This homemade, healthy, one-pot version of Beefaroni is easy to make, and it features nutrient-rich lean ground beef, whole grain pasta, mushrooms, and bell pepper.
Dinner from a can can be convenient, but there can clearly be some nutritional drawbacks. Take Chef Boyardee’s Beefaroni as just one example. The sodium is on the high side—730 milligrams in a 1 cup serving—it contains just 9 grams of protein, and the only “vegetable” in the meal is tomato puree from the sauce. The enriched macaroni is made with 100% white flour, so there are no whole grains present.
Somewhere back in the recesses of my brain, I do remember eating Beefaroni as a kid (not often since my mom was an awesome home cook who loved cooking meals from scratch), but today, it’s something I prefer to make myself … and this recipe for Homemade Healthy Beefaroni is almost as easy to make as opening up a can.
My homemade version calls for two vegetables—red bell pepper and mushrooms—and I serve a third veggie, asparagus, on the side. By the way, according to the rules of etiquette, you can eat un-sauced asparagus with your fingers, which totally annoys Tim but makes my boys so happy.
- Serves: 5
- Calories: 400
- Fat: 13g
- Saturated fat: 5g
- Carbohydrates: 43g
- Sodium: 580mg
- Fiber: 6g
- Protein: 31g
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into ¼-inch dice (about 1½ cups)
- 8 ounces mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 1 pound lean ground beef (90% or higher)
- One 26-ounce jar marinara sauce
- 2 cups water
- 8 ounces dried whole wheat rotini pasta
- 1 cup shredded light Italian cheese blend or Cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, optional
- Chopped fresh basil, optional
- Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the bell pepper and mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 10 minutes
- Add the meat and cook, breaking up the large pieces, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Drain excess fat.
- Stir in the pasta sauce and water, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Stir in the pasta and return to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook at a low boil, covered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender, about 15 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese. Cover and let stand until the cheese melts. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and basil as desired.