Hamburger Helper for Grown-ups

Make this when you're craving comfort food but realize you're a grown-up and you should eat some vegetables. You won't be sorry and your kids might even eat it too.



Serves 4 - 6

  • 3 cups cooked pasta (shown here with gluten-free quinoa pasta but any kind works)
  • 2 teaspoons grapeseed oil
  • 1.25 lbs ground beef
  • 1 cup onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup red or orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1 TSP fresh thyme, chopped (or 1/3 TSP dried)
  • 1 TSP fresh rosemary, chopped (or 1/3 TSP dried)
  • 1 TSP fresh oregano, chopped (or 1/3 TSP dried)
  • 1 cup shredded or grated cheese (white cheddar, mozzarella, or parmesan will all work)
  • 2 large handfuls of spinach or baby kale (optional but encouraged)
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Red pepper flakes to taste



Boil pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Brown the beef:

In a large skillet heat 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil over medium high heat. Add the ground beef and break apart with a wooden spoon or spatula into large pieces. Add a generous sprinkling of salt. As the beef browns, start breaking it into smaller pieces and browning all sides evenly. Keep breaking it apart and stirring until it's fully cooked (you'll know it's done when there's no pink). Use a slotted spoon to remove the beef from the pan and set it aside in a bowl. Wipe the pan with a paper towel to clear the grease and throw it away. (Note: you don't want to pour the grease down your drain as it can clog your drain). 

Cook the vegetables: 

In the same skillet heat 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil over medium heat. Add onions and a sprinkle of salt. Cook for a few minutes until the onions start to soften. Add tomatoes, bell pepper, garlic, mushrooms and herbs. Simmer until the vegetables are soft about 10 minutes. 

Add the beef, cooked pasta, and lemon juice to the vegetable skillet and mix together. Add the spinach and cheese and cover until the cheese melts.



Improv Ideas: 

  • Use ground turkey or chicken instead of ground beef
  • Use different vegetables
  • Add fresh basil
  • Use rice or quinoa instead of pasta