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Ground beef taco casserole


2 tablespoons olive oil 

1 pound ground beef 

1 medium onion, preferably white or yellow 

1 medium red bell pepper 

2 cloves garlic, minced 

1 15 oz can pinto beans 

2 tablespoons tomato paste 

1 tablespoon chili powder 

2 teaspoons ground cumin 

1 teaspoon dried oregano 

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper 

15 ounces salsa 

1 1/2 cups shredded cheese, cheddar or  

1 cup chopped romaine lettuce 

1 medium tomato diced 


Begin by heating the oven to 350℉ and coating a baking 9×13 dish with oil.  

To make the casserole, start by heating one tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Wait until it is simmering, then add the beef. Cook the beef, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until it is browned and cooked through. This should take approximately six to eight minutes. Using the spoon, set the meat aside on a plate then drain any fat from the skillet. 

Next, reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining one tablespoon of oil and heat it until it is shimmering. Add the onion, pepper, and garlic to the skillet. Cook the vegetables until they are softened, stirring them occasionally. This should take approximately five minutes.  

Once they are done cooking, return the beef to the pan and stir in the beans as well. Next, add the tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Stir them to combine and cook it all together for approximately two minutes.  

Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the salsa and 3/4 cup of the cheese. Then transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and spread it into an even layer. Lastly, sprinkle the remaining 3/4 cup of cheese over the mixture.  

Place the casserole into the oven and bake it for approximately 20 minutes and until the cheese is melted and the casserole is heated through. Once you remove it from the oven, let it sit for five minutes before serving.  

To finish, top with lettuce and tomato then serve with Greek yogurt or sour cream.  


This dish is super easy and great for college students. You can use ingredients you already have, and it doesn’t take long to prepare. This is also fairly inexpensive as you can use canned beans and it doesn’t require much meat, so it’s also a great budget friendly meal. Additionally, it’s easy to double the recipe (or however much you need) to make it for larger groups.  

Another ‘side’ or topping that goes well with this casserole is tortilla chips. You can crush them up and sprinkle them on top or put them under it. You can also sprinkle cilantro or other garnishes on top to suite your taste. I usually pair the casserole with a fresh salad as a side dish for dinner.  

If you want to store leftovers, place them in an airtight container and place them in the refrigerator. If you store it well, the leftovers can be stored for up to four days. 

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