuate), sliced into skinny rounds. I used 2 massive zucchini.
- Seasoning: Italian Seasoning, salt, and freshly cracked black pepper.
- Onion: Yellow onion, diced
- Garlic: Contemporary cloves, minced.
- Floor Beef: Lean floor beef
- Crushed Tomatoes: Canned crushed tomatoes.
- Cheese: Shredded mozzarella cheese, part-skim ricotta cheese, and shredded parmesan cheese.
- Herbs: Dried basil, dried thyme for extra seasoning, plus chopped contemporary basil for garnish.
Does Orzo Style Like Rice?
Although it appears like massive grains of rice, orzo is definitely an Italian pasta created from semolina flour. So it tastes like pasta! Orzo is tender, chewy, and agency, a bit like a bigger model of couscous (which can be created from wheat semolina).
How you can Make Beef Zucchini Casserole
- Whereas the oven heats to 375˚F, take out and grease a 9×13 casserole dish. Set this apart and get your orzo boiling based on the instructions on the bundle. In the meantime, begin on the opposite casserole elements:
- Cook dinner the Zucchini: Sauté the zucchini slices in a scorching skillet with Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper in a little bit of oil. After a couple of minutes, switch the zucchini to a big bowl.
- Add Orzo: As soon as cooked, drain the orzo pasta and blend it into the bowl with the zucchini. Put aside.
- Cook dinner the Beef: Set your skillet again on the range with extra olive oil. Sauté the diced onions, then stir within the garlic earlier than including the bottom beef. Break up and stir the meat with a wood spoon whereas it browns, tossing in one other pinch of salt. Proceed to sear the meat till it’s cooked by.
- Mix: Be sure that to empty the cooked beef of any extra fats, then add it to the bowl with the orzo and zucchini. Subsequent, add the crushed tomatoes to the orzo combination, adopted by the mozzarella, ricotta, and parmesan. Give the combination a sprinkle with the dried herbs, and toss to mix earlier than spreading the combination into your prepped baking dish.
- Bake: High the meat casserole with one other layer of mozzarella cheese and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or till the casserole is effervescent and cheese is melted. When the casserole is out of the oven, depart it to take a seat for about 10 to fifteen minutes earlier than garnishing and serving.
Suggestions, Tips, and Variations
How do you make a tremendous beef zucchini casserole even MORE of a hit? Let’s focus on:
- Drain the Beef: Floor beef tends to leak loads of liquid because it browns. Make sure you drain this off, together with any extra grease, to keep away from an overly-oily casserole.
- Make It In a Skillet: This casserole recipe will be made completely in a heavy-bottomed skillet! Sauté the elements as directed. As an alternative of including the meat to the zucchini and orzo, drain the bottom beef after which add the orzo combination, tomatoes, and cheese into the skillet with the meat. Stir to mix after which prepare dinner till bubbly. Add the mozzarella after which place the lid over the skillet to soften the cheese.
- Use Floor Turkey: For a leaner casserole, you may make this recipe utilizing floor turkey or floor rooster as a substitute.
- Totally different Pasta: For those who can’t get your palms on orzo pasta, be at liberty to sub in one other small pasta form.
- Extra Veggies: Be happy to vary up or add much more veggies to this beefy casserole! Strive diced carrots, celery, broccoli, or bell peppers.
- Hearth-Roasted Tomatoes: That is one strategy to actually up the flavour of the tomatoes on this recipe! Use canned fire-roasted tomatoes instead of common crushed tomatoes.
Yummy Serving Recommendations
This casserole checks all of the containers as a tasty meal all by itself. Protein? Test. Veggies? Yep. Pasta? You’ve acquired it. However, in case you wish to “beef” up your subsequent dinner even additional (pun meant), listed here are some straightforward serving strategies for beef zucchini casserole:
Storing and Reheating Tips
What kind of casserole would this be if it didn’t reheat like a dream? This zucchini bake is nice to make forward to maintain within the fridge or freezer (see under), or to retailer for leftovers throughout the week.
- As soon as it’s cooled off, wrap the baked casserole in plastic wrap or foil to refrigerate for as much as 5 days.
- I like to recommend reheating this casserole complete or in parts, within the oven, coated with foil. Preheat the oven to 350ºF after which bake till the casserole is heated by as soon as extra. You too can zap platefuls within the microwave as a quicker possibility.
Can I Freeze This?
- Sure! Tacky beef zucchini casserole freezes superbly. Wrap the cooled casserole in a layer of plastic wrap, adopted by an additional layer of foil, and freeze it for as much as 3 months.
- Thaw the casserole within the fridge in a single day after which reheat as typical.
Preheat oven to 375˚F. Calmly grease a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray and put aside.
Cook dinner the orzo based on the instructions on the bundle. In the meantime, warmth 1 tablespoon olive oil in a big skillet set over medium warmth.
Add the zucchini to the heated oil and season with Italian seasoning, ¼ teaspoon salt, and pepper. Cook dinner for five minutes, or till zucchini is crisp-tender.
Take away zucchini from the pan and switch to a big mixing bowl. To the identical bowl, add the drained cooked orzo; stir and put aside.
Return skillet to the burner and warmth remaining olive oil over medium-high warmth. Add within the onions and prepare dinner for 1 minute. Stir within the garlic and prepare dinner for 20 seconds.
Stir within the floor beef, breaking it up with a wood spoon. Season with remaining salt and prepare dinner for about 6 to 7 minutes, or till the bottom beef is totally browned and cooked by.
Drain fats, if any, then add the meat to the massive bowl with the orzo and zucchini.
Stir within the crushed tomatoes, ½-cup mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, basil, and thyme. Stir till every part is effectively mixed and cheeses are melted.
Switch the combination to beforehand ready baking dish and prime with remaining mozzarella cheese.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or till casserole is bubbly and cheese is melted.
Take away from oven and let stand 10 to fifteen minutes.
Garnish with basil and serve.
Energy: 272 kcal | Carbohydrates: 15 g | Protein: 23 g | Fats: 14 g | Saturated Fats: 6 g | Polyunsaturated Fats: 1 g | Monounsaturated Fats: 6 g | Trans Fats: 0.2 g | Ldl cholesterol: 59 mg | Sodium: 455 mg | Potassium: 573 mg | Fiber: 2 g | Sugar: 5 g | Vitamin A: 454 IU | Vitamin C: 16 mg | Calcium: 230 mg | Iron: 3 mg | Web Carbs: 13 g
Dietary information is an estimate and supplied as courtesy. Values could fluctuate based on the elements and instruments used. Please use your most popular dietary calculator for extra detailed information.