This easy southwest casserole made with ground beef is a great option for a weeknight dinner or recipe for meal prep to make lunches for the week! This ground beef casserole can also be easily made gluten-free. It’s filling, comforting, and made with diced tomatoes, beans, onions and a flavorful mix of spices.
Southwest Ground Beef Casserole Ingredients
This recipe calls for quite a few canned pantry staples, which makes it really simple to both meal plan for and to make! You’ll need canned diced tomatoes, canned tomato sauce, black olives, kidney beans and green chiles.
The other ingredients you’ll need for this casserole include elbow macaroni noodles, ground beef, an onion, Monterey jack shredded cheese and then some spices such as chili powder, garlic and salt.
The beef is browned with the onion, and everything is combined into a casserole dish, making this a really quick recipe that mostly requires dumping cans and mixing!
Make This Ground Beef Casserole Gluten-Free
This is a very easy and straightforward recipe to make if you’d like to make it into a gluten-free casserole. All you have to do is to choose a elbow macaroni pasta that is gluten free, and cook it according to the directions on the package.
The noodles will then be drained and added into the casserole dish and the rest of the directions can be followed as written. Many popular brands have their own gluten-free options, and there are many brown rice pasta noodle options at major grocery stores, too.
How to Prepare This Ground Beef Casserole
The first step for preparing the casserole for baking is to brown the ground beef with the onion. You’ll break it apart to crumble while browning, and once it’s done, drain the excess grease from the ground beef.
While the beef is browning, you’ll also want to cook your pasta according to the package and drain. Doing this while you brown the beef is the best use of time so you can knock out two steps at the same time.
Everything will get combined together in a large 6-quart casserole dish, or two 4-quart casserole dishes if you’d like to freeze half. Casseroles make a lot of food, and this one freezes really well so it’s a great candidate for freezing leftovers!
Once the noodles and beef have been drained, dump them into the casserole dish, and add in the canned items, except for the olives. Add the spices as well, and then use two spoons to mix everything together until the spices, vegetables and noodles are well incorporated with the ground beef.
Flatten everything into an even layer, and then sprinkle the olives and shredded cheese over the top. You’ll then cover the casserole dish with foil or the lid, and bake for 30 minutes on 400 degrees F. After the 30 minutes are up, remove the cover and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling.
Storing and Freezing Instructions
This recipe stores well in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, and reheats great as leftovers for lunches. Additionally, this recipe is freezer friendly in individual portions, or frozen as one casserole. It’s a great recipe to bring to friends or family because of this!
My Favorite Glass Storage Containers:
To freeze, bake the casserole as instructed, and then let cool completely. Either bake in a casserole dish with a freezer-friendly lid, or transfer to a freezer-safe container with a cover. This is great in the freezer for up to 3 months.
To reheat the frozen casserole, thaw in the fridge overnight and then bake on 400 degrees F., covered, for 35 minutes or until it’s heated through.
You can also divide this recipe into two casserole dishes, and bake at the same time. Then let one of them cool and you can freeze one whole casserole dish for later, or to gift to a friend, new mom or family member.
Other Casserole Recipes You’ll Love:
Stuffed Pepper CasserolePrint
PS. If you’ve made this recipe, don’t forget to rate this recipe and let me know in the comments how you liked it!
- 2 cups (8 ounces) uncooked elbow macaroni
- 2 pounds lean ground beef
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 (14 ounce) cans diced tomatoes, with liquid
- 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1.5–2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese
- 1 (4 ounce) can sliced black olives, drained
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Cook the noodles according to the package. While the noodles are cooking, add the ground beef, diced onion and minced garlic to a large skillet over medium-high heat
- Brown the ground beef until it’s crumbled and no longer pink. While it’s browning, add all of the remaining ingredients except for the cheese and black olives to a large 6 quart casserole dish
- Once the ground beef is browned, drain the excess grease and add the beef and onion mixture to the casserole dish
- Drain the noodles and add those to the casserole dish as well. Use two spoons to stir everything together and mix well until the sauce, spices and noodles are evenly combined
- Flatten into one even layer in the casserole dish and top with cheese and black olives
- Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover, and bake an additional 10-15 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly
- To make gluten-free, simply opt for gluten-free noodles and cook according to the package
- You can make this into two casseroles (one for the freezer) if you’d like by dividing the ingredients equally into two 2- or 4-quart casserole dishes and baking together in the oven
- The whole casserole can be frozen. To reheat, thaw in the refrigerator first and then bake on 400, covered, for 35 minutes
Keywords: gluten-free casserole, ground beef casserole, southwest casserole, weeknight dinners, healthy casseroles, gluten-free recipes
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