Ground beef is the most-used protein source in my kitchen. It is versatile and delicious, and there are plenty of easy ground beef recipes with few ingredients. There are so many health benefits and nutrients in ground beef as well.
Benefits of Ground Beef
Ground beef is incredibly nutrient dense, containing essential fat-soluble vitamins A and D. Essential vitamins cannot be produced by the body and are therefore required to be consumed.
Additionally, ground beef contains bioavailable forms of iron, magnesium, zinc, selenium, and potassium. It is also a rich source of vitamin B3 and B12, which means that it contains more than 30% of the RDA of these two vitamins.
Bioavailability refers to the body’s ability to process and absorb nutrients from foods that are consumed. Although some foods have high nutrient density, the absorption rate of those nutrients can be negligible.
The iron source in ground beef is heme iron, of which 15-35% is absorbed by the body. In contrast, spinach has non-heme iron and high levels of oxalic acid, causing absorption rates to be as low as 2%.
Ground beef is also a great source of protein. A ¼ pound serving of 80/20 ground beef is 20 grams of protein and 13 grams of fat.
I typically buy 80/20 ground beef, which means that 80% of the meat is lean and 20% is fat. This fits well into a ketogenic lifestyle, and the fat content can be increased if the meat is cooked in an additional source of fat like butter, or lard.
Ground beef contains approximately 7 grams of saturated fat per ¼ pound. Despite conventional wisdom, there is not enough evidence to link saturated fat with negative effects on heart health. Additionally, there are studies showing that diets low in saturated fats can actually have negative health consequences. I am not an expert or a doctor, but there are many unbiased articles like this one that goes more into detail on the topic.
Following a low-carb or ketogenic diet can often mean an increase in the consumption of animal products. Personally, I buy a lot of red meat, especially ground beef. Because I purchase so much, I opt for grass-fed, grass-finished beef. I buy my beef almost exclusively from Crowd Cow. I like it because you can select which farm you want to receive your meat from. Each farm has information about how their livestock is raised, and so it is easy to find grass-fed, grass-finished beef.
Crowd Cow does not only sell beef, but it is also what I purchase most often from them. My go-to cart is 12 pounds of ground beef and 6 pounds of beef liver. This will usually last me 4-5 months feeding just myself. Occasionally I will add bacon, sausage, or chicken to my order so that I can spend enough to get free shipping. It’s always fun to have a few extra sources of protein in the freezer to prepare on the rare occasion that I don’t have ground beef meal prepped. Plus, who wants to pay for shipping?
This article is filled with easy ground beef recipes with few ingredients. Obviously, ground beef is a key component of these dishes. I would recommend stocking up on ground beef when you see it on sale on Crowd Cow, or in the grocery store. It stores well in the freezer and all you have to do is thaw it the day before you plan to prepare it.
Grass-Fed vs Grain-Fed
Most cattle in the US are raised on grains. Feeding cows a primarily grain-based diet is cheaper, and fattens the cows up faster. Grains are not a natural diet for cows, and it can reduces the nutrient quality of the beef.
The meat of grain-fed cows has a less optimal Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratio. Additionally, the fat from the meat stores any chemicals or anti-nutrients that the cows absorbed through their grain-based diet.
Grass-fed cows are usually allowed to roam and graze on grass, which is a more natural and nutritional diet for the cattle. The nutrient profile of grass-fed cows is slightly more optimal, but the meat is generally leaner because the cows do not get as fat when consuming primarily grass.
There are three primary ways that cattle are raised.
This is traditionally how cows are raised in the US. The cows are fed grains for the duration of their lives, until they are butchered. If a package of ground beef does not specify, then it is almost always grain-fed grain-finished.
Cows can be considered “grass-fed” if they have been given access to grass at any point in their diet. It does not mean that the cow has only been fed grass. Typically, grass-fed cows are fed grass until the last few months of their life. A few months before butchering, many grass-fed cows will be given a grain-based diet to increase the fat content of the meat.
Grass-finished cows eat nothing but grass and forage for their entire lives. This is typically the highest-quality ground beef available. It is the most nutrient-dense option, but also the most expensive.
If you are looking to improve the quality of ground beef that you are buying, avoid meat that is only labeled as grass-fed. The cows may still have been fed a primarily grain-based diet. It is not worth paying extra for ground beef that is not significantly higher quality.
Instead, look for grass-fed and grass-finished beef. This will be the most optimal option, and there is not the possibility that the cows could have been fed grains.
The farms available on Crowd Cow specify how the cattle are raised. If you are looking for specifically grass-fed, grass-finished meat, you can easily filter to view only those options. I prefer to use Crowd Cow to buy my beef because I purchase primarily grass-fed, grass-finished beef and I want to be confident that I am getting the highest quality available.
