This Beef and Vegetable Taco Bake is an easy, kid friendly option for taco night. This layered taco casserole is loaded with ground beef and vegetables and topped with melted cheese.
One of the many high level skills I’ve acquired as the mom of four boys is the ability to sneak veggies into all kinds of recipes. This was my tactic for putting my boys on the path to being the veggie-lovin’ guys they are today and friends, it works. They see a familiar dish and dig in and find that they end up loving some of the vegetables they might have otherwise passed on.
For this recipe, I took a simple ground beef taco casserole, added sautéed zucchini and bell pepper and tossed in some sweet yellow corn for good measure. It’s all baked over a layer of crushed tortilla chips, ensuring the kid-friendly nature of this Beef and Vegetable Taco Bake.
- Olive oil
- Onion – Diced sweet yellow onion
- Bell pepper – I recommend going with red bell pepper, which adds great color and is milder and sweeter than green bell pepper.
- Zucchini – One small zucchini.
- Corn – I use frozen yellow corn, straight from the freezer. There’s no need to thaw it before adding it to the filling.
- Ground beef – I use lean to extra lean ground beef.
- Taco seasoning – I always use my own Homemade Taco Seasoning so I can control the ingredients and sodium level. You can use a store bought mix if desired.
- Canned diced tomatoes
- Tortilla chips – Lightly crushed tortilla chips make up the base layer. You want to just break them up slightly to fit the bottom of the dish.
- Pinto beans – Feel free to substitute black beans if you’d like.
- Cheese – Shredded sharp cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese.
- Olives – I like to garnish the dish with about half a small can of sliced black olives.
- Green onions
How to Make Beef and Vegetable Taco Bake
- Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet and add the onion and bell pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the zucchini, corn and 1 teaspoon of the taco seasoning and continue to cook, stirring until zucchini is just barely fork tender. Transfer the veggies to a bowl and set aside.
- Return the skillet the heat and add the ground beef. Cook, stirring to break up the beef until cooked through and crumbled. Drain off the excess grease and return the skillet to the heat. Add remaining taco seasoning and the diced tomatoes and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat.
- Coat a baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and scatter the broken tortilla chips over the bottom. Spread the beans over the top.
- Sprinkle with ½ cup cheddar and ½ cup pepper Jack.
- Cover the beans with the veggies.
- Pour the beef mixture evenly over the top.
- Top with remaining cheese and bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes, until the cheese has melted and it is heated through.
- Remove from the oven and top with sliced olives and thinly sliced green onion.
Just like when I serve tacos, I like to set out lots of different topping choices for everyone to build their own taco bowls.
- shredded iceberg lettuce
- sour cream
- hot sauce and/or salsa
More Taco Night Favorites
Beef and Vegetable Taco Bake
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup diced yellow onion
- 1 cup diced red bell pepper, 1 small bell pepper
- 1 cup diced zucchini, 1 small zucchini
- ½ cup frozen corn, no need to thaw
- 1 pound extra lean ground beef
- 1 tablespoon taco seasoning, divided
- 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 2 cups lightly crushed tortilla chips, broken into big pieces, not crushed fine
- 15 ounce can pinto or black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
- 1 cup shredded pepper Jack cheese, divided
- 2 tablespoons sliced black olives, (about ½ small can)
- 2 thinly sliced green onions
- shredded iceberg lettuce, sour cream, avocado, cilantro, hot sauce, salsa
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 2 ½- to 3-quart (13- x 9-inch or slightly smaller) baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over MEDIUM heat. Add the onion and bell pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent and bell pepper is tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the zucchini, corn and 1 teaspoon of the taco seasoning and continue to cook, stirring until zucchini is just barely fork tender. Transfer the veggies to a bowl and set aside.
- Return the skillet to MEDIUM heat and add the ground beef. Cook, stirring to break up the beef until cooked through and crumbled, about 5 to 6 minutes. Drain off the excess grease and return the skillet to the heat. Add remaining 2 teaspoons taco seasoning and the diced tomatoes and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes to cook down some of the juice from the tomatoes. Remove the skillet from the heat.
- Place tortilla chips in the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread the beans over the top. Sprinkle with ½ cup cheddar and ½ cup pepper jack. Cover the beans with the veggies and then pour the beef mixture evenly over the top. Top with remaining 1 cup cheddar and 1 cup pepper jack. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes, until the cheese has melted and it is heated through.
- Remove from the oven and garnish with sliced olives and thinly sliced green onion.
- Scoop into bowls and add desired toppings. Serve with additional tortilla chips.
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