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Cheesy Beef Pasta

TipsNotesVideo: How to Dice Onions

Recipe Notes

  • Substitute broccoli for zucchini. Cook fresh broccoli with the pasta in step 3 or add frozen broccoli in step 2.



Kid friendly


1⁄2 pound
lean ground beef (15% fat)
onion, diced (about 1 cup)
2 cloves
garlic, minced, or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
small zucchini, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
jar (24 to 26 ounces) tomato based pasta sauce
1⁄2 teaspoon
dried basil
1⁄2 teaspoon
dried oregano
1⁄4 teaspoon
hot red pepper flakes (optional)
12 ounces
rotini pasta (about 4 cups)
2 ounces
shredded cheddar cheese (about 1/2 cup)
6 ounces
shredded mozzarella cheese (about 1 1/2 cups)


  1. In a large skillet, cook beef, onion, garlic and zucchini over medium-high heat (350 degrees in an electric skillet) until meat is browned and broken into pieces. Drain any fat.
  2. Add the pasta sauce, basil, oregano and red pepper flakes, if desired. Bring to a simmer and cook on medium low (275 degrees in an electric skillet) for 15 minutes.
  3. Cook the pasta in boiling water according to package directions.
  4. Drain the pasta and add to the sauce in the skillet. Stir in the cheese and cover until the cheese is melted.
  5. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.


  • Substitute broccoli for zucchini. Cook fresh broccoli with the pasta in step 3 or add frozen broccoli in step 2.
Photo of Cheesy Beef Pasta
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Makes: 8 cups
Nutrition Facts: View Label
Last updated: 06/20/20

10 Comments for "Cheesy Beef Pasta"

This recipe is delicious! Instead of using beef I substituted extra firm tofu and added in some cumin and paprika to give it a little more flavor.

I've made this dish with adults and teens in cooking classes, and served it at food banks and other agencies.  It's always a big hit.  I make it a one-pot meal by adding the dry pasta and 1 1/2 cups water with all the other ingredients (stirring and adding a bit more water if needed as it cooks). It's super easy, and so is clean-up.  We have added a variety of vegetables, sometimes 3 or 4, and even non-vegetable eaters were surprised how much they liked it. 

Made this with a class of adults -- RAVE reviews. 

Decided to test out this recipe with the family before using it with a class -- substituted two 14.5 oz cans of diced tomatoes (didn't have any pasta sauce), used frozen broccoli, and added one cup of water to the recipe so I could cook the pasta in the same pan.  Covered the pan, and simmered everything on low for 15 minutes, then added the cheeses.

It turned out perfect -- a healthy alternative to Hamburger Helper, but just as easy to make using the one-pan method.  Thanks Food Hero -- another winner!

Great idea for making this a one skillet meal!  We'll work on adding this option to the notes!

The Food Hero Team

This is such a great pasta dish! I used ground turkey instead of beef and 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning instead of the basil and oregano. I was so excited to serve it that I forgot to add the cheese, but it was still tasty without it!

Made this last night, switched out the zucchini for broccoli due to a family request.  It was amazing, it made so much we invited some neighbor kids over and now they all think I am a professional cook!

Delicious. You can't go wrong with these ingredients! I like adding corn to mine!

Very good, I'll definately make this again.

Very cheesy, just like the name! My kids LOVED it!