Easy Ground Beef Recipes with Few Ingredients
Eggs and Ground Beef
One of my go-to easy ground beef recipes with few ingredients is a breakfast that I never get tired of. Eggs and ground beef are a delicious combination, and depending on the spices used, the dish can have a completely different flavor each time you make it.
To prepare this simple dish, the only ingredients are eggs and ground beef. You will also need a non-stick skillet and a lid. These are two of my essential kitchen tools for cooking almost any keto meal.
To spices things up, literally, include some of your favorite seasoning combinations in your meat to create a delicious flavor profile. I regularly use a homemade Tex-Mex seasoning blend that I always have on hand.
To start, heat ¼ to ⅓ of a pound of ground beef on a small non-stick skillet. Meal prepped beef is perfect for this because it is quick. You can, of course, cook your beef on the spot, but that will add to the prep time.
Once the beef is heated in the pan, spread it out so that it forms a layer on the bottom of the pan. Don’t let the meat heat for too long in the pan because it could become overcooked and lose flavor.
Then, crack three eggs onto directly onto the skillet on top of the beef and place a lid over the pan. Turn the burner down to medium heat.
Let the eggs cook for a few minutes until the whites have cooked completely through and the yolk is the desired consistency.
The last step is to slide the beef and egg dish onto a plate and enjoy! This is one of the super easy ground beef recipes with few ingredients that I incorporate into my weekly meal prep on a regular basis.
Tex Mex Casserole
Although there are not many ingredients in this recipe, it is not lacking in flavor. This Tex-Mex casserole is my go-to in the winter months for a warm and hearty meal that is quick to prepare, and fool-proof.
As one of my staple easy ground beef recipes with few ingredients, a Tex-Mex casserole never disappoints. The flavor is in the seasoning blend. You can use your favorite chili or taco seasoning blend, or make one from scratch. I always keep a jar of a homemade Tex-Mex spice blend in my pantry for this recipe.
Easy Tex Mex Seasoning
To prepare, simply combine the spices in a jar with a lid, close the jar, and shake until well-combined. Adjust the ratios for taste and prepare this in bulk to have leftovers.
The Tex-Mex casserole itself is just as easy, if not easier, than preparing the spice blend. The four ingredients are:
To prepare, start by preheating your oven to 400F.
In a large saucepan, fully cook the ground beef in your desired cooking fat. Next, add seasonings and crushed tomatoes. Let the mixture simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Transfer ½ of the mixture into a greased baking dish (I use these disposable ones), place a layer of shredded cheese and then repeat the process with the remainder of the mixture.
Bake the dish for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown.
For extra flavor, garnish with jalapeños, sour cream, or guacamole. I also love to have pork cracklins on top for an extra crunch. It reminds me of eating Fritos in my chili growing up.
This casserole is excellent for meal prep because it reheats well. There’s nothing more satisfying than knowing a warm filling meal is waiting for you in the fridge when you get home from work.
It’s also perfect for a family dinner served with a side salad. It takes only 30 minutes to prepare, and most of that time is spent waiting for the oven timer.
Burger bowls can be as complicated or as simple as you want to make them. To stick with the theme of easy ground beef recipes with few ingredients, this version will only have five components.
The ingredients are ground beef, shredded cheese, salsa, lettuce, and avocado oil mayo. The last ingredient is unique and is what creates a deliciously creamy texture. I love using Primal Kitchen mayo for this recipe. It is made with avocado oil, and they have a Chipotle Lime variety that adds a nice kick to this burger bowl.
Use meal-prepped ground beef seasoned with the homemade Tex-Mex seasoning from above to keep this recipe extra simple.
This burger bowl uses crumbled ground beef, instead of a patty. I prefer this because it’s simpler to prepare, and easier to get a bit of ground beef in every bite.
The mayo adds plenty of creaminess to the dish, so dressing isn’t needed. However, Primal Kitchen has delicious dressing made with avocado oil that would only improve the flavors of this dish.
To change things up, I will often swap out ingredients. Some of my favorite mix-ins are sour cream, olives, pork rinds, queso, and cherry tomatoes. Creating custom burger bowls is also a great way to use up leftover ingredients in the fridge. Although this is an easy ground beef recipe with few ingredients, it also can be an easy ground beef recipe with several ingredients.
To construct your burger bowl, first, reheat or cook the desired amount of ground beef. I usually opt for ¼ to ½ of a pound, depending on my hunger levels.
Transfer the heated beef to a bowl and add 1tbsp of mayo per ¼ pound of ground beef, and mix.
In a large bowl, layer your lettuce, ground beef mixture, salsa, and cheese and combine. Mix the ingredients until they are fully incorporated and enjoy a delicious burger bowl.